Technology for nonprofits: Building trust and increasing impact

Technology for nonprofits: building trust and increasing impact

Nonprofits employ 12.3 million people and spend almost $2 trillion a year in the U.S. — from billions in payroll costs to everyday expenses like food and rent. But inflation, interest rate hikes, and market uncertainty have pushed organizations to make the most of limited resources. With prices on the rise, nonprofits are fighting to meet the needs of those they serve while losing volunteers to high gas prices and scrambling to recruit and retain staff.

Without enough staff to meet their needs, some nonprofits are struggling to deliver on their promises. If nonprofits can’t put donations to good use — or prove they’re using their resources effectively — they’ll lose the trust that keeps them operational.

“The public wants to see nonprofits consistently deliver on their promises. This is the most important trust variable across current and likely nonprofit donors as well as across generations.”

That’s why nonprofits need to leverage the right technology to fill the gaps and help reach their potential. From donation management platforms to online payment processing tools, nonprofits can use no-code online software to prioritize innovation and community-building.

Over the next few chapters, we’ll discuss why digital transformation for nonprofits is essential to control costs, deepen engagement, and prove impact, plus how to create a successful digitization strategy.

How nonprofit technology solutions help control operating costs

Compared to for-profit companies, one of the biggest challenges nonprofits face is a lack of operating funds. According to the Nonprofit Finance Fund, less than 25 percent of nonprofits have more than six months of cash in reserve — and 10 percent have less than a month’s worth. Without consistent, adequate funding, nonprofits may not be able to pay employees fairly or host fundraisers, let alone keep their doors open long enough to impact their community and cultivate donor trust.

Less than 25 percent of nonprofits have more than six months of cash in reserve.

10 percent have less than a month’s worth.

The less money you have, the less you can support your workers. The more employees and volunteers you lose (especially in a volatile market), the less work you can accomplish. But with nonprofit technology solutions, organizations can operate more efficiently.

Consolidate systems with no-code solutions

With the right technology, your organization can create processes that unite your departments’ efforts. No-code technology solutions allow nonprofits to build powerful applications and workflows regardless of programming experience, limiting the need for a specialized IT team.

Through built-in third-party integrations, many of these programs consolidate existing processes and disparate programs, boosting collaboration by serving as a single solution everyone can access. Cloud-based programs also prevent nonprofits from relying on servers that are vulnerable to hacks as well as crashes during times of high traffic.

With this kind of technology, nonprofits can

  • Build customized processes that match the nonprofit’s size, budget, and mission
  • Manage donors, volunteers, staff, inventory, and fundraising events in one secure platform instead of several
  • Enhance existing systems by reducing or eliminating duplicate records
  • Safely and quickly collect, process, and manage data — anytime, anywhere, and from any device
  • Replace manual filing systems that waste time and money
  • Increase revenue by speeding up turnaround times for activities like accepting donations

Take, for example, the all-hands-on-deck process of planning a fundraising banquet. On one platform, event organizers can share theme ideas, and marketers can quickly approve designs and creative material for brochures and social media promotions. Online forms can automatically collect RSVPs while staff use the same program to gather and compare quotes from vendors. By digitizing manual processes, nonprofit technology solutions like this help organizations improve communication, productivity, and creativity.

Automate processes and workflows

Low pay and high demands are causing nonprofit employees to burn out: 45 percent will seek new employment by 2025 (with 23 percent choosing not to stay in the nonprofit sector). Even if an employee stays, it doesn’t mean they’re thriving. Work stress is at an all-time high, increasing worry, sadness, and anger in the workplace.

45 percent of nonprofit employees will seek new employment by 2025.

23 percent of them will leave the nonprofit sector.

One way to help workers is by automating work. Process and workflow automation remove menial burdens, freeing up employees to complete tasks that contribute to the organization’s mission. For example, instead of manually inputting donors’ gift amounts into a spreadsheet, employees can confirm their booth details for a local fair, return a phone call from a grant office, or tackle an ever-growing fundraiser to-do list.