The New Nonprofit Model: Organizational Sustainability Through Leadership & Mission
Where Technology Fits In
Technology has revolutionized the sector in how it communicates, records, tracks, and reports. It’s no longer a one-way strategy anymore, and we promise that we’re not trying to tell you that print is dead—it’s not. Print still plays a central part on how nonprofits engage donors. In fact, direct mail has a median ROI of 29 percent, according to the Data & Marketing Association, which is higher than paid search ads.
Using print in combination with newer advanced online tools gives nonprofits more leverage, helping nonprofits stay relevant and effectively communicate with their constituents.
“Technology is changing how [CHOP] is personalizing cultivation and stewardship. Like most people, we use a lot of data to inform what we do, we have tools that maximize our relationship management. I think that all organizations have to be more comfortable using data,” Hocking said.
It’s no secret that’s there’s a new world of technology out there, and it’s overwhelming to understand all the technology opportunities out there. And while you’re out there, educating yourself about the different technologies and how it applies to your nonprofit, it’s vital to factor in the following questions:
- How will this technology benefit our nonprofit?
- Will this be advantageous to our workflow?
- How will our donors respond to this technology?
- Will this significantly improve our donor relationships?
And if you’re scratching your head about this new technological arena that we’ve entered, not to fret. There are plenty of resources out there for your nonprofit needs—whether it be donor management, case management, event management, data management. Here, at NonProfit PRO, we are especially interested in educating ourselves and our audience about the nonprofit technology space, so you can visit www.nonprofitpro.com to learn more.
The final piece of technology that we want to touch on is impact. Impact is such a relevant topic in the nonprofit space. Not only are our nonprofit organizations evolving, but our donors are evolving, too. They’re no longer thinking about, “Wow, this nonprofit has a great mission. Let me support them by monthly donations.” Donor thought patterns and behaviors have tremendously changed. Now, they’re thinking, “OK. This mission statement sounds like something I can support. But there are X number of nonprofits that are advocating the same thing, working for the same end goal. If I donate, how do I know where my money is going? And if it’s going toward the mission?”
We’re in a generation of philanthropists and influencers of social good. Donors want to know what they’re supporting and how they’re making a difference, so what every nonprofit needs to do is record their impact and report it. But how can nonprofits impact report optimally?
Hocking believes it’s important to understand what the donor preferences are and then communicate according to those preferences. Nonprofits need to work on making the donors feel engaged with the organization.
“Stewardship is an ongoing conversation. It can come in written format, stewardship reports and magazines, which we do. It could also be an in-person conversation, with a fundraiser or with the clinician who is directly using those funds to make a difference. We try to use all those different strategies to complement the stewardship in different ways at different times, recognizing what's most valuable for that particular donor,” Hocking said.
With all of this said, at the least, leadership is a really interesting and relevant topic. We believe that the nonprofit sector is finally catching up to the for-profit sector in that sense. Nonprofits are beginning to recognize the importance of leadership and how it translates in to a nonprofit’s success, and we’re looking forward to seeing where innovation takes it and how it will continue to evolve in the next decade or so.
What leadership strategies is your nonprofit engaging in that you think our sector would benefit from? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's note: This was the cover story to NonProfit PRO's 2018 November/December issue. To read the entire issue, click here.