Nonprofit organizations see technology as being critical to their success, but many lack a long-term strategy for how to use it effectively, a report from Salesforce.org finds.
Based on a survey of more than seven hundred nonprofit leaders in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, the second edition of the Nonprofit Trends Report (50 pages, PDF) found that 85 percent of respondents believed that technology was critical to the success of their organizations, but only 23 percent of respondents' organizations had a long-term strategy and vision for how it should be used. Respondents also reported facing challenges in collecting and reporting performance and outcomes data and in accommodating supporters' desire to participate in their work (i.e., creating "constituent-centric experiences"). Other challenges cited by respondents include budgetary constraints (51 percent), lack of organizational flexibility (45 percent), and the inability to demonstrate a return on investment (40 percent).
The survey found that while nonprofits are using technology, rates of adoption and success vary. For example, 79 percent of nonprofits have a customer relationship management system in place, but only 39 percent use CRM to drive social platform engagement and only 38 percent use it in combination with marketing automation or community platforms. And while 86 percent of development professionals believe technology can replace many manual tasks that take them away from fundraising activities, 71 percent of respondents said the technology they use at home enables them be more productive than does the technology they use at work.
"We hope this year's Nonprofit Trends Report helps organizations better leverage technology to support their mission today, and anticipate the needs of tomorrow," said David Ragones, Salesforce nonprofit cloud senior vice president and general manager, in the report. "We believe technology for nonprofits should be affordable, break down silos, enable global scale, provide flexibility in building custom solutions, and make it possible for organizations to capture, share, transfer, and access data when needed."