Every day, there are way too many nonprofit professionals staring at their computer screens for hours on end. Are you one of them?
Technology is a necessary piece of infrastructure for any nonprofit. It can be a wonderful time saver. It can also become a big time waster. Many nonprofit folks feel like dealing with technology takes way too much time. They would much rather spend all their time in the field, working with constituents, networking with donors, or planning fundraising events. With the right technology, though, you may not be able step away from the computer for good, but you can optimize your time to increase engagement and/or donations. What can you do to make the most of your screen time?
Let's do a little comparison. How much time do you spend:
- collating data vs. presenting data to funders?
- creating lists vs. connecting with the folks on the list?
- entering information into your database vs. engaging with folks so they give you their information?
- manually copying records between systems vs. personally following up with donors listed in those records?
Do you see where this is going? Your time is valuable, and your technology should support your mission, not detract from it.
One week can make all the difference.
Take just one week and pay attention to where you are spending your time. You may want to have a staff member or two do the same. Write down the tasks you do in your CRM, spreadsheets, and other places where you stare at the computer screen. If you are spending more time in your systems than benefitting from them, you are using technology that wastes your time.
Change your technology, change your results.
Now, take a look at where your ratios are off so you can look for a solution. You may not need to change much to get your technology back to a better balance. It might just be a simple plugin that will help connect two systems together. It might be having your CRM do something you’ve been doing manually. It could mean a complete overhaul too. It really depends on where you’re losing time and if there is better technology to help you save time in the long run. You’ll never know what’s needed until you take a look.
Stop letting ineffective tools get in the way of your work. Once you make this adjustment, you might just find that staring at your computer screen feels less like “dealing” with technology, and more like a productive way to reach your goals.