As technology develops, it has become increasingly integrated into the workplace. It can ease and streamline manual labor, while the internet provides a wealth of information on sources of funding for NPO projects, ways to connect with like-minded organizations and individuals in different fields, and set up online donation forms.
However, the day-to-day operations and maintenance of a nonprofit can still consume substantial time, resources and money, hindering its growth. Cutting internal costs mean that you can utilize more donations and funding towards implementing projects that help you achieve your organization’s goals. Here are 4 ways that technology can make your non-profit more efficient:
1. Cloud-based technology can cut costs
The good news is that you’re probably already using cloud-based technology without knowing it—cloud computing is simply a term given to the process of using the internet to run applications and store data through online sharing services. The most popular examples include email, Google Drive, social networking and web conferences.
Cloud computing solutions can save nonprofits time and money with their efficient processes. This type of technology can be used anywhere with an internet connection, allowing people to connect with partners all over the world in real-time. This increases flexibility with an organization’s operations, and reduces costs spent on paper and printing.
Cloud computing also offers a multitude of other benefits, such as:
- Simplifying and internal operations such as accounting, so that nonprofits can dedicate more time to fulfilling their cause
- Limiting the need for a complex IT infrastructure and hiring related specialists
- Reducing expenses associated with licensing software and maintaining hardware
- Automatically growing and updating with technological advancements, so nonprofits don’t have to continuously purchase new software
2. Use CRMs to centralize data automatically
CRMs, or donor databases, are some of the most important tools for storing and interpreting your donor data. For example, Qgiv can automatically compile and upload data gathered from donation pages into a compatible CRM.
This saves a significant amount of your employees’ time by eliminating the need for manual data entries and allows you to access all your data in one place. This data can then be analyzed together as a complete picture to gain an insight on donors’ giving patterns, which in turn will inform your overall fundraising strategy. Furthermore, many CRMs also provide communications and marketing features for organizations to reach donors directly.
CRMs can also be used to manage your staff, board members, and volunteers using data from employee management tools.
3. Communications Technology Enables a Diverse Strategy
Marketing and communications technology have exponentially increased the scope and accessibility of NGOs’ audiences. Technological advances allow nonprofits to reach donors more quickly and more cheaply through channels including:
- Mailed materials
- SMS software
- Phone calls
- Social media
- In-person conversations
- Mobile apps
With so many options available, it’s important to maximize their efficiency by gathering information about their donors’ preferred communication channels. This can help non-profits send more effective, targeted communications with a higher ROI on each one because people are more likely to respond compared to general mass appeals.
Many of these channels can be repurposed for fundraising too: if your non-profit texts donors asking for donations, you should have software in place to accept donations from their mobile devices. Prioritizing convenience will help to ensuring that donors follow through with their donations while you have their attention.
4. Online fundraising offers new sources and simplifies the giving process
Not only can the internet help you locate thematically-specific, small grants for NGOs in developing countries, but it also offers new ways to fundraise online. Crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe have grown in recent years, and online donation forms have simplified traditional fundraising methods. By optimizing donating options to become easier to navigate and more accessible, your organization can avoid deterring potential donors with long or complicated giving processes. Online donations also allow your organization to instantly process the gift, receive valuable donor data (that will be transferred into a CRM), and begin long-term communications with the donor through automated (but personalized) receipts.
Ensure that your online fundraising software is:
- Mobile friendly
- PCI compliant
- Well-integrated and prominent on your website, email or main channels of communication
Another key tip to remember while setting up your donation form is to keep it simple and easy to navigate so sponsors don’t drop out halfway through! A few ideas to ensure this include:
- Not requiring donors to make an account to make a donation
- Making it optional to include information not strictly needed for the transaction
- Incorporating a single, large, visible button to direct donors to the donation page
- Removing all links leading away from the donation page
- Providing giving tiers to allow donors to quickly select a predetermined gift amount, but also including an ‘other’ option for donors who might want to donate a different quantity
- Emailing confirmation receipts to donors shortly after processing their donation
If donors can give instantly without having to use too much time, and have a pleasant experience overall, they are more likely to donate again in the future.
Regardless of whether your organization is just starting off or has been around for a while, staying up-to-date and utilizing cutting-edge technology can help improve your efficiency and enable you to dedicate more time and resources towards your cause.