In many ways, nonprofit organizations have disadvantages in comparison with for-profit corporations. They often lack operating funds, which makes it challenging to perform the work that their mission requires. By making the best use of technology, nonprofit organizations can actually operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. Technology for nonprofits benefits the nonprofit, the volunteers, the employees and the other stakeholders.
Well-run nonprofit organizations engage in strategic planning to develop long- and short-term goals in much the same way as their for-profit counterparts. The board and executive director are also accountable to their stakeholders. Technology can help improve transparency, which is important for nonprofits because they exist for the purpose of helping communities.
It’s common for nonprofit donations to be inconsistent from one year to the next, which makes it difficult for nonprofits to be sustainable. Technology enhances efficiency and that can have a direct impact on how much work a nonprofit is able to achieve considering the limited resources they usually have. By using technology to work smarter rather than harder, nonprofit leadership teams can plan wisely for current and future needs, which will help them to prioritize their time, budget, workforce and programs.
Technology Improves Efficiency
Manual, paper-based processes are outdated and inefficient. They waste paper, printer ink and other office supplies like pens and paper clips. Manual processes also cost more in human labor. Those are costs that nonprofit organizations can’t afford.
Technology relies heavily on automation, which speeds things up and frees up board members’ and executive directors’ time for more important things like fundraising, compliance, community impact, direct service, building volunteers and other activities that increase the nonprofit’s productivity.
For example, automation is a valuable tool for fundraising and recording volunteer hours.
Nonprofits generally try to reach and serve as many people as they can. Technology makes it possible to expand a nonprofit’s reach in the products and services they provide, thereby increasing their capacity to serve their intended population.
The right technology helps nonprofits significantly by helping them increase their revenue. Many donors prefer to donate electronically, which saves leaders from having to attend meetings to formally request donations.
Donors, members and stakeholders also prefer to communicate electronically because it’s convenient and timely on both ends. Electronic communication provides a means to communicate a nonprofit’s success to its donors, members and other stakeholders. A nonprofit’s website is a high-profile tool for informing and educating followers about the nonprofit’s work.
Another way that nonprofits communicate with their constituents is through email newsletters and e-blasts. Automated emails prefill names and addresses, and the time savings allows nonprofits to send out information at regular intervals, which keeps the people on their mailing lists engaged and connected. Regular contact provides a way to inform stakeholders about the organization’s events. Email lists keep supporters in the loop as to how the organization is utilizing its donations. Supporters will also gain confidence in organizations that strive to be transparent.
Technology helps to decrease costs in several aspects of nonprofits. Automation decreases operational costs and substantially cuts down on postal mailing costs.
Just like for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations must be concerned with risks. Technology can help to mitigate or eliminate risks. Nonprofit organizations need to collect certain types of personal and business information from their members and donors. Nonprofits have a responsibility to protect that information, and technology can help them do that. Cybersecurity measures can help to reduce the risk of hacking. Cloud-based technology helps to protect data, and it decreases the risk of losing important documents and databases. Overall, technology helps to protect a nonprofit’s assets, and that reduces potential legal liability.
Nonprofit Boards of Directors Benefit from Board Management Software
Board management software is another tool that can be of significant help to board directors because it streamlines board activities. A board management software program like BoardEffect answers the need for nonprofits with different governance structures, missions and goals. Board portal technology enables clients to be better communicators and collaborators while fueling efficiency at every turn.
BoardEffect helps board leaders make informed decisions to power better outcomes. Here’s why. Boards operate in a series of demanding, interdependent cycles, in terms of frequency and sustained focus. The functionality and workflows of BoardEffect’s board portal software are designed to support boards as they manage the responsibilities inherent within these complex, mission-critical cycles.
The board portal enhances board communications and collaborations because it has a high level of security built right into the platform. The portal also features granular permissions so that unauthorized users can’t access information they shouldn’t have.
The design of BoardEffect’s system accounts for three cycles – the annual cycle, the meeting cycle and the development cycle.
The annual cycle provides an efficient means for boards to manage their budgets, compliance documents, annual evaluations, board handbooks and the annual audit.
The meeting cycle automates electronic board books and meeting agendas. The portal also automates scheduling, archives, approvals and tasks for increasing board efficiency.
The third cycle is the development cycle. Nonprofit boards usually make time for board director orientation and onboarding. The development cycle also includes board director recruitment planning and processes because most nonprofit board seats have term limits. Nonprofits need to plan for board director turnover and board reporting. Secure collaboration and communication tools ensure that board information remains confidential.
Nonprofit organizations are just as susceptible to cyberattacks and cybercrime as for-profit companies. One of the greatest benefits of a BoardEffect board portal system is that it has a sophisticated and modern security system built directly into the portal.
Nonprofits need to strive to eliminate governance deficits such as the lack of visibility, security and speed, which are central to ensuring success in today’s modern world. Nonprofit leadership teams can successfully address these deficiencies while empowering effective decision-making, enhancing transparency and gaining access to the kinds of insights that drive growth and longevity in today’s digital age. BoardEffect is the modern governance approach to providing nonprofit boards with the right information at the right time to do their best work.