How Nonprofits Should SPEND MONEY ON Technology

The goal of any investment is to make a higher return sooner or later in the future. That might indicate higher donor retention rates, more effective workers, or increased engagement with constituents. Buying technology is not the same as shelling out for technology. Some technology needs are the expense of doing business just, but investing is about improving results. Focusing on what to invest in and what to avoid can help nonprofits better serve their missions. The most effective fundraising asset a nonprofit organization has been their constituent data.

Investing in this asset is one of the wisest decisions that a nonprofit can make. The return on investment is usually simpler to measure too. For example, investing in getting your constituent data fortified and enriched with additional information like address changes, health screening, email, and phone data, and interpersonal media data can produce greater results even. These investments can pay off now and in the future.

  • Irregular gifts, inheritances, life insurance coverage proceeds,
  • OAS and CPP
  • XYZ Trust was established through Registered Trust Deed dated _________
  • Hong Kong Land
  • Rude People

There is a reliable blast of new tools, technologies, and hype words in the technology world. But because you can certainly do something doesn’t mean you must do something. Avoid investing in technology simply for the sake of technology. Instead, focus on your strategy and how a particular new technology can help. The problem with shiny object symptoms is that it distracts organizations from what’s really important often. Nothing is more important than knowing what your strategy is and the key goals needed to achieve it. Technology is the substitute for either the strategy or the goals never. The best way to get things moving in the right direction is to start moving.

Not every effort needs to be a large investment with a task force or committee involved. Among the better investments start out as a little bet to try something new. Every nonprofit’s budget should include financing for inner research and development. We’re not discussing building another Large Hadron Collider. This might be a small bet to improve online donation forms for cellular devices.

This is actually a paid search campaign to specifically drive memberships. Everything you study from these smaller investments could become big returns in the future. Investing in your people is absolutely critical to success. This includes professional development for staff, training for volunteers, and usage of the right resources to help them increase their effectiveness. Unfortunately this kind of investment is often the first to be cut from the budget. Online training has transformed how people can sharpen their skills and travel costs have disappeared into the clouds.

Tablets are changing where we work and allowing field personnel to become more effective. And there is more usage of guidelines and information about enhancing nonprofit performance than ever before. Make it a genuine point and important to invest in people. The one constant in technology is change. This underscores the need for investing and for the right reasons wisely. Don’t spend money on the cloud, just because it’s the cloud.

Don’t invest in social media widgets because it’s a widget. Focus on buying your most effective assets. Focus on your strategy and the tools that will give you leverage then. Be willing to make small investments to try new things. And never forget that individuals often provide the biggest return on investment. Steve MacLaughlin is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud and bestselling writer of Data Driven Nonprofits.

Steve previously offered on the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Board of Directors and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University. He could be a frequent blogger, published author of a chapter in the book People to People Fundraising: SOCIAL MEDIA and Web 2 2.0 for Charities, and is a co-editor of the reserve Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets.

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