Are you a nonprofit looking to take advantage of technology to grow your mission? If so, your organization needs to create a strategic technology plan. A solid tech strategy will help you maximize the use of available resources and ensure that investments into new solutions align with your broader goals. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to create a technology plan to help your nonprofit organization grow and thrive.
Assessing the state of the sector is a valuable starting point when considering digital transformation for nonprofits. In an effort to gain insight into this area, NonProfit PRO and boodleAI recently released a report called “The State of Nonprofit Technology,” which provides valuable information regarding how different organizations are approaching their digital transformations. This report is an invaluable resource that can help to guide and inform technological changes within the nonprofit sector.
With this report in hand, it’s clear that many nonprofits are already taking steps to upgrade their technology solutions; however, there is still more work to be done. Nonprofits need to ensure they’re optimizing their solutions to capitalize on the benefits of digital transformation. This includes taking advantage of automation, data analytics, and other technological breakthroughs to help increase operational efficiency and improve outreach efforts.
The report also highlights that in response to the worldwide pandemic, there has been an urgent need for organizations to adopt technology quickly. Mainly, solutions that help facilitate team collaboration, email communications, fundraising, and operations have been of utmost importance. In addition, those companies who have taken the initiative to stay up-to-date on their technological advances have seen a great benefit; they can continue to build on the technology they already have.
This is a reminder that staying up-to-date with technological advances can be beneficial and help an organization keep moving forward, even in times of crisis. Therefore, organizations need to stay ahead of the game regarding their technological stack. To ensure that companies can remain competitive and succeed in the long term, they must stay current with their technology solutions. By doing so, nonprofit organizations will benefit from improved operations and efficiency.
The report also revealed that while many nonprofits are still slow to adopt new technology, there has been an encouraging shift in the 18 months leading up to the survey. An increasing number of nonprofits have invested in strategic planning of donor-facing technologies such as CRM, fundraising systems, donor management, email messaging and webinar/virtual event solutions. This investment has proven to be successful in driving revenue for many of these organizations. Thus, it is clear that nonprofits are beginning to recognize the value of technology and how it can help them advance their mission. As a result, it is now more critical than ever for nonprofits to continue exploring and adopting new technologies if they hope to succeed.
The idea of utilizing new technology to help your nonprofit can seem exciting yet overwhelming when it comes to actually getting started. It can be confusing and daunting to make intelligent decisions concerning the tech choices you have available. But with our step-by-step guide, you can take the guesswork out of the process and quickly begin implementing nonprofit technology into your organization. That will inspire your implementation plan and ultimately define how effective and successful your new strategy will be. Here is what you need to do:
Designate an IT Team to take your Organization to the Next Level.
The first step is to designate a tech team who will be responsible for researching, evaluating, and implementing the technology solutions that are best suited for your organization’s needs. This team should include individuals from various departments within your organization, including fundraising, operations, finance, marketing, and IT personnel. To ensure your organization’s success, it is essential to develop a plan that affords the necessary provisions for technology use over the next one to three years. This should include forecasting growth expectations and outlining any changes or upgrades needed in order to remain competitive in this ever-evolving industry.
Create a Detailed List
Once you have your tech team in place, it is time to make a list of the necessary technology solutions that will help achieve your mission. Developing a comprehensive list is an efficient way to organize your strategy and plans. Begin by noting all of the technological components currently in use within your organization, such as software employed for:
- Daily tools such as communication platforms (email, calendars, document management) and financial administration systems to oversee operations (accounting software, inventory tracking).
- Support your overall mission, from web design and customer relationship management to donor databases, email marketing campaigns, fundraising initiatives, event planning tools, and volunteer software.
After you have identified which technologies do not meet your needs and the gaps that need to be filled, prioritize them based on their significance in relation to helping you achieve essential objectives like fundraising or program delivery. Doing this, it will allow for an organized approach when tackling technological challenges.
This should include both hardware and software solutions that can be used to streamline processes, automate tasks, improve workflow, increase efficiency, or provide additional data insights. After determining what technologies are needed to meet your organization’s goals, you must identify how much money is available for these investments and decide which ones fit best into the budget.
Ensure that your Technology Contract is Documented & Up-to-Date with a Regular Review Schedule
To ensure that you are up-to-date on all of your technological necessities, add renewal dates for any contracts related to the items listed. Additionally, consider noting when each technology was acquired and an estimated date for its replacement or upgrade. This will also help you with the contracts associated with any software or hardware you plan on utilizing. It would be best if you also considered establishing an updated schedule for both your existing and new technologies being implemented. This will ensure that the organization remains current and has access to the latest features.
A robust and well-designed technology strategy is the foundation for success in any nonprofit organization. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your nonprofit organization is best positioned to meet its goals and objectives while remaining competitive within the industry. With careful planning and execution, you can create a comprehensive system that will propel your nonprofit organization forward. So start today and explore the world of tech opportunities available to help drive your mission!
Strategically Allocate Your Technology Budget
Developing a budget for technology is an essential step in the planning process. This should include all costs associated with ensuring your organization has the necessary hardware and software, such as licensing fees and maintenance costs. In addition, consider whether you need to purchase additional hardware or can use existing hardware, if there are any solutions that can be used instead of buying new ones, or if there are potential training needs that must be addressed.
Additionally, remember to allocate a portion of your budget for technology updates. This should encompass regular fees and upgrades as well as multiple projects that may arise in the future. Here are some vital points to consider:
- It is recommended to refresh or redesign your website every three years in order to keep up with changing trends and technologies. Be sure to plan for this ahead of time and budget accordingly. This will ensure that your website remains modern, attractive, and functional for years to come.
- It is essential to budget for potential third-party assistance when planning for software upgrades from vendors, as these may necessitate modifications to integrations with other systems or customizations made to the product. Such changes may require additional expertise and resources to be successful. Ensure your system remains updated and compatible with any necessary changes.
- As your organization progresses and develops, the software you use, such as your CRM/donor database or fundraising systems, may need to be updated. You may even require additional software, like peer-to-peer fundraising software, to support new initiatives. In order to ensure that you have all the necessary technology in place for future plans, it is wise to budget for the technology that will support your organization in the coming years.
Gather Insightful Feedback
In order to further your technology planning and review, it is essential to get feedback from those involved in the organization. Speak with staff members, donors, volunteers, board members, and other relevant constituents to determine what is working well and what could be improved upon. This will help you make informed decisions when developing a technology plan for your nonprofit. It is also essential to research and learns about the available technology solutions that may address any identified gaps. By doing this, you can ensure that your nonprofit organization has the best resources in place to support its mission and vision.
Also, ask them about their technology challenges and successes, and find out what technologies they think would best support the organization’s goals.
You can also conduct surveys or focus groups to get feedback from your supporters. You could ask specific questions related to the technology you have in place or inquire about their user experience with your website, emails, or other digital tools you use. Utilizing this type of research will help you prioritize any areas for improvement within your technology strategy and determine whether new solutions should be considered.
By obtaining feedback from all stakeholders involved with your organization, you can ensure that everyone is on board with the integration of new technologies and that the decisions made are tailored to meet the needs of your nonprofit.
For Staff Members
- What software do they use most each day?
- Are there any issues or difficulties they encounter when using the software for their daily work?
- Is there anything that they would like to do with the software in order to take their work to a higher level but find that the current software does not allow them to achieve this?
For Board Members
- Do members of the board of directors have access to the types of reports they need to be successful in their work?
- Is it difficult for members of the board of directors to collaborate and share information with each other?
- Do donors find it easy to locate the information they need on your website?
- How straightforward is it for them to make a donation online, update their donor information, or sign up for an event?
- What modifications would make it easier for visitors to interact with your organization?
Creating a software technology plan for your nonprofit organization is an essential step in achieving success. The type of plan you make will depend on many factors, such as your overall strategy and the available budget. Suppose you need assistance evaluating your existing technology, identifying the solutions best suited for meeting your needs or implementing the chosen solutions. In that case, it may be beneficial to enlist the help of a nonprofit technology consulting firm. They can guide and advise throughout the process, ensuring that your organization is well-equipped to take advantage of the most current technology available. With their assistance, you can establish a plan for successfully integrating software solutions into your operations and taking your organization to the next level.
Having the right technology plan can help ensure your nonprofit organization can maximize its potential. Working with a reliable consulting firm can make this process much easier and provide you with the expertise needed to create an effective technology plan for your organization. With their assistance, you will be well-equipped to use the best software solutions available and take your organization to the next level.
No matter the size of your organization, it is essential to have a technology plan in place. An effective technology plan will be an excellent asset for your organization as it moves forward and weathers whatever challenges the future might bring. In addition, having one in place will help ensure its continued success and longevity. With the ever-evolving world of technology, having a plan in place is vital to keep up with the changing times and stay ahead of the competition. It will also help your organization make informed decisions regarding technology investments, determine which technologies should be adopted or rejected, and drive processes and strategies that ensure your organization’s success. Ultimately, having an effective technology plan will ensure that your organization can capitalize on the opportunities that arise and stay ahead of the competition.
For more information or any help establishing a technology plan for your nonprofit, please contact us today. Our knowledgeable team can provide you with all the resources and expertise needed to create a technology plan tailored specifically to meet the needs of your nonprofit organization.
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