Turn donors into devotees: How tech boosts your nonprofit

High-tech may sound highly-expensive for nonprofits trying to work their mission and keep the lights on.

But a little extra emphasis on systems and innovation might be just what organizations need to stay sustainable—and even have an edgeRebecca Masisak, CEO of TechSoup says:

“It’s incredibly difficult for resource-strapped organizations on the front line of critical problems to also ensure that their data and systems are secure, that they are making optimal use of online tools, and to understand enough about the latest technology innovations to determine whether and how those tools can be leveraged for their work. I’ve seen many organizations innovate and accomplish things they didn’t think they could with just a little more access to cutting-edge tools and knowledge.”

Tech and digital upgrades can help operations run a little more smoothly and (hopefully) free up time for other important projects. Use tech to:

Facilitate recurring gifts.

Turn one-and-done donors into steadfast supporters by promoting the option of recurring gifts. Use recurring gift software to make sure these donors are not put into the database and forgotten for the rest of the year. Nurture them and help them feel connected to your nonprofit on a consistent basis.

Manage email automation.

Not all your supporters love your organization for the same reason. That means all emails and communications shouldn’t be the same. Email automation programs can help send specific, targeted messages to donors (and potential donors) based on their individualized interests.

Be mobile.

Sixty percent of searches performed online are done on mobile phones. If a new donor/supporter/volunteer-to-be finds you while searching on their smartphone, you better give them something good to look at when they get to your site.

Your site needs to be optimized for mobile, so make sure it adjusts to a smaller screen size, that its fonts and colors work for a tiny screen, and that the layout is responsive.

Be everywhere.

For large businesses, the omnichannel experience is nothing new. For retailers it’s pretty straightforward: You put an item in your online cart from Target.com from your desktop. You don’t make the purchase just yet, but pick up the shopping “trip” later from your phone. The items in your cart show up on Target’s mobile site, allowing the store to provide you with a seamless shopping experience, no matter where you are.

Nonprofits can use omnichannel strategies for their benefit, too.

According to Personify:

“2019 will see omnichannel trends long-influencing the retail sector emerge in the nonprofit space, creating immersive experiences that blur the lines between in-person and digital interactions, regardless of geography. Whether interacting with a national organization, a chapter, a global association, local office streamlined technologies deliver unified experiences will help drive expansion, engagement, and retention.”

Keep your data safe.

Nonprofits are not immune to data breaches and hacks. In fact, sometimes they are at greater risk.

“Nonprofits need to start paying attention, because smaller organizations and businesses tend to be targeted by cybercriminals, due to the lack of tech savvy and sophisticated cybersecurity measures.” Julia Campbell from The Balance Small Business.

Make sure to upgrade your systems and technology to keep your data (and your donors’ data!) safe.

David Lipsitz of Guidestar offered even more ways for nonprofits to embrace tech:

  • Optimize for mobile
  • Offer more ways for supporters to pay and donate online
  • Amp up your email content to improve click-through rates

Tech can make things easier for the busy nonprofit that is trying to be all things for all people. Digital and technology trends can help organizations build on their current levels of success to better connect and grow with their constituents and community.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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