What nonprofits can learn from the Amazons of the world

What nonprofits can learn from the Amazons of the world To keep up with modern expectations, nonprofits should enable quick and easy interactions – or be prepared for donors to move on.

Make interactions quick and easy, or be prepared for donors to move on.
At Hartman, we understand the unique challenges for nonprofit business leaders. We also know how important it is for organizations to leverage strategic IT for both short- and long-term success. Read on for some thoughts from our team of experts on what nonprofit organizations need to consider in today’s technology-centric world.

What is one the biggest challenges nonprofit leaders face today?
In many cases, there is a lack of understanding of exactly how the nonprofit is reaching constituents. “Silos of information” are very common, with many different departments acting independently to conduct their own outreach. A single repository of information, like the data that can be tracked in a CRM system, is needed to provide a 360-degree view of constituents.

How do millennial expectations impact what nonprofits need to consider these days?
It goes beyond millennials – almost everyone’s expectations of how they feel they should interact with organizations have changed drastically over the past several years. Companies like Amazon have set the stage for people to expect quick, easy and seamless interactions. If those interactions are not up to expectations, they quickly abandon and move on. It’s not easy for small nonprofits to match this demand, but ignoring it can lead to bigger problems. The first step is to assess how you are currently engaging with constituents and taking a hard look at ways this can be improved.

What major issue could a business-focused approach to IT help solve for nonprofits?
Many nonprofit leaders now come from for-profit companies. To run the nonprofit effectively, these individuals expect better and more frequent reporting, more sophisticated technology and more readily available data. In response, many nonprofits purchase expensive data and business intelligence software for the purpose of collecting information. However, this purchase does not mean the work is done – it’s really only the first step. Business and IT leaders need to work together before the purchase occurs to define what matters most to their organization and what they need to measure in order to select the right tool. It’s also key to focus on the end users of any new technology to ensure success. Leaders need to help employees at all levels understand the value of data and their role in moving the organization forward.

What advice would you give to nonprofit leaders around technology investments?
Most of the time, what a nonprofit considers a technology problem or mismatch actually turns out to be a culture, process or people issue. With that in mind, leaders need to take a step back and focus on business requirements before thinking about technology tools and systems. Many IT tasks can be outsourced (printing, email, file storage), but leaders should focus on what the nonprofit needs to be good at that also aligns with the mission and strategic goals – this helps prove the worth of IT investments.

Nonprofit business leaders can’t rely on a “shiny new toy” mentality if they want to see ROI from technology purchases. Ask the right questions to avoid wasting money on technology and to get real results that matter to the mission of your organization.

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Are you a nonprofit leader who wants to get strategic about IT in your organization?

Contact us today to talk about your specific needs and how Hartman can help you start down the right path for long-term success.

 

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