The 5 Defining Nonprofit Technology Trends of 2020
March 11, 2020
As much as any industry, nonprofit organizations need to remain at the forefront of technology and workforce trends. There are substantial opportunities for organizations to adopt technology to support driving their mission forward.
2019 was a defining period for many nonprofits, and 2020 is shaping up to be no different. As technology becomes more attainable for these organizations, the industry is positioned for great growth and efficiency.
Throughout 2020, nonprofit organizations are expected to follow five key trends of growth and expansion:
Cybersecurity and Specifically a Comprehensive Data Security Plan
Cybersecurity remains a pervasive issue for organizations of all types, not just nonprofits, but its importance will reach new heights for nonprofits in the coming year. Cyber threats are at an all-time high, and nonprofits are a favorite target of cyberattacks. Many nonprofits possess data containing personal information, credit card, and social security numbers, and even healthcare information. While threats may be at an all-time high, contrary to popular belief, the cost to procure the necessary cybersecurity is reaching an all-time low. In the last several years, the cost to obtain the top security measures dropped considerably and is now at a low enough cost for many nonprofit organizations to afford.
Some specific tools seeing more interest by nonprofits are multi-factor authentication, single sign-on controls, and real-time scanning of links and attachments to assess threats. Another measure organizations are taking is implementing comprehensive cybersecurity training. Not just for their IT personnel, but also for their general staff. It’s important all levels of an organization’s staff are able to detect threats and respond accordingly when one is present. Many of the cutting-edge tools and technologies available for nonprofits have the added benefit of being incredibly user-friendly, with simplistic interfaces and straightforward training.
With improved data analytics, data quality, and fundraising technology comes the importance of improved data security. Nonprofits are collecting more data than ever before, and because of this, they need to have in place a data strategy across the entire organization. A strategy to make their data work for them, and also be protected under their cybersecurity processes.
Adopting Cloud Software
Even in 2020, a surprising number of organizations are still running on legacy systems. These systems tend to be used as Constituent Management Software for keeping records and tracking information on donors, members, and important research information. The issue with these legacy systems is they are often very time-consuming, difficult to use, and not typically aligned with modern organizational processes. For years, nonprofits have been steadily making the switch to cloud-based software, and 2020 will likely be the biggest year yet for adoption.
A lot of nonprofits are hesitant to invest in new software, but data around the cost of ownership on cloud systems proves a cloud adoption is financially cheaper over the long run. With the cost of cybersecurity software trending down, so too is the cost of cloud systems. Nonprofits have the ability to benefit from the adoption and implementation of a comprehensive cloud system that can lead them towards significantly better efficiency across most, if not all, departments. Cloud systems are highly customizable and easily integrate with other tools. Cloud technology is more functional, provides better access to data, and can streamline processes better than legacy systems.
Because of the immense accessibility of cloud technology, a direct emerging trend of nonprofits is expanding their remote workforce. Cloud technology enables this trend, but a shortage of talent is driving it. A large number of nonprofits are located in major metropolitan areas, and the cost of living is difficult for many nonprofits and their employees to handle. Agile nonprofits deploying cloud technology are encouraging staff to work effectively from anywhere. Cloud and security systems need to be in place before a nonprofit allows a remote workforce, but it does permit the nonprofit to cast a wider net when looking for talent and provides an additional perk to employees. With the proper technology in place (cybersecurity controls and cloud-based solutions) a remote workforce is helping to drive nonprofit organizations forward.
Data Analytics and Data Quality
The implementation of AI by nonprofits can have massive benefits. Next-generation machine learning, AI, and IoT devices are being used to actually achieve the mission of nonprofits. These tools are helping organizations interpret data in incredible ways. With integrative tools and technologies, nonprofits are able to use AI to create a very accurate and evolving 360-degree view of their donors. In the past, navigating immense amounts of data was nearly impossible and took a vast amount of personnel hours to interpret and analyze.
Historically, nonprofits used to rely almost exclusively on two systems to run the entire organization – a CRM and a finance system. With the onset of new data technology, situations have arisen for nonprofits where departments and programs are procuring their own software and collecting data. Data captured through IoT devices is even being used to help nonprofits share the impact they’re having with their donors. The insights organizations are able to provide as a result of improved data analytics and data quality continues to improve.
Modernizing Fundraising Technology
For every nonprofit, the key component to continued success is fundraising to fulfill the mission. Technology around fundraising is revolutionizing the way nonprofits obtain important donations. Not unlike their overall system software, many organizations haven’t stayed current when it comes to fundraising technology. Their online approach isn’t geared towards a mobile-friendly audience. With mobile-centric applications, nonprofits are able to create a platform where donors can simply pull out their phone and make a donation at an event.
New payment technologies like Venmo, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet are immensely popular with younger donors – a demographic nonprofits struggle to reach. By incorporating these tools into a mobile-friendly package, nonprofits will no longer be losing out on a large segment of their donor base, who would donate if they had these options available. Updating the technology around data collection and automating much of the fundraising process is a big step nonprofit organizations will continue to make. This will enable organizations to raise the funds they need, but still, be able to focus staff on delivering and carrying out their mission.
The resources technology provides nonprofits are beyond measure. In the months to follow cybersecurity, cloud adoption, remote capabilities, data analytics, fundraising technology, and data security will present new opportunities for many nonprofits.
If you’re unsure how to best put these trends to use at your nonprofit, SC&H Group’s Technology Advisory Practice can help steer your organization toward growth and innovation. Contact Us today to learn more.