As I was looking into the role of technology within the nonprofit sector, I found this article by Yale Insights which suggested that only 11% of non-profit leaders consider their organization’s approach to technology highly effective. This result surprised me, but you will find out why at the end of the article.
The most striking thing to me was the answer of a leader of a non-profit organization. Yale Insights journalists interviewed him for the article. He answered the question, “Why technology should be a focus area for non-profit organizations”: “We know that staff and leaders of nonprofits want to adopt technology. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, very few organizations integrate technology into their strategy. They also know that this increasing performance gap is hindering their organization’s mission and potential fundraising. Why is it that leaders are still reluctant to integrate technology into their organization strategy? It turns out that one must dig deeply to understand the state and barriers to tech adoption in the non-profit sector.
The State of Technology Adoption in Nonprofit Sector
Technology can be a huge benefit to the nonprofit sector, it is obvious. The facts from Yale Insights, however, show that the sector is slowing down in tech adoption. If technology is not on their agenda, then what should be the priorities for nonprofits in the coming years? Let’s look at some additional figures. According to the Nonprofit Trends Report, leaders of nonprofits are more focused on increasing visibility and service (42%) and reducing program execution costs (37%), as well as expanding services within existing programs (36%).
I don’t mean to say that all the top goals are not important. The point is that technology, the tool that can assist in achieving these goals, is not widely recognized as an integral part of organizational strategy.
Tim Savage, a non-profit writer at the review site Best Writers Online agrees.
He shares, “This is a surprising finding considering that many nonprofits are severely restricted in their capabilities because they lack the utilization of digital platforms or tools.”
Nonprofit Trends Report found, in fact, that organizations in this sector are, I quote,
These findings were not the only ones I came across. Many organizations still miss out on major advancement opportunities even after adopting a digital platform. A report called Cloud Technology for nonprofits showed that even though they had successfully implemented cloud technology, many organizations could not expand their use beyond file storage and email.
Barriers to Be Overcome
We’ve covered some of the obstacles to technology adoption that nonprofit leaders have raised, but we must look deeper to understand the reasons they are unable to use digital tools to advance their organizations. Below is a list that explains why digital platforms and tools are slowly adopted in the industry. We will be focusing on cloud solutions.
Most of these problems can easily be solved by increasing funding. However, some need education. Some decision-makers might not be aware of the potential benefits of digital tools and platforms for achieving their goals. This is why it’s important to educate them. This task can be completed successfully by performing a detailed cost analysis and reading case studies. You will also need to get information about specific digital platforms that offer tangible benefits for nonprofits. Is a great blog article that dispels four myths about cloud security.