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How The Not For Profit Technology Landscape is Changing

Decreased not-for-profit sector funding and engagement has brought forth an industry-wide tech revolution. NFP technology strategies now focus on building advocacy, staff efficiency and improved impact measurement. This revolution is in stark contrast to traditional NFP investment patterns that favoured front line service investment.

Here are two tech movements and methods that leading NFPs are getting on board with for enhanced performance:

THE MOVEMENTS

Focus on user experience

Customer expectations and purchasing behaviours have changed. Customers often independently research and evaluate different organisations prior to engagement and make limited trade-offs between competitive quality and customer experience. NFPs must therefore empower user experience at each customer touch point along the customer journey to effectively increase conversion rates. As part of the user experience, customers engage with a sequence of user interfaces such as websites, applications and programs.

Research has demonstrated that customer attention spans are waning, with almost 50% of users reading 110 webpage words or less. In effect, not for profit technology priorities should focus on website, social media and general IT infrastructure optimisation:

  • Websites should be succinct and clear. It should facilitate a smooth and intuitive experience that makes it simple for funders, volunteers and clients to find relevant information and take desired action.
  • Social media platforms and content should be targeted to reach and attract new funders, volunteers, staff and clients
  • The general IT infrastructure should be streamlined for maximum up time to minimise service disruptions

Data is gold

NFPs hold abundant levels of information. When interpreted for meaning and visualised for trends, data can be useful for two reasons.

Data insights demonstrate a level of legitimacy that is crucial for successful decision making. Information becomes particularly powerful when leveraged to improve customer experience. In the context of NFPs, data can be used to better understand what volunteers and donors value when searching for a charity to engage with. Such information can be used to develop more effective and targeted programs and initiatives.

Data can also be used as performance and improvement yardsticks. This is pertinent for NFPs as the NFP sector is under growing pressure to demonstrate accountability and transparency, particularly as donors, volunteers and clients are becoming increasingly agnostic. Data provides an opportunity to demonstrate the relationship between NFP operations and community impact.

THE METHODS

Cloud is critical

Adopting cloud technologies can help save time and money – valuable resources that can be dedicated to improving user experience. Cloud-based infrastructure also allows for dynamism and flexibility as capabilities and licensing can be scaled to match current demands and workforce size. Such agility is key in today’s progressively unpredictable NFP sector.

One major concern in the data mining process is data discretion. Privacy becomes a forefront concern when information is continually pulled for analysis. Cloud software can assist in preserving confidentiality when infrastructure is separated into private and public domains. Decreased reliance on hardcopy material and hardware can fortify information security. Clouds are embedded in a virtual environment that is perpetually backed up, controlled, monitored, and secured.

System Integration

Organisations adopt multiple software and tools for different tasks. This can lead to a scattered information technology system that fails to maximise utility. NFPs should instead trial and deploy technologies with integration in mind. Centralised technology systems hold rich data pools that encourage deeper and more holistic information analysis. For example, single view client management systems provide a more well-rounded view of the donor’s information, behaviors and needs. Such data can be used to inform service designers in the user experience curation process.


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Powernet specialises in cloud computing and system integration.

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