09 October 2015

Increasing NFP efficiency through technology

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“The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change” - Bill Clinton

With increasing innovations in technologies, there are numerous opportunities for NFP to increase their operating efficiencies. For instance, it can streamline the volunteer management process, keep track of complex finances, etc.

There are many NFPs that are under pressure to do ‘more’ with ‘less’. The decline in government funding has really made NFP realise that they need to figure out a way to operate differently to ensure longevity and viability of their organisation.  

A survey developed by Infoxchange, Connecting Up and TechSoup NZ (TechSoup) highlighted that in the past NFPs have not out much though into adopting new or updating their IT systems and spent most of their money towards frontline service delivery. However in this era, there is a real need for technology to drive donor engagement, to measure funding success and to communicate success in a professional manner to acquire or maintain corporate partnerships.

The survey also showed that almost half of the organisations that participated in the survey do not have an IT plan have basic or challenged IT capability. A large proportion of these organisations have also reported a decreasing revenue over the past 12 months. Therefore a poor uptake of up-to-date IT systems can have a damaging impact on the amount of income being generated by NFPs.

Another interesting fact that the survey highlights is that the top priority for NFP is to improve their online presence by improving their website and their social media tools.

The Ice Bucket Challenge is a classic example of how social media can be used to communicate a NFP mission and spread awareness of a cause. The ALS Association raises money to fund research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and they raised more than $100 million during a 30-day last year. The Ice Bucket Challenge was in the public eye for a long time and famous actors and athletes, posting YouTube videos of themselves being doused with a bucket of ice water further promoted this viral campaign to become a global phenomenon.

Girl Scouts in America is another NFP that have embraced technology to increase their efficiency. They launched the ‘Digital Cookie’ in December last year where they created a website to sell their cookies online. This gave them the opportunity to track who is buying what and gave them an opportunity to continually improve their service and their offerings.   

Many NFP do struggle in embracing technology and the reason is simple: they are not sure where to improve their IT and how to achieve it. The survey mentions that 50% are eager to keep up with technology however they aren’t sure what key areas to invest their money into and how to effectively implement these changes in their organisation.

Capterra is an organisation that that helps organisation find the right software and they recently released the biggest nonprofit technology trends in 2015:

1.       Going mobile: Making their website and donation platform more mobile and user friendly

2.       Increasing their visuals: Focussed on mission driven videos, images, and infographics. Also a marked uptake in social media platforms such as Instagram and Vine.

3.       The potential to go to the cloud: Many are looking at the possibility to adopt cloud computing 

NFP have to change the way they used to operate in order to ensure viability and longevity. They need to harness and leverage the benefits of this digitally driven era. As technology continues to evolve in this fast paced digitally driven era, NFP organisations need to evolve with.
When Aranei was seven she truly believed she could one day train turtles in the Galapagos. Unfortunately she came to the realization that such a thing could never happen. A couple of years later, she decided to be a conference producer and has never looked back. The best part of her role is exploring different sectors and getting in-depth insights from thought leaders and well-experienced specialists from varying sectors.     

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