The importance of understanding nonprofit technology needs

Due to increased demand from COVID-19, nonprofits are being stretched to deliver their services to more people with fewer resources and funding. Tim Delaney, president and chief executive of the National Council of Nonprofits, states that, “Many of those who used to donate to nonprofits are now standing in lines to receive services” (Kulish, 2020)At TechBridge, we are committed to delivering technology solutions to organizations serving communities in our four pillars: hunger relief, homeless support, social justice, and workforce development. Understanding where your organization’s pain points are and working to implement solutions can provide the following benefits 

Technology as a force multiplier 

When was the last time your organization zoomed out and looked at the big picture? According to NetChange’s long-running survey of technology use by nonprofits, only 11% view their organizations’ approaches to digital as highly effective (Agbabiaka, Kelly, & Laporte, 2018)Comprehensive technology assessments provide insight to where existing processes are inefficient.

For example, manual data entry for donor and volunteer information is time-consuming and creates silos within an organization. When donor and volunteer data are combined into a single platform, a nonprofit can then assess trends and engage with their supporters more effectively. With targeted and thoughtful communication, existing volunteers are celebrated, and potential volunteers are captured. This is just one example of how technology can grow the impact of an organization by being a force multiplier. 

Tracking impact to strengthen your message 

We all know that nonprofits do important work, but how do we capture their reach? In the for-profit space, sales and stock prices are constantly monitored to see how well a company performs. For nonprofits, the measuring stick isn’t as easy to read. 

Recently, TechBridge worked with Girls Inc. of Central Alabama to track tangible outcomes in the lives of the girls they serve. By implementing a yearly survey for their participants, Girls Inc. was able to monitor developmental milestones such as magnet high school acceptance, college entry, and job placement. Including concrete data points in their impact story strengthened Girls Inc.’s message to potential participants and donors. 

Saving money in the long run 

When organizations are solely mission-focused, investing in new technology can feel like the last item on the to-do list. However, research is showing that if innovation isn’t prioritized, an organization will suffer. Douglas Kelly, Strategic Business Consultant at Compass, states that:

the nonprofits that choose not to invest in necessary technology will see an ever-widening performance gap between their outcomes and the organizations that have adopted technology effectively” 

(Agbabiaka, Kelly, & Laporte, 2018). This performance gap results in duplicate internal work, ineffective communication, and an uninspired donor base. Though new technology adoption requires funds, employee buy-in, and an open mind, the alternative is much bleaker. 


Is your nonprofit not reaching its full potential because of lack of technological information, know-how, or funding? We’re here to help!  

Applications are now open for our Dream Big Tennessee Grant. If you are an employee of a registered Tennessee nonprofit that has a dream to improve your impact, we invite you to apply to our annual grant. The deadline to apply is October 31, 2020. More information on how to apply can be found here.


References 

Agbabiaka, T., Kelly, D., & Laporte, S. (2018, May 29). Can Technology Transform the Nonprofit Sector? 

Kulish, N. (2020, July 24). Providing a Pandemic Safety Net, Nonprofits Need Their Own. 

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