Developing digital strategies for nonprofits

Nonprofits looking to attract tech-savvy donors should begin developing digital strategies that will appeal to these unique constituents.
Date Published

Now that 2015 is here, many charitable organizations are looking to make the new year better than the last, particularly when it comes to nonprofit fundraising. Contributions from donors are the lifeblood of organizations looking to continue their foundational missions. Without financial contributions from constituents, helping individuals or advancing causes would be difficult goals to achieve.

However, a number of 501(c)(3) organizations are understanding that their support bases are changing. While many people still give contributions via physical check and look forward to receiving information related to their favorite charity in the mail, there is a rapidly expanding donor base that prefers digital communications and to make donations online.

As such, many nonprofits understand the need to develop digital initiatives to connect with constituents who are tech savvy and enjoy communicating and completing transactions online.

Best practices for addressing behavior changes of donors
Since computers, smartphones and tablets have become so pervasive in today’s society, these gadgets have essentially altered the way people do business. Technology has streamlined a lot of processes that at one point, needed to be done with some form of human interaction. Now, automation has become a key component within many industries and the nonprofit sector is no different.

In order to embrace the future, which in this case revolves around digital communications and transactions, the EveryAction blog wrote that charities need to develop ways to integrate these solutions into their overall business strategies.

Simply focusing on the implementation of digital processes without uncovering ways to integrate technology into other aspects of the organization, works against the end goal of moving the nonprofit forward and being seen as a charity that fully embraces technology.

Here are a few helpful suggestions that can help move a nonprofit into the future and attract donors who have already embraced technology and expects the same of organizations they decide to partner with:

  1. Map out engagement goals: One of the benefits of going digital is connect with those who rely heavily on the use of technology. This can be done by making nonprofit fundraising efforts more effective or using constituents to share the word about a specific cause on the Web, most likely using social networks. Whatever the case, EveryAction suggests that these outcomes should be clearly defined. Creating an engagement pyramid is a great way to measure the success of any strategies and highlight any changes that need to be made in order to make engagement efforts more robust.
  2. Develop a mobile application: Smartphone and tablet users are all too familiar with having apps on their devices. According to Nonprofit technology Network, there are two kinds of apps that a nonprofit can benefit from: hybrid and mobile Web applications. The former are those commonly found on mobile devices that users download, while the latter can be accessed on these gadgets and provides an interactive experience that tech-savvy constituents will enjoy. Both are highly effective and nonprofits should allocate portions of their budgets to the creation of one or both of these useful tools.
  3. Understand your audience: While digital initiatives are effective, it’s important to understand which donor bases are more apt to respond positively. Simply assuming that the general public will gravitate toward these initiatives is shortsighted and can lead to negative outcomes. EveryAction suggests collecting as much information as possible on constituents and then segmenting them based on the likelihood they will respond favorable to digital initiatives. Everything isn’t for everybody. Therefore, it’s important for nonprofits to put themselves in position to see success after implementing digital initiatives. 

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