It seems like the world has undergone a drastic makeover in the last decade or so. Technology has been gradually and continuously evolving since its inception, but it seems that it has been traveling at warp speed lately. Ten years ago, it was a luxury to have a laptop or a mobile phone—who would have thought that humans would have these types of technology advanced; let alone ones you can carry wherever you go! (Certainly not the cavemen!) Now, the possibilities are limitless—smartphones, tablets, virtual assistants, voice recognition, face recognition, fingerprint recognition… we could go on forever.
The evolution of technology has impacted many industries, especially the nonprofit space. Goodbye are the days where giving was a straight, narrow line. The introduction of advanced technologies has given the term “giving” more depth, more meaning. These days, people are looking for more when they give to an organization. It’s no longer about, “Wow, that’s great cause. I will donate.” People want to see more than just a great mission or cause. Anyone can sit down and have an idea about saving children, feeding the hungry or rescuing animals. The real questions are:
- Is this organization’s mission authentic and unique?
- What plans do they have in place to reach their goals?
- Where is the money going, and what kind of impact is my donation making?
- Am I just another dollar sign, or does this organization truly care about me?
These are all valid questions and ones that you and your organization should be able to answer. But, the big question is how your organization will answer these tough questions. And while technology may not be a one-and-done solution for these daily challenges, it certainly is a great asset to have in any nonprofit’s strategy. Here are three technology trends to watch as you evaluate tools to help you deliver on your mission.
What’s With Social Media?
At its basic level, and maybe the most utilized and widespread, social media gives nonprofits the ability to connect with their supporters in a more convenient way. M&R found that social media growth was substantial in 2017—Facebook (13 percent), Twitter (15 percent) and Instagram (44 percent). Social networking has become the norm of how our generation communicates with one another.
How many times a day do you tag your friends in funny memes? How many text messages do you receive and send one day? How much time do you actually spend talking to someone in person or on the phone in a span of 24 hours?
My guess is not many.
There are so many donor engagement opportunities on social media; but in order for your organization to do it effectively, you have to construct a strategy that pulls your supporters in and not away (think: excessive status updates).
It’s All About Case and Data Management
The world of data can be a marvelous thing. The use of data has provided us with a world where opportunities are infinite. With case and data management software, nonprofits are now able to track their data and reporting, and see how well they are hitting their goals—or what they need to improve on to get on target with their goals. Although case and data management is a recently emerging trend, it shows the potential to stick around in the long-term. Why? Because it’s performance-based, and its success is measured by data—information that your nonprofit has on hand; information that your nonprofit should analyze to ensure that it’s doing all it can to reach its mission.
While this tech advancement comes with a cost, it is extremely effective on different levels and is an investment that will pay for itself and more in the end. When looking for a case and data management software, be sure to do your research and find one that best fits the needs and goals of your nonprofit.
It’s a Mobile Thing
Smartphones and tablets. We all have at least one of them if not both. They are becoming a norm in society. In fact, it’s probably deemed as “weird” or “strange” if you meet someone who doesn’t own a smartphone. Our world has become dependent on these little devices because they are capable of almost everything imaginable. With it, you can set your morning alarm, communicate with friends and family, stay on top of things with your virtual calendar, get food delivered to your door… need I say more?
What’s the first thing you do in the morning? Sad to say, but I reach for my phone. First, I reach for it because my 6 a.m. alarm is going off. Second, after throwing it around a couple times in my attempt at getting out of bed, I reach for it again to check my emails, text messages and social media. Why? Because I am trying to connect myself to society. And I’m not alone. Deloitte found that 89 percent of people check their phones within an hour of waking up.
Mobile has made donating possible with a snap of a finger. On Facebook, there are donating options—people asking for donations for their birthday or people setting up fundraisers. On top of that, the capability to donate at events via mobile has made life so much easier for fundraisers and donors! It’s a huge time-saver and paper-saver. No longer do nonprofits have to keep track of paper after paper… after paper. With mobile fundraising, donations are tracked online, and donors could have the donation receipt emailed to them if they chose. It’s important to make sure your website is mobile friendly because a frustrated, potential donor can end up not donating if the website is too difficult to navigate.
What’s better, there are donation apps and text-to-give options, so donors don’t even have to open their mobile browsers.
So, how has technology changed your nonprofit?