The number of global nongovernmental organizations creating mobile-friendly websites is growing, but fewer than half of NGOs use encryption technology to protect data and communications, a report from Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit operator of the .org domain, and Nonprofit Tech for Good finds.
Based on a survey of 5,352 NGOs around the world, the 2018 Global NGO Technology Report (27 pages, PDF) found that in 2017, 92 percent of respondents had a website, 87 percent of which were mobile-compatible — up from 78 percent in 2016 — and that 44 percent used the content management system WordPress. Email continued to dominate as the preferred form of communication for donors, with 63 percent of respondents regularly sending email updates, 18 percent using messaging apps — including WhatsApp (64 percent), Facebook Messenger (58 percent), and Snapchat (4 percent) — and 15 percent regularly sending text messages. In addition, 71 percent of respondents agreed that social media was an effective online fundraising tool, with 25 percent of donors saying that social media was the communication tool that most inspired them to give.
The survey also found that only 41 percent of respondents used encryption technology to protect data and communications — and of those, 32 percent said they did so to protect organizational information, 29 percent to protect donor information, 23 percent to protect email privacy, and 13 percent to protect mobile privacy. According to the report, the outdated process of managing donor contact information and transactions through Excel and legacy customer relationship manager (CRM) software is keeping many NGOs from being more data-driven and efficient.
"The findings from the 2018 report confirm that NGOs worldwide are rapidly expanding their use of technology, and with increased reliance on technology comes increased data management and security needs," said Nonprofit Tech for Good founder Heather Mansfield. "For the first time, this year's report provides benchmarks for managing and securing organizational and donor data. NGOs lag behind the private sector in this area, and by providing benchmarks we hope to inspire NGOs to modernize their data management and security practices."