You’ve probably never met a philanthropist or donor who didn’t care about how their donation was being spent or what it was being used to accomplish. It just wouldn’t make sense—after all, donors give money because they believe in the causes and missions that those dollars are, in theory, supporting.
And if you’re somebody who is running a nonprofit organization, you care about that mission, too. You want to make sure you’re using those donation dollars as effectively and efficiently as possible. The sad reality, however, is that some nonprofit organizations fall short in terms of efficiency—they waste time, energy, and other resources.
Why is this?
Well, in many cases, it might be because nonprofit organizations are trying to do so much with so little. Some nonprofits in 2022 might even be relying on volunteers to track budgets using printed spreadsheets or keep track of donor contacts using a Rolodex.
On the other hand, there are the savvy nonprofit organizations that are staying abreast of new options when it comes to running their operations—and these are the nonprofits that are fulfilling their missions in much bigger ways than ever before.
In fact, 93% of individuals who make decisions about funding now see money spent on technology as a way of investing that will pay off in helping them have a bigger influence. That’s according to a FREE TIP SHEET we offer titled Crash Course in Fundraising and Engagement: Six Ways to be a Great Fundraiser During Challenging Times. The idea behind this tip sheet is to help nonprofits such as yours understand how digital platforms can revolutionize the way you fund your mission.
As is detailed in the tip sheet, many major nonprofit organizations have enjoyed the positive effects of using a digital platform like Microsoft Dynamics 365. One prominent example of this is the world humanitarian organizations World Vision, Food for the Hungry, and Compassion International. These three organizations, which share similar missions, saw an increased need in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic caused economic distress for so many populations around the world. The only problem was that fundraising was difficult when everyone was encouraged to stay at home.
These three organizations decided to take their fundraising efforts digital in August 2020. They held a virtual concert, “Unite to Fight Poverty,” which brought people together online to hear music and make donations.
The thing is that this online concert didn’t just make a fundraiser possible at a time when in-person gatherings were off-limits, but it also made it possible for a greater number of people all around the world to participate. They could now attend the fundraiser from the convenience of their living room. This explains why the concert has generated more than 215,000 unique viewers and brought in 8,000 donations. And because it was done online, it was easy to record, so those who were not able to tune in live were still able to watch and donate.
Using a Digital Platform
A digital platform, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, can help you:
- Connect with donors digitally
- Personalize the donor experience
- Respond to urgent fundraising needs
- Evaluate fundraising efforts in real time
- Be as efficient as possible with donor dollars
- Demonstrate impact on an ongoing basis
If it helps give you a better appreciation, think of the ways for-profit businesses use digital platforms. They can hold video online meetings, organize virtual events, engage in digital communications like email or instant messenger, and even market their cause. All of these can be just as effective for a nonprofit organization as they are for a for-profit business. And about 60-70% of donors say they want to see nonprofit organizations using more technology to run their operations.
Educational Student Tours (EST)
One nonprofit we work with directly is Educational Student Tours (EST), which aims to break the cycle of poverty and improve the quality of life for foster and low-income youth by helping them access and complete post-secondary education. At the start of the pandemic, EST nearly went under. Fortunately, we were able to help set them up with a CRM so they were no longer trying to organize individual cases manually in scattered spreadsheets or wasting time scanning files for data. Now they can use a CRM to do things like track one-time and multi-year grants or to maintain a database of students, social workers, and foster families.
Salvation Army Switzerland
Another nonprofit organization that relies on digital platforms is Salvation Army Switzerland, which created the BrockiCard app in collaboration with Microsoft. The app allows Salvation Army to track user data and find out who is shopping, who is donating, and what their experience is like. Using this data, the Salvation Army has a better way of managing where it opens stores and maintains relationships with donors and customers—something that allows it to maximize its influence.
Right to Play
Last but not least, there’s the nonprofit organization Right to Play, a global organization dedicated to ensuring every child is safe from abuse and free to enjoy childhood. Up until a few years ago, Right to Play managed all of its donor information manually, which often took hours of work to forecast how much revenue they would have at any given time (and how much they could accomplish with those funds). When Right to Play started using a digital platform to manage this information, giving it real-time insight into donations and operations, it was able to scale its influence in a significant way.