We Asked Small Nonprofits About Their Experience With Technology

Philip Manzano • Nov 26, 2016

We took a closer look into some of the barriers small nonprofits are facing with technology, and have some ideas on how they can overcome. The post We Asked Small Nonprofits About Their Experience With Technology appeared first on Keela.

Here at Keela we’ve been talking to a lot of different nonprofits in order to better identify the technology needs of the sector. Through this we have gained some insights that we would like to share. 

The following data has been collected through a sample size of 18 nonprofits. 9 of these organizations work in human services, with the other 50% working in arts and education. 13 of the 18 nonprofits have a staff size of 10 or less, with 5 having 10-30 employees.

Overall Technology Satisfaction Remains Low Amongst Small Nonprofits

On average, the organizations ranked their overall satisfaction with their current use of technology as 6.5/10. This shows that there is significant room for improvement in the landscape of nonprofit technology. It also speaks to the common challenges of limited time and resources to take on new technology. 

People want technology to do more for them then it can within their current means. Maybe part of current dissatisfaction comes from the fact that we know what technology can do, yet many of our processes remain the same as they were 10 years ago.

Small Nonprofits Working With a Cluttered Tech Landscape

What technology are organizations using that give them 65% satisfaction? 17 organizations were using email, 14 using an email marketing tool such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, 14 using spreadsheets, 13 using Google Drive, 7 using a project management software, 6 using a payment processor such as Stripe or PayPal, and only 3 were using a nonprofit-specific management platform. A few others specifically mentioned the platforms Trello, the Adobe Creative Suite, and Salesforce.

Our research has shown that nonprofits have turned to variety of the cheapest solutions to meet their management needs. The all-in-one solution concept is generally overpriced and difficult to implement. Software like Keela, starting at $49/month, helps to address some of these hurdles.

Organizations Desire More Technology to Support Fundraising Efforts

When asked what productive technology could make their day-to-day easier, 9 organizations agreed that a contact management system (CRM) would be the most helpful. 7 organizations desired more fundraising tools, 6 a better way to manage donors, 6 wished for automated external reporting and 5 an online donation platform. From the top requested technology support it is clear that the entire fundraising process–everything from donor acquisition to reporting–is moving online. 

There are new, innovative ways to fundraise being introduced every day. Now we can raise money through crowdfunding, peer-to-peer platforms, through our mobiles and even on Youtube. As the donation process becomes more diversified online it is important that the management tools we use to track those donations keep up. Donors expect the donation process to be quick, clean and trustworthy. Technology is our best bet in meeting these expectations.

Peer to peer diagram

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Sometimes Everything Is Difficult

While the technology reported to be the most helpful all surrounded the theme of fundraising, when specifically asked what was the biggest productive challenge faced on a daily basis 5 organizations agreed that it was a combination of volunteer management, fundraising, task management, donor management and data organization. 4 organizations specified fundraising as the biggest hurdle with 3 citing data and 2 citing task management. 

But it’s not surprising to see so many small nonprofit organizations chose every possible option as their biggest productive hurdle. When you are a small organization that’s understaffed and underfunded, no task is going to come easy. In an ideal world, everything needs to be faster and cheaper. Technology doesn’t have to expensive or time consuming, but it does require team buy in, and that in itself can be time consuming.

Time and Money Remain the Largest Barrier to Technology

A total of 11 organizations acknowledged that they are not using technology to its fullest potential, with 6 organization citing budgetary limitations as the main hindrance. Five organizations stated they did not have the time to find and implement new technology, while 4 said they lacked the knowledge of technology to move forward.

If you find yourself part of a nonprofit that is less than satisfied with your current technology landscape, we encourage you to get out there and look for the right platform(s) for your organization. Creating a long term strategy for the implementation of new technology can help set you up on the right foot without overwhelming the day-to-day. Start googling different technology solutions and you will be surprised to see how many time saving solutions are out there. A quick search on a site like Capterra will help you discover the hundreds of possible solutions for your nonprofit.

The post We Asked Small Nonprofits About Their Experience With Technology appeared first on Keela.