- Fri, January 21 2011
- Filed under: Websites and web usability
Blackbaud today issued a white paper on nonprofit technology trends.
Here are the broad themes, with my commentary:
•Technology is a crucial tool in delivering accurate, up-to-date information about prospects and donors in real-time across departments. Information consumers, both internal and external, will come to expect access to data in line with progressive forums, such as mobile, cloud-based tools. Nonprofits should expect mobile-powered major giving applications that provide constituent data on the go to become widely used in the coming years.
I think this sounds great, but 99.9% of nonprofits don’t have donor online and offline data in one place - much less available on their phones. I would call this more of an aspirational idea than a trend, but the thought is right. We need one view into our supporters, and we need to structure our work around them.
•The web continues to grow as a primary channel for messaging and communicating an organization’s mission. Based on an audience and its needs, nonprofit websites will increasingly offer virtual opportunities for education, conversations, community, and stewardship, tailored to the user’s level of engagement with the organization.
Again, this is a great idea - but most nonprofits are still striving with the bascis: a decent home page and an optimized donation page. Walk before you run. Have compelling content, clear calls to action and clean, simple design. Make sure you are telling a great story. Most of us aren’t. Then look at ways to start engaging supporters on a deeper level with virtual experiences. These are great ideas if you’re ready for that step.
•The best fundraisers are those who ask their personal network for support. No one can promote an organization better than those who already believe in the mission and have a built-in network of high-propensity prospects. Tools to localize and personalize fundraising through independent fundraising events and other network-based fundraising tools – while retaining efficiencies and economies of scale associated with centralized systems – will be key.
I agree: relationships are everything.
•Social remains an evolving medium and is best deployed as part of a comprehensive, mission-based strategy, although many organizations have found new constituencies who respond to this channel exclusively. Social networks provide the ability to communicate a mission and message to a large group, serving as a supplementary or primary acquisition channel. Nonprofits can deliver updates and announcements while leveraging a network of supporters for a tangible return on investment.
I agree social is evolving and should be seen as part of an overall strategy, though I’m not a fan of seeing it through an acquisition lens or as a broadcast medium. It’s a tool for conversation and relationship building.
Want to read more? You can find the full analysis here.