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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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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