Nonprofits are generally better able to perform their missions when they are supported by the right technology platforms, such as donation management and business intelligence. As software becomes more sophisticated, nonprofit organizations are better able to find solutions that work for their budget and scope. However, many nonprofits still lag when it comes to implementation and strategy related to technology, as a new report from Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network reveals.

The report divided respondents into four categories: struggling, functioning, operating, and leading. Struggling organizations were defined as having a failing infrastructure with time and budget used ineffectively. Leading organizations, on the other hand, tended to be innovators that had backed up their mission with strategic use of technology.

Those groups NTEN designated as leading organizations tended to utilize about nine times more technology than their struggling counterparts. The report also noted a correlation between the staff devoted to technology and successful nonprofits. Struggling organizations often had fewer technology-designated staff supporting a larger number of employees.

Incorporating a plan for technology adoption into the strategic plan can make nonprofits better able to tackle these projects when necessary. According to the report, nonprofits that were considered on the leading edge of software adoption were three times more likely to include technology in their strategic plans than struggling organizations. On the other hand, the majority of organizations now do include technology in their strategic planning.

How to become technology adoption leaders

A post from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits suggests forging relationships with funders to gain the resources necessary to implement better tools. While foundations may not be on the bleeding edge of technology adoption, they can certainly see the value in upgrading to more efficient platforms and reworking staff structures to better accommodate changes to technology. If you can help grantmakers understand how the new platforms you need will back up your mission and help you do better work, they may be able to help you achieve these goals. Another option is to seek out foundations that specifically provide grants related to technology.

You should always keep your goals in mind, the website suggested. While the statistics may seem to show that implementing technology is correlated with success, this is most likely to be the case if the platforms were purchased strategically with goals in mind. Before implementing new digital tools, it’s important to ask yourself if they will result in process improvement.

nonprofits technology adoption