Key Takeaways from the 2022 Salesforce Nonprofit Trends Report

After the twists and turns of the past couple of years, I think it’s important to take a look at how nonprofits are faring. The most recent Nonprofit Trends Report from Salesforce does just that. It offers helpful insights into nonprofits’ challenges and how some nonprofits continue to thrive no matter what comes their way.

Takeaways from the Salesforce Nonprofit Trends Report

While the report covers multiple topics, a few big takeaways stood out to me in relation to nonprofit technology and what we’re seeing here at Heller Consulting:

1. Staffing is a roller coaster.

The report’s findings show that:

  • About one-third (33%) of organizations changed their size based on increased demand for services, while another third (30%) changed their size based on reduced demand.
  • Regardless of whether a nonprofit had to lay off or furlough employees, nearly half (48%) expect to add headcount or staff within the next 12 months.
  • 85% of those surveyed say staff retention will continue to or increasingly become a challenge.

My take: Nonprofits facing staffing challenges would do well to turn to automation technology. For example, implementing marketing automation and other process automation technologies can help minimize time-consuming manual processes and smooth out the impact of staff changes while allowing you to build and manage personalized constituent journeys.

Another consideration: As nonprofits face ups and downs when it comes to staffing, training becomes more important than ever. It shouldn’t be only a one-time event after a new technology implementation. Instead, it should involve process documentation and ongoing tech training opportunities for new employees to help your organization manage change for years to come.

2. Data management is a challenge.

According to the report:

    • Three in 10 nonprofits struggle with data management across the organization.
    • Less than one-third said it was easy to find and share data when there is a problem involving different departments.
    • Only 34% report always making decisions based on data and designing programs and services using information about and engagement with recipients.

My take: Having the right customer relationship management (CRM) system can help nonprofits in many ways, including managing and sharing data. It can serve as the primary source for your organization’s data. It can also help you set up, manage, and share reports and dashboards that give your entire staff greater insights into what’s happening across the organization. These benefits become especially helpful in staying resilient during unexpected challenges.

3. Marketing, fundraising, and technology go hand-in-hand-in-hand.

The report points out that it’s hard to separate marketing from fundraising in the modern nonprofit world. And in both cases, technology appears to be the cornerstone for success. Marketing and fundraising staff are implementing multiple digital channels, with many reporting that their efforts have been impactful.

In addition, the report shows that over the past 12 months, 36% of respondents report that they invested in new technology such as CRM, collaboration/productivity tools, analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation, with 87% reporting it as impactful.

My take: Putting the right technology in place isn’t about just making improvements for one department or function. With the right approach, it can help the entire organization. At Team Heller, we saw that nonprofits with a strong technology foundation when the COVID-19 pandemic hit were able to adapt quickly to many changes, including:

  • Changing operational processes
  • Adding or modifying programs to meet a growing demand for services
  • Scaling up fundraising
  • Engaging with donors and constituents in new ways

For many of those organizations, their technology foundation has at its core a strong CRM system, like Salesforce, that helps them put data and processes to work efficiently across their organization.

Is your nonprofit ready for what comes next?

Putting the right technology in place can help your entire organization adapt to our changing times. 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 stay resilient no matter what the future brings. Contact us today to get started.

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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