4 Signs Your Nonprofit is Ready for a Digital Transformation

85% of nonprofits agree that technology is the key to their success (source). The issue? Too many organizations are working with outdated digital systems and technologies that cause unnecessary pain and frustration. Even worse, these legacy tools could be blocking your organization from fulfilling its core mission. Do not wait until your current system fails before investing in new systems and technologies!

Here are four signs that your organization is ready, today, to make a digital transformation.

Sign 1: You Have Different Versions of Member Data Lists

You’re browsing through a list of files, trying to figure out which one is the correct member list again — is it “Version 7.0” or “Version 7.0_5.13.21”? Maybe “Version 7.0 FINAL2”?

If this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time for a change?

Studies show that 88% of spreadsheets contain errors. If your teams are constantly creating new spreadsheets for reports or member outreach, it is impossible to say with certainty which spreadsheet is the most up-to-date. Which means:

  • Your team has no way of knowing if the data they are looking at to fulfill their task or make a critical decision is accurate.
  • Your colleagues have no clear way to share data with each other or have data-based cross-department conversations.
  • Your organization is wasting valuable time and energy duplicating efforts.

Digital Transformation Solution: Implement A CRM

Ditch the member spreadsheets and implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that can act as a single source of truth for your member data. A CRM can provide your organization with a more unified approach to data management, improving both the member experience (personalized and centralized communication) and your team’s experience (data integrity and a single source of truth).

Sign 2: You Have Too Many Manual Processes

From pulling renewal reports to processing program registrations, an abundance of manual processes might be causing you unnecessary pain.

When stacked together, too many manual tasks can eat up a significant chunk of your internal team’s time and slow down your interactions with your constituents. It can also lead to high turnover rates as team members become frustrated with current systems.

Digital Transformation Solution: Automate Where Able

If your team performs the same tasks daily, weekly, or even monthly, invest in new tools or systems that can automate these reoccurring tasks and free up time to focus on more valuable work.

Common manual processes that can be automated include:

  • Website and social media performance reports
  • Member email marketing communications
  • Weekly donation and fundraising reports
  • Volunteer management and coordination

When in doubt, choose a tool that can meet multiple automation needs to streamline your tech stack and avoid a cobbled together “Frankenstein” system.

Sign 3: You Are “Making Do” With What You Have

Does your team find itself repurposing systems to meet a need that system was never meant to solve? Or adding in new systems that duplicate existing functionality?

For example:

  • Using an e-commerce store interface to take member donations
  • Tracking multi-tier member/donor levels via a convoluted tagging system
  • Handling registration for virtual and in-person events across multiple different systems
  • Entering the same transaction data across multiple platforms to keep your accounting organized
  • Manually exporting data from one system just to import it back into another

The market is inundated with hundreds of tools, technologies, and platforms. Each promising to fulfill a particular need for your nonprofit. Finding the “right tool” for your specific needs can be an exhaustive cycle of demos, trials, and sales calls. Even then, there’s rarely a single perfect solution that fits the needs of every nonprofit.

Digital Transformation Solution: Reconsider Your Software Tools

If your team performs the same tasks daily, weekly, or even monthly, invest in new tools or systems that can automate these reoccurring tasks and free up time to focus on more valuable work.

This is where finding a strong partner (like BackOffice Thinking) can help you explore this crowded landscape and manage your technology assessment and selection process. In those instances where multiple tools/platforms are needed, the right partner can help you integrate those systems and get the “best of both worlds” in terms of feature sets available, simplified data automation, and a better user experience for your team.

Sign 4: You Are Unable to Scale

If it is too difficult or expensive to add new features to your system without breaking the bank (or breaking the system itself!), it may be time for a digital transformation.

As your members become more digitally sophisticated (and believe us, they will), they will expect your digital environment to meet their evolving needs.

This could include new features like:

  • Mobile donation forms
  • Self-service portals to manage member data
  • High-functioning and searchable resource libraries
  • Integrations with popular apps (e.g., Venmo)

Fail to meet these needs, and you may find your organization unable to connect and engage with members over time.

Digital Transformation Solution: Find the Right Partner to Help You Future-Proof

The right partner does more than help you set up and integrate a new system. They work with you to uncover and address the root cause of your current pain points and limitations. Digital transformation is never about bolting on a single tool. It is about understanding the interplay of your people, process, and technology to build a solution that scales with your organization.

Quick Tip: If you’re looking for a digital transformation partner with proven nonprofit experience, we can help. We’ve helped dozens of nonprofit organizations develop strategies and implement technologies that have transformed their organization. Reach out to us today, and let's get started building a strategy that meets your unique needs.

Painless Digital Transformation is Possible

As tempting as it may be to put your head in the sand and stick to the system that’s “good enough,” a digital transformation can help your organization streamline its workflow, eliminate costly errors, increase its member impact, and a host of other mission-critical benefits. With the right plan, platforms, and partner, this can be a painless experience. Contact us today if you're ready to begin your digital transformation.

Looking for even more digital transformation guidance? Download our newest free eGuide, The 6 Principles of High-Performing Nonprofit Digital Experiences.

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