4 Takeaways from the 2022 Salesforce Nonprofit Trends Report - Heller Consulting

4 Takeaways from the 2022 Salesforce Nonprofit Trends Report

Like all of us, nonprofit organizations must adapt to economic, political, and societal changes in our world. The latest Nonprofit Trends Report from Salesforce (fifth edition) offers useful insights into the challenges nonprofits are facing today, and which are faring better, in our evolving world.

Four takeaways from the Salesforce Nonprofit Trends Report

As always, the report includes a breadth of topics. However, four big takeaways jumped out at me this year – especially as it relates to what we’ve been seeing here at Heller Consulting:

1. Organizational culture is taking center stage.

In today’s economic and workforce climate, it’s not too surprising that nonprofits are focusing on staff retention and employee well-being. The report’s findings show that top issues impacting organizations in the past 12 months include:

    • Employee burnout and/or mental health issues
    • Difficulty hiring the right talent
    • Employees tired of working remotely
    • High employee turnover
    • Employee resistance to change
    • Loss of senior executive talent

With these issues at the forefront, organizational culture plays a significant role in attracting and retaining employees. According to the report, positive organizational cultures are connected with more motivated employees. When cultures are perceived as “challenging” or “toxic,” organizations are 1.4x more likely to be affected by employee burnout and mental health issues.

And that leads to the next two takeaways.

2. Digitally mature nonprofits are more successful.

The report states that one of the key factors affecting staff motivation levels and the resulting impact on overall organizational culture is an organization’s digital maturity level. In the report, Salesforce defines “digital maturity” as an organization’s ability to use data to inform decision making, reach new audiences, personalize communications, and forecast fundraising income.

According to the report:

    • Employees at nonprofits with high digital maturity have a 3.5x higher motivation to work than low digital maturity organizations.
    • Digitally mature organizations are 1.7x more likely to say their workplace culture is highly energizing or positive than those with low digital maturity.
    • Digitally mature nonprofits are 1.3x more likely to have lower levels of staff burnout.

Digitally mature nonprofits also outperform their peers – regardless of the organization’s revenue, employee headcount, or geographic location. The report shows that organizations with high digital maturity are:

  • 9x more likely to have experienced improvements in organizational efficiency or mission impact
  • 5x more likely to have achieved mission goals compared to their peers with low digital maturity

Here at Heller Consulting, we’ve seen the positive impact of digital maturity in nonprofits as well. In our experience, nonprofits that have invested in a strong technology foundation have been able to better navigate uncertainty over the past few years by quickly improving operational processes, adding or modifying programs to meet a growing (or decreasing) demand for services, scaling up fundraising, and engaging with donors and constituents in new ways.

Despite the connection between digital maturity and success, only one in eight nonprofits have achieved high digital maturity, according to the Salesforce report. This indicates an opportunity for the nonprofit sector to place more importance on the factors that lead to digital maturity.

3. It’s time to embrace a mindset for change.

The second key factor affecting staff motivation levels and the resulting impact on overall organizational culture is an organization’s mindset for change.

According to the report, nonprofit leaders say the pandemic accelerated digital transformation in their organizations and pushed them to be more innovative. Forty-four percent of organizations with high digital maturity say that digital transformation is a “must-have,” compared with 27% of organizations with low digital maturity. These organizations with high digital maturity are also more likely to use technology and data to empower cultural change, deepen relationships with stakeholders, and deliver on their missions.

Learn more about the importance of digital transformation and tips on how to make better technology decisions for your nonprofit. Read The Nonprofit’s 2022 Guide to Digital Transformation.


4. Data security is a priority.

The report points out that in the next 12 months, nonprofits have listed cybersecurity and privacy as a high priority. According to the report, the greater emphasis on cybersecurity and data privacy is notable. In interviews, nonprofit leaders said that an increased dependence on technology is making cybersecurity essential. Also, due to digital acceleration and new distributed work models, employees are often seen as the weakest point in security.

At Heller Consulting, we’ve found that having the right customer relationship management (CRM) ecosystem in place helps nonprofits to not only manage and share their valuable data, but also secure it. These benefits become especially critical in keeping up with our changing times.

Get your nonprofit ready for what comes next

As our world continues to evolve, it’s clear that having the right technology systems and strategies in place are critically important for your nonprofit organization’s success. Our team is ready to help you develop a vision for your technology ecosystem, choose the right systems and solutions, and build and implement a tech strategy that serves you now and helps you adapt no matter what the future brings. Contact us today to get started.

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About the Author

Kaia Swift
Kaia first started working with nonprofits at an internship at an organization that served military families. Since then, she has worked for C-SPAN and with organizations focused on education and politics. She brings her knowledge of marketing and nonprofit operations... Read More

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