Paper-bound processes are standard in many nonprofits, making them prone to inefficiencies, disorganization, duplication, and security risks. Many NPOs have outdated and disparate legacy technology, sometimes using discontinued software or hardware with no technical support options.
Manual processes and unwieldy amounts of data are the norms for many of these organizations. Even NPOs that have moved to the cloud face the problem of data silos, which can hurt both productivity and the bottom line. Repressed data silos lead nonprofits to ignore 88 percent of their customer data – a huge problem if they rely on grassroots fundraising. Lack of visibility into the progress of programs and how donations are used – both internally and externally to constituencies and regulators – is another common issue.
The challenge, of course, is overcoming the opportunity costs of digital transformation. NPOs often operate on tight budgets with all sorts of constraints, including IT teams that are much smaller than those at comparably-sized for-profit institutions. Couple this with inefficiencies and outdated technologies, and these organizations are doomed to doing less with even fewer resources.
Maintaining growth and attracting donors requires a move toward streamlined, coordinated, and secured data, ultimately getting to a point where the resources on hand enable a whole new world of possibilities. Let’s delve into why, exactly, a digital transformation is in order for many NPOs, and how to take the required first steps.