Nonprofit Technology Trends for 2018, and Beyond

Our highly digitalized world continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and now, more than ever, businesses – particularly nonprofits – will need to anticipate and be prepared for change in order to remain successful in 2018 and beyond. While nonprofits continue to face a slew of challenges on their journeys to achieve lofty missions under tight budgetary constraints, the leaders of these organizations would be wise to also adapt their strategies and processes to maintain relevant and influence social change.

From streamlining business processes and managing resources, to increasing revenue and improving constituent relationships, investing in transformative technology is key to efficiently achieving the goals of nonprofits. In addition to common growth trends that nonprofits should follow year after year in order to remain relevant, such as investing in fundraising and improving member and donor relations, there are a number of emerging technology trends nonprofits should pay particular attention to during the coming year:

  1. Mobile fundraising. Online giving is on the rise worldwide thanks to the Internet of Things and a 24/7 news cycle. According to Nonprofit Tech for Good, 85 percent of North American nonprofits accept online donations, while 80 percent of nonprofit websites are compatible with mobile devices. Nonprofits that fail to prioritize mobile technology solutions in the coming years will struggle to remain relevant.
  2. The art of storytelling. Donors, members and volunteers can’t be coached to care about an organization’s mission. Where nonprofits often struggle to craft effective or compelling stories, technology steps in to help consolidate complex messages into sharable and repeatable articles for easy consumption.
  3. Digital marketing campaigns. According to Track Maven, the number of social network users is expected to grow to 2.44 billion worldwide in 2018. For cause-driven organizations, utilizing technology to establish brand awareness, influence social change, increase fundraising and measure success is essential.
  4. Cloud-based software. As consumers become less interested in traditional advertising, influencer marketing continues to evolve and expand in the philanthropy sector to promote products, advocacy campaigns and social good. Many cloud-based software tools are available to help effectively launch, manage and track the ROI of influencer marketing campaigns.
  5. Electronic payment. With a population largely comprised of Millennials, of which 84 percent give to charity, more than a fifth of them have never written a check. In fact, checks account for only 15 percent of all non-cash payments. Nonprofits must adopt convenient electronic methods of payment, such as Venmo, PayPal and Apple Pay, to remain appealing to a younger audience and maintain a healthy donor base. As for charitable givers in the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations? More than half of them prefer to give solely through an organization’s website.
  6. Eliminating the demographic gap in charitable giving. Older generations are giving more. This means excluding certain demographics for fear that they won’t have the ability or interest to contribute meaningfully to your cause will limit your customer and member base and slow down fundraising capabilities in the future. Instead, seek to target various demographics, including Baby Boomers and Millennials. Determine how they give, why they give, and the best means to secure funds from them. (Note: Baby Boomers give the most annually).

As technology evolves at an astounding rate, it’s critical nonprofits adopt software and solutions that not only grow with them, but also help them meet their member and donor bases where they are. As a result, a level playing field between for-profit and nonprofit organizations will be created.

Jean-Paul (JP) Guilbault is CEO of Community Brands, a leading technology company that provides scalable and innovative software solutions to nearly 100,000 cause-based organizations worldwide.

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