During the pandemic, many people in the United States lost their jobs and needed help for food, rent or amortization, medication, and other necessities. Fortunately, those who are better off have been generous in sharing through donations to US-based nonprofits. According to research from DickersonBakker, donations reached a record-breaking $471 billion in 2020.
According to the Giving USA Foundation, individuals donated the most significant share at $324.10 billion. The other donors are foundations, endowments, and corporations. The good news is that in 2021, 90 percent of those donors stated that they intend to donate either the same amount or more.
Data from Blackbaud’s research shows that in 2020, 13 percent of all funds raised came from online donations. This is also a record-breaker for the share of online giving. The percentage of donations made through mobile devices was even higher at 28 percent. These developments show the growing need for nonprofit organizations to adopt new technologies in their operations.
Technology for Managing Nonprofit Organizations
According to the 2020 Nonprofit Employment Report of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, the latest data shows that the nonprofit sector in general ranks third from the retail industry and food and accommodation services in number of employees. It employs around 12.5 million people, representing more than twice the finance and insurance sector employees.
However, within three months from March to May 2020, the nonprofit sector lost 13 percent or 1.6 million jobs. Nevertheless, the industry still manages a vast number of people. To do this efficiently, nonprofit organizations must use technological tools. With most employees now working remotely, digital services are essential.
A nonprofit must use a digital management system that connects all its employees, whether in the office, at home, or in the field, ensuring seamless collaboration. It is more cost-effective to outsource this, with servers located in a secure data center and managed by the center’s team. The service will ensure backups and technical assistance to prevent outages and downtimes.
A learning management system is also necessary to centralize and automate training, education, and development. The system can develop training modules and create a library of courses and references. The system can also provide virtual learning, tests, and reports on each employee’s progress.
Cybersecurity for Nonprofit Organizations
Cybercriminals know that nonprofits receive money; hence, they target even small nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits must invest in the best cybersecurity program they can afford to safeguard their funds and the personal data of donors and recipients.
Even if the organization’s management system is outsourced to a secure data center and management service that ensures cybersecurity, it is still crucial to implement cybersecurity measures onsite and remote workers. Thorough training on cybersecurity protocols and constant reminders are needed.
Use of Technology in Fundraising
It is no longer enough for nonprofit organizations to have static websites and expect donors to flock to them and donate. Today, a website must be dynamic and interactive. It must include a chatbot or be connected to a 24-hour answering service to immediately reply to visitors who have queries. It must have complete information about the organization in concise chunks. It must have videos showing how donations reach and impact recipients. These are popular and powerful. The website must also have a donation portal that accepts various types of online payment methods. Finally, the website must be optimized for viewing on PCs, laptops, tablets, and, most significantly, mobile phones.
There are more than a billion people on social media nowadays. As such, nonprofits must utilize social media to reach out to different communities to find donors and volunteers. Social media marketing is one of the most effective ways of reaching out to donors online. Various posts on social media platforms must target and engage specific demographics. Whenever videos are posted on the website, links and previews must also be posted on social media. They must contain links to the online donation portal.
Nonprofits need to tap a customer relationship software with artificial intelligence (AI) to gather and analyze data from donations and the website and social media interactions. AI can use the results to customize emails and mobile text messages to donors. If they are previous donors, they must be thanked for their previous donations. Such a personal approach and expression of appreciation will cement the relationship with the donor.
Nonprofit organizations must adopt the latest technology to be agile and efficient even during times of crisis like the pandemic. These are the times when their services are most needed to support the government’s efforts and urge the commercial private sector to help as well. The people who need their aid deserve no less.