The nonprofit sector is changing, and not just because of new technology. But the increasing use of technology can also have a big impact on how your organization operates and what you do as an organization.
In this post, we'll explore six trends in the nonprofit sector that will help you think about how to use technology better in your work. Let’s dive in!
Before you start looking for a tech partner, you need to know what you want to get out of the partnership. Do you want someone who can help bring your organization into the digital age? Do you simply want access to new technology? Is this something that will benefit all of your staff, or just a small subset? Whatever it is that makes sense for your organization and goals, tech partnerships are available in many forms.
Social media is becoming more important than ever, both as a way to reach potential donors and as a way to communicate with them once they're on your side.
The most obvious use of social media for nonprofits is fundraising. It's also great for advocacy, education and awareness. And because it's so easy for people to share content online these days, it can be used in recruitment efforts—both passive (people who see something you've posted about your organization will get interested in joining) and active (you can reach out directly through the channel).
Social media can also be used for customer service purposes: if someone tweets at your organization about an issue or problem they are having with one of your products or services, you should respond quickly and appropriately so that they feel like they were heard by someone who cares about their concerns! Finally, because volunteers are often very involved in their local communities already (and may already be following some organizations on social media), using social media will help them stay connected with what's going on at their favorite nonprofit.
Sharing data with other nonprofits can help them do their jobs better, and that’s not just a benefit for them. By sharing data with other organizations, you can collaborate on projects and target services more effectively.
For example, let’s say your organization is working on a new technology that helps people learn how to read. You may know exactly what these technologies are and how they work, but another nonprofit might have access to resources or expertise that would make your project even better—and vice versa. The possibilities are endless!
Cloud computing is making it possible for small nonprofits to use the same software as larger nonprofits that can afford more expensive IT systems. For example, many of the most popular accounting software packages, such as QuickBooks and Sage 50 Accounting & Payroll, run on a cloud platform.
Accessing these programs over the internet allows small nonprofits to negotiate prices with vendors that would otherwise be out of reach. It also means that you don’t have to worry about maintaining and updating your own servers (the hardware used to host online programs and data), which can be costly both in terms of dollars and time spent keeping up with technical skills.
Cloud platforms are more secure than traditional in-house IT systems because they allow software providers to monitor usage patterns across different clients and adjust security measures accordingly. At their best, cloud platforms make it easy for people who may not know much about computers or software development—like volunteers or part-time employees—to access data securely while reducing unnecessary costs associated with maintaining an internal network infrastructure.
Mobile apps are a great way to reach people on the go. Over half of all Americans own smartphones and 35% use them daily. Apps are ideal for collecting data and broadcasting messages, as well as helping volunteers and staff work more efficiently.
Apps allow you to increase your organization’s footprint in new locations, reaching donors and supporters who would otherwise be outside of your normal sphere of influence. They can also help you raise money, collect pertinent information from those same donors or supporters (such as their favorite charity), and allow them easy access to your cause whenever they want it--all with minimal effort required on their part!
Virtual reality can help people understand what it's like to be in a refugee camp or to be suffering from a disability.
Virtual reality is providing new ways for donors to experience various miseries without having to travel. This technology has the potential to help people better understand the hardships that others face every day. For example, virtual reality could be used by organizations who want their donors or volunteers to experience what it's like living with a disability or going through a natural disaster before they make donations.
The nonprofit sector is evolving at an exciting pace. New technologies, platforms, and applications are emerging all the time, giving nonprofits new ways to reach donors, volunteers and other supporters. And as more nonprofits start incorporating these technologies into their workflows, we’re seeing more collaboration between organizations as well as greater impact from every dollar spent on technology investment.