The demand on charities and non-profits to grow funds can be challenging. While engaging with prospective donors, there’s a need to apply for grants, justify new projects, keep track of current finances and stay focused on the objectives for your end-user. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be so challenging. With SpiderGroup’s years of experience working with non-profit organisations, we’ve come to understand the areas where technology fits, helping to streamline and increase efficiency. Here are just 9 of the ways your non-profit can see a benefit from a digital strategy.
1. Automate financial processes to provide intelligence and keep donors up to date
Finance teams in non-profit organisations focus and spend a lot of time on transactions, manually entering and maintaining financial data. They need to accurately show donors how their funds are being used through accurate financial reporting. But, financial reporting is often difficult and cumbersome, adding to the finance team’s workload. All of these repetitive and manual tasks leave very little time for providing intelligence and strategic advice to the organisation.
Machine learning technology can help non-profits to automate financial transactions and processes. Finance teams will no longer have to enter or collect data manually, intelligent software will do most of the work, and accountants will only have to supervise and manage exceptions. This type of technology will free up finance departments to focus on more value adding and performance driven activities like intelligence and planning. And because finance systems are kept up to date 24/7, organisations will be able to provide real-time updates on grant expenditure to their donors or auditors by simply asking digital assistants.
2. Streamline and automate grant management
Grant management is essential to the success of non-profit organisations. An automated system can not only help to streamline the process but also to maximise funding potential, better engage with donors and earn their confidence.
It all starts with grant applications. Often these can be time-consuming, manual and redundant. With an automated infrastructure in place, grant receivers will be able to submit pre-defined proposals with minimum human input. This is due to self-learning capabilities that suggest most of the data. Organisations that apply for the same grants on a yearly basis, will be able to do this automatically, no longer having to spend time on filling in the same application every year, and instead focusing on finding additional funding streams, and achieving further growth.
Once the proposals are approved, and the organisation starts executing on a program, bots or intelligent agents can automatically take care of reporting back to donors. With artificial intelligence and digital assistants, grant information can be gathered by simply asking the system in human natural language. Self-operating business technology can help non-profits to show donors that their funds are being spent appropriately, without taking time and effort away from people.
3. Allow employees and volunteers to focus on their mission
Technology should help and support employees and volunteers, but often it takes them away from concentrating on their mission. Manual data entry of time and expenses can be very time-consuming and frustrating, especially when working in connectivity-challenged locations.
With automated solutions in place, timesheets and expenses are intelligently suggested and submitted automatically. Digital assistants only need to request the user’s approval with a quick conversation, bringing manual input to a minimum. Digital assistants can also learn more as more interactions happen, timesheet information can be based on existing schedules, completed tasks from previous weeks, specific project plans or even location. All of this reduces the users’ time spent on submitting tasks and gives them more on executing them, freeing mission workers to focus on helping those that need it most.
4. Understand which projects to execute
Non-profit organisations need to choose and prioritise which projects to execute but they often lack the information needed to make informed decisions. They also need to provide board members and donors with information on the progress of the project, and how funds will be used in the future.
Predictive analytics and process automation can help non-profit organisations to identify similar, historical projects which can be used as input for an initial assessment and recommendation about whether to move forward with the project. These historical projects can also be used to automate project creation with templates from previous projects. Self-operating technology can also eliminate the need for manual data gathering, allowing organisations to provide a clear, real-time visual experience for board members and donors.
Automated technology will enable non-profits not only to streamline administrative tasks or get more value out of their donations, but it will also help improve decision making, increase employee engagement, and ultimately enable organisations to focus on what really matters – the impact of their mission.
5. Engage with donors
Technology is changing the definition of donor engagement for community foundations. People are becoming increasingly harder to communicate with, yet easier to reach at the same time. People do want updates from your organisation, they want to attend your events, and they want to donate, but they want to do it their way.
The average busy person receives 121 emails per day, and checks their phone close to 150 times per day. If you send someone an email every week who already receives more than the volume he or she can handle, you might be setting yourself up for failure.
However, if you tweet at someone who follows your organisation and is active on social media, you may be more likely to get a response. A technology platform, specifically a CRM, can help you keep track of donor communication preferences, manage the frequency of correspondence, and aggregate information.
6. Leverage actionable data
An organisation is only as smart as its data, and an engagement and development platform could help you harness the power of real-time data so that you can turn information into pounds. It would be a missed opportunity to ask someone who has donated £100 in the past to only give £20. However, it would also be a mistake to ask someone who has donated £20 to give £100.
CRM allows you to track who gave what and when. With an effective tool, you can track all sorts of things about a donor or prospective donors, such as their contribution history, engagement history, social media links, and more. Having this data at your disposal will not only ensure that calls and emails are efficient, but that your valuable time results in more funding.
7. CRM and ERP
A CRM provides a layout of who a person is, who they’re related to, issues they care about, like, dislikes and more. This information is useful, especially when interacting with high dollar donors. When people feel that you took the time to get to know them, they are more likely to feel appreciated, and more likely to want to support your organisation.
8. Utilise social media
78% of all online adults used social networking sites in 2016. According to estimates, the number of worldwide social media users reached 1.96 billion and is expected to grow to some 2.5 billion by 2018. With 74% of the world’s population aged 18+ on social media, the fundraising power is immense. Facebook, for example, raised $10 million in just 2 days for Nepal earthquake relief efforts.
However, if you aren’t connecting with your organisation’s network on social media and doing it in a purposeful, strategic way, social media is more a branding tool than a fundraising tool.
9. Optimisation across multiple platforms
There’s a good chance that you’re probably reading this on your smartphone. Over 63% of adult mobile phone owners use their phones to go online. This means that your website, donation pages, and email templates need to be mobile responsive, or people won’t be able to view them properly on their phones, discouraging them from donating, or even engaging with your organisation at all.
With a tailored digital strategy from SpiderGroup, your non-profit can realise the true potential of technology and use it to engage with donors, streamline cumbersome processes and, ultimately, benefit your end-user. To find out how SpiderGroup can help you achieve these and more, call us on 0117 933 0570 or fill in our contact form.