Transparency still the key to success

Salesforce nonprofits 2020 trends report

69% of nonprofits say the demand for transparency regarding funding has increased. One of the key findings from Salesforce nonprofit trends report 2020 - trends, challenges, and opportunities with technology. 

Importantly, 69% also say it is hard to share personalized impact data from programs with funders, which is a major challenge in providing that transparency.

This is typically due to the fact that this data is in multiple places, not digitized or allocated to programs, or they don’t have the analytics tools to report back.

Transparency is a key issue when it comes to client experiences and programs. 26% of nonprofits say that a lack of transparency and trust directly holds them back from achieving their mission.

To compound, these growing challenges nonprofits are creating more awareness for support/advocacy, and expanding partnerships or funding. But many still don’t have insight into the quality of experience for the people they serve, as only 58% measure satisfaction for clients/program participants.

As challenges grow in the COVID-19 world, demand for more nonprofit programs and services is rising. Technology is providing the biggest support to nonprofits, even though it still happens to be the biggest challenge.

85% of nonprofits surveyed said technology is the key to the success of their organizations. While 75% of respondents say that how to measure and report data is a challenge.

The report surveyed 725 nonprofit professionals from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Organization sizes surveyed ranged from 1 employee to more than 10,000 employees. Data were collected from surveys in the field July 16-August 9, 2019.

Listed below are my learnings on how digital and technology can solve the trust deficit from donors from the Salesforce Nonprofits 2020 trends report:

Enabling digital constituent experiences

According to the report: Nearly three-quarters of nonprofits (74%) report that constituents’ desire to participate in their organization’s work has increased in the last five years. To take advantage of this opportunity, many nonprofits aim to provide more meaningful and better personalized constituent experiences – both offline, but more importantly online, in an increasingly digital world.

However, just over half of survey respondents say that they measure donor or client satisfaction. Of those that collect this data, 34% take no action on feedback collected. 

Marketing plays a great role in creating awareness and personalised communications with constituents. “85% of respondents said they use insights from their marketing and engagement data to target outreach efforts and tailor communications.” The below snapshot gives you an overview of how the online fundraising tactics have Decreased, Stayed the Same, and Increased.

Social media campaigns and website donation portals have significantly increased in the past five years. So have the other tactics and the individual growth difference isn’t much. 

Measuring and reporting data is a challenge

Today, donors want to know more about what nonprofits are doing with the money. It’s not just about being transparent with data, but also how it is shared, and ensuring it is trustworthy and used ethically. To make this happen, requires a whole new level of data collection, goal setting, automation, and reporting. 

The challenge is that many nonprofits do not have the data they need on their constituents. 47% are substantially or extremely challenged in capturing and managing accurate data on constituents, and only 51% of nonprofits actually measure their overall mission goals. 

75% of respondents say that how to measure and report data is a challenge, and therefore are unable to do so because of time and resource constraints.

However, only 45% of respondents said they measure their marketing goals. Less than one-third measure email deliverability, social influence, or marketing conversion.

Clearly, the above snapshot shows how we are giving importance to social influence on marketing performance and staff productivity for fundraising performance. Instead, donor conversion and donor acquisition sources should be getting more weightage. A major reason is when nonprofits are challenged in capturing and managing accurate data on constituents.

Hence, 73% of nonprofits, say they can’t tell if their programs are effective or reaching the populations they want to serve. This is a challenge for many nonprofits because measuring impact requires not just internal programs data, but also external data sources on the communities being served.

Adopting fundraising technology

Technology can solve problems and is a key to success for nonprofits. But not when decisions are still made chiefly by IT. With 55% responding that IT is the primary champion, 41% saying CEO/president/ executive director, 37% programs teams, and 35% from fundraising and development teams.

As I see fundraising teams should be more involved in championing the use of technology in fundraising for nonprofits. Besides leadership vision, budget constraints, change management, and adoption difficulties continue to challenge nonprofits attempting to successfully implement technology that provides actionable data. 

45% say a lack of flexibility for organizational change prevents departments from using tech to improve strategy.

As I see these constraints have been consistent not only for nonprofits but also for profit-making companies. Even before investing in a fancy new technology figure out do you have the budget for recruiting new staff for the tool or are the existing ready to get trained?

This is why 79% of nonprofits have a CRM system in place, fewer use it strategically across departments, chapters, and teams to effectively market and fundraise, or report back to funders.

Without full adoption of technology, nonprofits may not get the maximum return on investment they expected, which can hinder both current and future projects. Staff experience is critically important, as not all feel they have the necessary experience or training to use tools at work. 

Going forward 86% of fundraisers believe technology can replace a lot of manual tasks that divert them from more important activities. Nearly a third (31%) of those who used CRM for donor relationship management exceeded their goals, versus 23% who met or fell short of goals. 37% of those who used artificial intelligence exceeded their goals, versus 23% who didn’t.

The majority of nonprofits are putting their money on mobile campaigns, peer to peer campaigns, selling goods, membership, etc. All of them at some point would require automation so the sensible advice would be putting your money into integrating a Fundraising Software on top of your CRM database.

The world we operate in demands nonprofits have modern technology. But before you invest in a fancy new tool do the due diligence from budget to resources. Otherwise, you will have a fancy tool lying in a corner because no one knows how to integrate with the existing setup.