Because of the rise in remote work and increased demand for nonprofit programs and services, the pandemic has forced nonprofits to adapt to all kinds of technology. With more pressure than ever to be flexible and serve more people, profits have no choice but to find ways to do more with less — and tech plays a critical role in making that happen.
By leveraging new tools and platforms, nonprofits can scale fast while maintaining or improving their stakeholder connections. And in doing so, they can gain a new level of resiliency that will serve them well into the future.
But adopting new tech isn’t all profit and efficiency. There are many challenges that businesses face when it comes to technology changes. In this post, we lay them out. So we can help you overcome them!
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Nonprofit challenges that lead to tech changes
Technology adoption is driven by a need — a problem that needs to be solved. For nonprofits, those problems are numerous. According to Sage, some of the biggest internal frustrations that nonprofits are facing today include:
Manual, time-consuming reporting
A lack of automation and organizational efficiency
Inefficiencies and delays as a result of using many disparate systems
A lack of real-time visibility into key metrics
But that’s not all. On the external side, nonprofits are also grappling with economic uncertainty, staffing shortages, employee turnover, and burnout. They’re facing stiff competition for funding, decreasing funding along with increased expenses, and an increase in demand for services. To add to the mix, nonprofit staff in operations and HR are saying that managing remote employees and volunteers — a relatively new issue — is now their top issue.
Adopting new technology is worth overcoming the challenge
To help them resolve some of the issues we described above, nonprofit organizations are turning to tech. More specifically, nonprofits are using tech to help them:
Good tech empowers teams
A lot of businesses today are facing staffing issues including employee turnover, burnout, and increased costs as a result of employee requests for more perks and flexibility — things that can impact a company’s bottom line. So many nonprofits are using tech as a tool to keep people around.
By automating manual, mundane, and time-consuming tasks, nonprofits can better nurture their employee relationships. Automation reduces manual work, allowing employees to focus on what matters most to them. This leads to happier, more engaged, and more productive employees!
Tech updates business and improves morale
For the same reasons we listed above, engaging and retaining employees is more important — but harder — than ever. Digitally mature nonprofits recognize that technology empowers people. It is a way of creating efficiency, productivity, and cost savings.
By embracing tech change, organizations can offer perks like remote and flexible work as a response to staffing challenges. And the impact of this type of digital transformation on employee morale can’t be understated. Through automation, nonprofits can engage and retain their employees, fundraise together, focus on people instead of tasks, and reap the benefits of cost savings to drive their missions forward!
Tech streamlines communications and data management
Nonprofits are also investing in tech to streamline internal communications — reducing emails and unnecessary meetings — as well as their data integration and reporting systems.
Timely, insightful reporting is critical to making mission-critical decisions. If a nonprofit has to gather data and report manually, whether it needs to mitigate risks or take advantage of opportunities, it won’t be able to react in real time.
Tech strengthens cybersecurity and privacy
Due to digital acceleration data breaches and cyber attacks are very real threats! And employees are often seen as the weakest link in security. Human error is much more likely than tech error. That’s why many nonprofits are using tech upgrades to help them prioritize cybersecurity and privacy.
The top 5 challenges organizations face when changing technology
Most nonprofits we encounter could benefit from changing up their technology in major ways. But unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as simply deciding to make a tech change. There are the top 5 most common tech change challenges we see nonprofits bumping up against:
#1 Staff & volunteer resistance
Even though, eventually, new tech tends to make life easier, there is definitely a learning curve. And not everyone is or will be comfortable with that. Many people shut down when they hear the words “tech” or “data”. Some are just resistant to any change to their work life. So getting buy-in from your team and the organization can be challenging.
#2 Complexity and overwhelm
A lot of the software options out there are very powerful and capable of doing a lot for your organization. But, with great power comes great complexity. There’s a lot of learning and figuring out that needs to be done before any new tech works smoothly. And that can be frustrating even to someone who’s fully bought into the idea!
#3 Data migration
Migrating your existing data from your current system to a new one is always a very complex and time-consuming process. Typically, organizations end up needing to clean up and transform their data just so it can be imported into their new tech platform. And that process is usually challenging, error-prone, and lengthy.
Depending on the types and levels of integrations you need, integrating your new technology with the other platforms and apps you use can be really challenging. You may need to invest in custom integrations or use paid integration platforms in order to connect everything.
#5 Set up (customization and configuration)
A lot of out-of-the-box apps and programs out there are easy to configure. They provide you with “building blocks” you can use to create the setup your organization needs. But even though these building blocks are relatively easy to use, you do need to know what you’re doing. Or, at least, what your end goal is when it comes to using this new tech.
How to overcome the challenges of changing technology in business
It’s so important to meet people where they’re at. Here are a few tips to help you do that:
#1 Engage your stakeholders
As much as you can, involve your staff, volunteers, and maybe even your customers in the decision to make a technology change. Making this decision together can help you make sure everyone feels heard and seen. And simply being involved in the discussion can make everyone feel more open to using the new technology you decide on.
#2 Build a use case
It’s not easy to get people on board. So instead of just unveiling a new tech decision that’s already been made, take the time to discuss what work will look like in the future, once the new tech has been set up and your team knows how to use it.
#3 Train and support your team
Providing training sessions and support helps your team get up to speed. You could offer in-person training, online resources, and ongoing admin support from a designated contact can help people feel like they haven’t simply been thrown into the deep end!
#4 Take baby steps
You might want to go all-in, setting up all the most complex features of your new tech at once. But that’s often really intimidating for people and can lead to your team pulling the plug on the whole thing when everyone’s confused and complaining. Instead, start small, rolling out one or two new features at a time.
#5 Hire an expert
A lot of nonprofits benefit from hiring external consultants or developers in order to help them take full advantage of their new tech — or smooth out the bumps that come with changing technology. If your team lacks the internal expertise to customize your new tech, consider reaching out for guidance and help!
We help nonprofits relieve their tech change headaches
Your nonprofit has a lot of work to do. But tech can help you get there!
If a technology change feels messy, confusing, or overwhelming — or if your current tech just isn’t working for you anymore—book a software consultation call. It’s free and only takes 30 minutes. If you like us, we’ll move forward. If you don’t, we won’t. No obligation. No commitment. No hard feelings!