The Big Technology Trends for Nonprofits in 2014
Technology is changing the world around us — sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes in very dramatic ways. Consumer behavior is changing, companies are figuring out how to best use the latest technology to sell products and services and improve brand loyalty — even the government is getting in on the act.
It’s no different for nonprofits. Technology is causing an ongoing transformation in the nonprofit sector from the way supporters engage their favorite nonprofits to the way nonprofit organizations fundraise, market and manage information. This will only continue to evolve in 2014. Think back even five years ago, 10 years ago — how different is the nonprofit landscape now compared to then? It’s pretty dramatic.
In 2014, tremendous opportunities exist for nonprofit organizations to use technology to deliver on their missions in very effective and scalable ways. Here are the technology trends that will have the biggest impact on the nonprofit sector this year.
Sixty-one percent of the U.S. population owns a smartphone. Ninety-one percent own some kind of cellular phone. Mobile devices will only continue to become more and more pervasive. There is no escaping the fact that mobile is mainstream. Mobile devices are quickly becoming the platform of choice for computing and collaboration versus sitting behind a desk. Mobile will change how nonprofits conduct business — both with supporters and with staff — by enabling greater flexibility in terms of engagement and interaction with software, data and each other.
Data is the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization. Keeping data fresh and clean is of critical importance. Nonprofits will use data to understand what communication channels are most effective, how to better fundraise (who to ask for how much), how to effectively facilitate events or peer-to-peer fundraise, how to increase recurring giving, etc. Understanding where other nonprofits are successful, how individuals respond to different communication (marketing) channels, and a supporter’s overall propensity and ability to give will be integrated into software to make it “smarter,” which will ultimately enable nonprofits to be much more successful.
Mary Beth Westmoreland is Blackbaud’s chief technology officer, responsible for leading worldwide product, technology and analytics strategy, architecture, user experience and innovation across the company’s entire solution portfolio. Mary Beth joined Blackbaud in 2008 and has over 30 years of experience in software engineering and product development.
Prior to Blackbaud, Mary Beth was VP of research and development at Ipswitch, Inc. where she led software engineering, design and operations across the company’s global product portfolio. Before Ipswitch, she spent 15 years at the Savannah River National Laboratory, where she started as a programmer and eventually managed the company’s Enterprise and Technical Systems Engineering organizations.
In both 2019 and 2017, Mary Beth was named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology by the National Diversity Council — a definitive list that honors the most extraordinary female leaders, influencers and achievers impacting the technology industry. She has been recognized for her leadership in Blackbaud’s transformation to a cloud software company that is innovative, agile and successful, for her mentorship of other women and for her commitment to corporate citizenship.
Mary Beth is a trustee at her alma mater, Immaculata University, where she graduated with a degree in mathematics and physics. She is also a member of the advisory board of Clemson University’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, a founding board member of Charleston Women in Tech, and is actively involved in a variety of STEM programs, Women in Technology initiatives and other nonprofits.