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Nonprofits Are Getting Smarter About How They Use Technology

How Your Mission-Driven Organization Can Get More Strategic with Technology


Charity and nonprofit boards play a vital role in guiding their organisations toward success. By leveraging strategic technology, these organisations can amplify their impact and more efficiently achieve their goals.

Enhancements in efficiency, communication, and outreach can help drive positive change and further your organisation’s mission.

Strategic Use of Technology Delivers Benefits

The right technology holds the potential for your mission-driven organisation to:

  • More easily meet its goals
  • Make progress toward fulfilling your mission
  • Operate more efficiently
  • Attract new donors
  • Increase giving
  • Expand its reach
  • Increase capacity
  • Measure impact
  • Improve community engagement

One example of strategic technology use in nonprofits can be seen in TechSoup, a global marketplace offering discounted software, hardware, services and training. TechSoup uses technology to support grantmakers, verify organisational eligibility for nonprofit support, manage over 100 donor partners, and facilitate over €15 billion in in-kind technology and funding.

Let’s examine how your own organisation can get more strategic with technology to better align with your mission and make an even bigger impact.

Technology Helps Nonprofits Do More, and Better

The digital era has been a game-changer for mission-driven organisations. Strategically applied technology can boost your nonprofit’s work, allowing it to create a more significant impact.

Here are some specific ways getting more strategic with technology can benefit your organisation:

Efficiency and Productivity

Technology can automate tasks, streamline processes, and facilitate collaboration, cutting down on the labor that was previously necessary for manual tasks. The right solutions enhance efficiency by freeing workers up to complete tasks that require a human touch. For example, a board management solution can cut down on hours of preparation time for board meetings, streamline agenda management, and make administrators and board members even more efficient.

Better efficiency in governance technology leads to increased productivity.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Analytics tools are capable of processing massive amounts of data, which uncovers trends and patterns that can assist boards in oversight and strategic planning.  

By storing reports containing data on these trends and insights, board members can easily access them and collaborate for a more data-driven approach to decision-making.

Enhanced Fundraising Strategies and Donor Engagement

Mission-driven organisations can maximise their fundraising efforts by leveraging automation, personalising donor communications, and drilling into donor preferences and sentiment.

The right programs enable nonprofits to achieve all three of these, while virtual events and interactive experiences help to increase donor engagement.

Targeted Marketing and Outreach

Technology can also help to strategically segment your audiences and tailor content for them.

For example, donors over the age of 50 or 60 may be concerned with estate planning. By segmenting this age group, you could target your messaging to encourage them to plan gift-giving into their wills, or to buy a life insurance policy that names the nonprofit as a beneficiary. As another example, millennials and Gen Z-ers are generally invested in diversity, equity and inclusion. By segmenting this audience, you could create communications that demonstrate your commitment to the issues they care about most.

After segmenting your audiences and tailoring your content specifically for them, you can use email and social media channels to target each audience more effectively.

Online Presence and Social Media

SEO optimisation, websites and social media platforms all help mission-driven organisations increase visibility. Online scheduling tools can help streamline posting while keeping your donors and stakeholders engaged.

Graphics increase the visual appeal to capture wider audiences. Today, your organisation has access to a plethora of tools it can use to quickly generate images and graphics that are aligned with your branding. Dashboard analytics for your website and social media channels enable you to gauge response and engagement.

Collaboration and Remote Work

Board management software such as BoardEffect can become a strategic tool for collaboration, as well as facilitate remote work and participation. As an example, board members can access meeting materials from any device at any time, allowing them to collaborate, share documents and have meaningful discussions.

Online Training and Capacity Building

An online survey tool built into your board management system can be used along with a skills audit to assess where your organisation has gaps. This can inform recruitment of new board members and committee members by making sure you find candidates with those skillsets.

Transparent Financial Management

Accounting software automates financial processes to ensure accuracy and compliance while reducing human errors. Analytics tools offer insight into allocation and spending to inform decisions. The reports stored on board management software will increase financial literacy for board members. Financial information will feed into annual and interim reports to facilitate transparency, which will promote trust and confidence from your stakeholders.


The best platforms have security built in. Advances in antivirus software, encryption tools and firewalls can all help protect mission-driven organisations against cyberattacks. Make sure you are keeping your sensitive board data and documents safe on a secure board management software, along with your crisis response plan.

Impact Measurement and Reporting

Analytics tools can help track key performance indicators (KPIs) that enable boards to evaluate program outcomes and effectiveness. With KPIs in a central location on your board management system, your board can access reports as it monitors programs and makes decisions at board meetings.

Compliance and Reporting

Software programs can automate tasks related to regulatory matters to ensure continual compliance. Automated reporting tools consolidate data and organise it into informative reports quickly. These reports can then be stored on your board management software for review by board members.

Successful volunteer boards look for ways to work more efficiently and save costs, and the right technology can make that happen.

How to Tap into the Power of Nonprofit Technology

Now that your organisation has lots of ideas on strategic areas where technology can support, here are five tips for specific steps your board can take to tap the power of technology:

1. Conduct a Technology Assessment

Kanopi Studios outlines the following simple steps for conducting a technology assessment:

  • Make a list of the current technologies your organisation uses. Create an inventory of the tech programs you’re using. Include the name and manufacturer of each program and other important details.
  • Determine your future needs. Review the short- and long-term goals stated in your strategic plan. Decide if you will need to add or change any technology programs to meet your goals.
  • Consider your tech budget. Find out how much your organisation invests in technology annually, how much you need to spend, and whether you’re willing to invest more.

2. Invest in Training and Capacity Building

Use technology to support training and capacity building. The National Council of Nonprofits says, “Capacity building enables nonprofit organisations and their leaders to develop competencies and skills that can make them more effective and sustainable, thus increasing the potential for charitable nonprofits to enrich lives and solve society’s most intractable problems.”

Survey tools can be used to assess board member skills and knowledge. This will help you identify areas where board members need training and upskilling. The system can also alert board members to follow up on their training sessions.

As for capacity building, your board can use your board management system to work collaboratively on capacity-building issues such as volunteer recruitment, communication strategies, succession planning and more.

3. Embrace Secure Cloud-Based Solutions

One of the benefits of cloud-based solutions is that your board can access them from a variety of devices (computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc.). Board management software such as BoardEffect is designed to facilitate collaboration and streamline board meetings. Your board members will also find that it’s secure and easy to use.

4. Prioritise Data Security and Privacy

Because nonprofits often handle sensitive and confidential data, it’s critical to ensure that all technology your organisation uses contains strong data protection measures such as encryption and data backups. Restrict data access to only those who need the information to do their jobs. Board management software that offers granular permissions makes this an easy task.

5. Align Technology with Mission Goals

Seek out technology partners who acknowledge and understand your organisation’s goals. Be sure they are on the same page with your board as to how technology can best support your strategic goals and mission.

Leveraging Boardroom Technology for Oversight on Your Organisation’s Tech Strategy

An investment in a board management solution is a good first step in taking a more strategic approach to technology.

Here are some of the things BoardEffect will do for your board as you work together on overseeing your organisation’s technology strategy:

  • Enhanced communication and collaboration
  • Real-time access to information
  • Improved governance and oversight
  • Secure data management
  • Strategic planning and decision support
  • Enhanced board accountability around technology-related decisions
  • Feedback and evaluation mechanisms

See how BoardEffect, a Diligent Brand, can help support you as you develop your technology strategy to help drive success for your organisation. Request a demo today.

Jill Holtz

Jill is a Content Strategy Manager at Diligent. Her strategy background and content expertise working across a variety of sectors, including education, non-profit and with local government partners, allows her to provide unique insights for organizations looking to achieve modern governance.

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