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December 7, 2020

Your Nonprofit’s Digital Transformation: Where to Start

More and more donors are finding out about organizations online and using digital spaces to support the causes that they care about. To keep up with other modern organizations, it’s crucial that you consider a nonprofit digital transformation.

Digital transformation is a common buzzword that seems more complicated than it is. At its core, it simply describes how organizations and businesses improve their processes through technology. If your own nonprofit tech solution isn’t doing all it can to support your mission and drive you towards your goals, a digital transformation is the exact thing you need. 

But where do you start? How do you know if you need one? How does one even begin the process of a nonprofit digital transformation? 

As a trusted nonprofit partner, we at Kanopi have compiled some of our own insights here. This guide will walk you through the basics of what a nonprofit digital transformation is, how it can help your nonprofit, and the basic steps to get started.

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Thinking of starting your nonprofit digital transformation journey? Find out how Kanopi can help.

Nonprofit Digital Transformation: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

Nonprofit digital transformation is the integration of technology across all areas of the organization. The result is an improvement in how the nonprofit functions and provides value. Ultimately, a successful nonprofit digital transformation should streamline internal operations and optimize supporter relationships.

How do you know if your own organization needs a digital transformation? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you and your staff members communicating with donors manually?
  • Do you often find mistakes in your donor database? Misspelled names, typos, or duplicate profiles?
  • Do you sync your CRM and CMS manually? How often do you have to conduct large website maintenance?
  • Is it becoming harder to track fundraising engagements as your supporter base grows?

If you answered yes to any of the above, a nonprofit digital transformation should definitely be in your future. Otherwise, you’re stuck wasting valuable time and resources on processes that can quickly be automated and streamlined with the right solution.

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How Digital Transformation Can Help Nonprofits

In order to better understand how exactly a digital transformation can help your nonprofit, let’s review some common challenges organizations have when it comes to their tech solutions. Then, we’ll review how a digital transformation can help resolve them.

Common Pitfalls for Nonprofits

Without a dedicated digital strategy to guide a nonprofit’s efforts and streamline operations, your organization risks falling behind and missing key opportunities with potential supporters.

Here are the common areas of digital strategy where nonprofits fall short:

  • Missing vital donor engagement opportunities, such as online fundraising directly on your website.
  • Using outdated campaign strategies, like sending generic communications to your entire supporter base rather than personalized messaging.
  • Lacking communication between departments and fundraising tools, leading to a fragmented understanding of your overall data.

Benefits of Nonprofit Digital Transformation

What exactly can an effective and well planned nonprofit digital transformation do for your organization? Consider the following benefits:

  • Empower nonprofit leaders to make data-driven decisions. Strategies and donor outreach methods are much more successful when they’re backed by concrete data and historical insight.
  • Automate the process of tracking and recording necessary donor engagements. Your dedicated nonprofit tech solution should be collecting all key data points as each engagement happens.
  • Save on manual labor time by staff members. A nonprofit digital transformation transfers many of the manual tasks that staff members undertake to an automated solution.
  • Streamline day-to-day tasks like sending thank you emails, updating donor profiles, etc. Having tools facilitate these day-to-day activities not only frees up time for your staff members but also ensures that these necessary tasks are done on time and accurately.
  • Ensure that your nonprofit tech solutions support a growing organization. As your audience and internal team expand, your donor database, nonprofit website, and other nonprofit tech should be able to support this growth.
  • Provide a more secure, trusted experience for supporters. Your tech is only as good as how secure it is. Nonprofit solutions help you gather and use your data more effectively, but it of course has to protect that data as well. A digital transformation can ensure that your tools do just that.
  • Allow for a flexible work environment by enabling team members to work from home. A nonprofit digital transformation gives you the tools and resources to streamline how your own staff members communicate and work together. Some nonprofit tech solutions can even empower your organization to work from home.
  • Increase your online fundraising impact. By investing in the best nonprofit tools for your unique goals and mission, you’re also better able to facilitate online fundraising efforts and increase your impact.
  • Offer convenient ways for others to support and give to your organization. Your online donation tool, CMS, event management solution, text fundraising platform, and more, are all ways your nonprofit can transform its digital system. These novel tools also provide more opportunities and channels for donors to support your nonprofit.

Is your updated nonprofit website ready to launch? Check out our PreLaunch Checklist to be sure.

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Getting Started with your Nonprofit Digital Transformation

If you’re interested in bringing your nonprofit digital solutions to the next level, you’re already on the right track by reading this article. Starting with research is always the best approach whenever you make any meaningful and long-lasting changes to your organization and how it operates. But what next actions should you take to get the ball officially rolling?

Nonprofit digital transformations are going to look different depending on where your organization currently stands, the solutions you already use, and your unique goals and mission. However, there are some general steps you’ll likely follow:

  • Complete a nonprofit tech audit. This reviews how your nonprofit is currently doing in the digital space. While this can be done manually, partnering with a nonprofit tech consultant or another experienced agency will be your best bet.
  • Identify current technology gaps and opportunities.  Look to your nonprofit database and take note of any engagements that have fallen behind. Turning to your tech stack, identify processes that cause more roadblocks than solve them.
  • Come up with a plan for your digital transformation. This should include a roadmap of the tools you’re going to invest in as well as how you’re going to implement them. Consider the timeframe and other constraints you may have, like budget and staff time.

While tackling a nonprofit digital transformation is possible to do on your own, it’s recommended that you partner with an experienced tech consultant to ensure you’re not missing any vital opportunities and that your solution is doing all it can for your mission.

We at Kanopi have helped numerous nonprofits take their digital strategy to the next level, especially when it comes to developing, designing, and supporting their nonprofit website.

As the centralizing factor of many of your online engagements, your nonprofit website is crucial for maximizing your donor relationships and leveraging opportunities that drive you towards your mission. It’s likely also the first place potential supporters look to find out more about your organization.

Partner with us to start your nonprofit digital transformation and ensure that your CMS and website are effectively meeting your needs and helping you towards your goals. Contact us here to learn more.

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