Why Your Nonprofit Needs to Modernize with Technology

Philip Manzano • Aug 10, 2016

Your organization deserves to have access to the latest tools to support the good you do. The post Why Your Nonprofit Needs to Modernize with Technology appeared first on Keela.

Nothing to fear here!

Technology.

We are at it’s mercy whether we like it or not! We all operate and rely on it every single day of our lives. Can you imagine a world without your smart phone, internet, or online banking? No…we couldn’t either. However, what we’ve found over the course of our journey is that even though it very much a constant in our lives, many nonprofits remain reluctant to adopt new technology.

Let’s consider the following scenario: You work at or run a nonprofit, it’s very small and the few people that work at the organization wear many hats (we understand this, because we operate the same way!). You have specific organizational processes in place and each staff member knows exactly what needs to be done. However, as your nonprofit grows, you become aware that things are getting inefficient. There’s confusion in the ranks about deadlines, responsibilities, and organizational goals. Tasks are taking more time than they should. There is a lack of overall transparency which leaves room for error, limits visibility into project progress, and scatters important supporter information. As a result, some supporters don’t feel connected to your mission and are unaware of the impact of their contributions. Do any of these issues sound familiar? They are incredibly common with smaller (and even many larger) nonprofits.

Fortunately, we live in a time when the right solutions, the right tools are, quite literally, at our fingertips. There exist a myriad of technology firms that are devoted exclusively to creating productive tools for all sorts of nonprofit tasks. Some focus on donor engagement, others on database management, and even website development, to name a few.  Suffice it to say, there’s a lot out there. And that, more than anything, is a blessing. This means that as a nonprofit, you have options! So, how does one go about finding the right tools? We like to break it down into 4 steps:

Identify your hurdles

What’s holding you back? Is your contact database disorganized ? Are you not engaging with your supporters often enough? Are team responsibilities muddled ?

Assign issue areas

We’ve found that many nonprofit productivity woes stem from three primary buckets. Breaking them down in this way can help you hone in on the type of tools you need:

  • Communication -based
  • Operational
  • Financial

Research solutions

Now that you’ve narrowed down the issue area(s), you can focus on the exact type of tools you need:

  • Communication tools (email marketing, CRM)
  • Operational (project management, volunteer management)
  • Financial (donor management, accounting)

Once you’ve identified the type of technology you are looking for, you can:

  • Look for reviews online
  • Attend webinars and other informational sessions from experts in the sector
  • Ask friends for referrals and suggestions
  • Request demos of the tools that interest you

Test

You can’t know if something will work unless you try it and this is often the most frustrating part of the search process.

  • We always recommend doing a guided demo of the tools before delving into the testing phase. This can help create a roadmap for your exploration of the platform.
  • Most online tools come with free trials . Take advantage of this and truly use the help and support resources made available to you. During this phase really use the tools.
  • You can do this by using real data in and interacting with the system as if it is a part of your day. This may seem tedious, but it is one of the best ways to truly understand the value, or lack thereof, of the platform you have chosen.

So, what’s in it for your nonprofit?

By implementing the right nonprofit tools you will be able to do the following:

Better understand your stakeholders: your supporters, co-workers, advocates.

Automate tasks and increase productivity: say goodbye to that lengthy back-and-forth via email.

Access your information from anywhere: remote team issues be gone!

Collect better volunteer data: track exactly who is helping you.

So, the next time someone mentions looking at software or a implementing a new system to help your organization run more effectively, don’t run a mile! Give it a shot. We think you’ll find that doing the necessary research and implementing the right tools to support your operation will only help your team perform at its best.

And now it’s over to you! What are your reservations about technology’s role in the nonprofit world? Has your organization opted to embrace these online tools and what they can offer?

Bon voyage!

The Keela Team

Guest Blogging with Keela!

Interested in contributing to our blog? We love including voices from the sector. Feel free to get in touch with us at blog@networksforchange.org with your topic.

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