Nonprofit trend report: Technology is fueling relevance and growth – ZDNet

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Digitally mature nonprofits exceed their organizational goals, including 4X more likely to have exceeded mission goals.   Nonprofits thrive on relationships. Delivering a nonprofit objective requires strong connections with stakeholders — including employees, donors, volunteers, program participants, and more, this according to the latest research on nonprofits.  

Special Feature

The fifth edition of the Not-for-profit Trends Report from Salesforce unpacks how organizations that have embraced technology have the strongest associations and highest rates of goal achievement — regardless of their size, revenue, or location. Here are the four main takeaways:  

  1. The particular strategic use of technology directly links to improved organizational efficiency and performance across operations. Nonprofits with a high level of digital maturity are more likely to exceed their own goals and have stronger human relationships with all stakeholder groups.  
  2. Technology has clear benefits for nonprofit culture plus workforce . Digitally mature nonprofits report more motivated and optimistic employees, the more positive organizational culture, and lower levels associated with staff burnout. These organizations are also further along in achieving their particular goals for climate action and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).  
  3. Nonprofits recognize the importance of technology to meet their goals but have trouble implementing it to its full potential. While nearly three-quarters (74%) of nonprofits say electronic transformation is a “need-to-have” or “must-have, ” only 12% score high on the Salesforce for Nonprofits Digital Maturity Index.
  4. Barriers in order to digital maturity may include budget or resource constraints plus competing priorities. Nonprofits are doubling down on employee retention and wellbeing to offset internal challenges like increased turnover and staff burnout. Externally, nonprofits are usually focusing on awareness plus fundraising in order to diversify and rebuild connections with their supporters. Overall, nonprofits feel resilient and ready to face the future.

My key takeaways of this statement will focus on the use of technologies to drive better outcomes and stakeholder benefits. The Nonprofits Trends Report will be a 58 page document with incredible insights, yet I would like to focus this post on digital transformation plus utilization of technology in nonprofits.  

The particular nonprofit landscape

Over the last 12 months, the majority of nonprofits met or exceeded their overall goals, particularly their program, financial, and mission objectives. Despite high rates associated with goal accomplishment, nonprofits encounter a litany of challenges ranging from awareness to staff retention to impact measurement plus beyond. The top 4 challenges with regard to nonprofits include: 1. awareness, 2. retaining staff, 3. hosting in-person events and controlling expenses.  


Nonprofits struggle along with raising consciousness and keeping staff.


In the year ahead, nonprofits anticipate difficulties related to staffing and the state from the economy, technology, finances, and fundraising. This is reflected in exactly how nonprofits are shifting their own priorities over the coming year with 48% placing a greater emphasis on fundraising, 46% about retaining personnel, and 44% on worker wellbeing.  

Today, nonprofit leaders are usually slightly more positive about their particular own organizations (65%) than the broader nonprofit sector in their country (58%). Nonprofits are also confident in the role their organizations play in society: 74% say they believe society trusts nonprofits to do what is usually right.


Employee retention plus wellbeing are top focal points, second just to fundraising.


Nonprofits record weaker interactions with volunteers and donors — two stakeholder organizations that are usually critical in order to mission delivery and company continuity.


Strength of stakeholder relationships varies across the sector.


Digital Transformation is driving growth and impact

In the next 12 months, nonprofits are prioritizing cybersecurity plus privacy (39%), adding new programs and services (27%), or implementing remote working models (26%). Online services to grow revenue and engagements are also top of mind for nonprofits.  

A sizable minority of nonprofits (46%) state they are quick at making strategic decisions. These agile nonprofits describe their own organizations as tech adopters (51%), adaptive (51%), empowered (50%), forward-looking (48%), plus innovative (48%). These traits constitute a positive “mindset for change, ” which positions nonprofits to pursue strategic evolution and become more resistant.


Nonprofits are usually mostly likely to take actions on cybersecurity, growth, and moving to online models.


Advice from qualitative interviews along with nonprofit leaders on innovation, adaptability, plus change:  

  1. Be pragmatic. Hire specialists or engage with trusted private sector advisors, especially regarding guidance on technologies or legal issues; look to banking partners, board members, and corporate partners for their expertise.  
  2. Commercialize the benefit to contributor . Think in terms of “packaging” the benefits of becoming a supporter to make them easy to understand and act upon.  
  3. Listen to improve. Employ surveys and other listening tools to get feedback through stakeholders, both internal and external.  
  4. Aim to multiply impact . Think simultaneously about the particular new and evolving needs of the end user as well as the needs from the economy as a whole — e. g. upskilling users in areas where the economic climate has gaps.  
  5. Think collaboratively . Lean into your organization’s skill set(s) and find peers to fill in spaces. Explore partnerships with other nonprofits plus businesses.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of nonprofits say digital transformation is essential, and organizations that will describe themselves as “tech adopters, ” “forward-looking, inch or “empowered” are more probably than their particular peers in order to say electronic transformation is a must-have.


Nonprofits with the strong reliance on technology are more likely to see digital transformation as important.


One important takeaway from the report is just how nonprofits link data to impact. Most nonprofits consistently leverage data to design programs and solutions (75%), personalize communications in order to stakeholders (74%), and create decisions (73%). Uses associated with information that ranked lower include problem-solving (69%) plus forecasting income (58%).  

More than half (55%) of nonprofits say their organization needs to invest within technology inside order to increase fundraising, and 60% say their own donors expect a better experience than their particular current technology provides.


Technology helps nonprofits be more efficient and improves impact.


Technology providers must do a better job supporting nonprofits. Only 36% of not for profit professionals are “very satisfied” with the technologies they have to do their jobs. Satisfaction is definitely lowest with the integration of information sources and systems (34% very satisfied) and the availability of easy-to-use reporting tools (33% very satisfied).  


Digital maturation fortifies romantic relationships with all stakeholders.


Technologies providers must also do a better work educating nonprofits on the particular importance of digital maturity.   Digitally adult nonprofits outperform their colleagues, no matter their organization’s income, employee headcount, or geographic location. Organizations with high digital maturity are 1. 9x more likely (93% vs. 50%) to have experienced improvements in organizational efficiency or even mission effect. They are also a few. 5x a lot more likely (38% vs. 11%) to possess achieved mission goals compared to their own peers along with low electronic maturity.

Digital transformation is the pathway in order to maturity. The particular report notes that cybersecurity and privacy (34%), cost efficiency (33%), and data management plus optimization (32%) are the leading reasons for digital transformation. Impacts like improving stakeholder relationships (23%), competitive advantage (19%), and keeping up with stakeholder expectations (18%) rank lowest.

Digital transformation is hard work and it requires organizational commitment, the right culture, people and processes. Without dedication to resources and clarity of vision and execution, transformation can be difficult and slow. The most commonly cited barriers to electronic transformation are usually a lack of spending budget or sources (37%) plus higher priorities within the organization (30%). Other challenges consist of an insufficient skilled talent to implement and manage technologies (28%) plus a lack of understanding of those technologies (26%).  

To learn more about the particular Nonprofit Trend Report from Salesforce, you can visit here .