Technology and its role in Not-For-Profits – Part 1
By Krishan Nayan
As an introduction to the first in a series of blog posts on “Technology and its role in Not-for-Profits”, I am going to stress on the basics of digital technology and benefits associated with it, especially with respect to its utility in the development sector.
Technology is scaling new heights every passing day and it has become imperative to incorporate technology in business. Although, the role of technology is extremely crucial in for profit organisations , it has a significant role to play in NFPs (not-for-profits) too. In the Not-for-Profit sector technology is being used largely for individual contributions, easy reporting and the ability to manage and track data. Digital technology effectively places organisations in a better position to respond in a challenging environment. It can facilitate greater and significant impact for NFPs. Technology enables and empowers the organisation in having better grasp and control over their funding sources and helps in optimising productivity. CAF India is one of the leading not-for-profit organisations which uses online platform to engage with corporates and individual donors.
Online donations have gradually paved their way into the giving scenario and have become an intrinsic part of the life-changing work done by NGOs. The digital sphere now offers an additional platform to the NGO sector for not only increasing engagement with potential donors but also securing funds strategically. Last year, CAF India released a report on Online Giving in India. The report represents a critical first step to collect information on digital trends/practices in the social sector.
Digital technology is the driver that has the capacity to deliver a seamless experience potential funders, donors, volunteers and supporters.
Tremendous opportunities exist for organisations to use technology to deliver on their missions in a very effective and scalable manner. Though digital domain is stressed vociferously by the organisations, they face three crucial hurdles, namely- funding, knowledge and capability.
With the advent of social media and its reach and popularity, it has become the channel of choice for the existing and emerging generation. Social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter enables NFPs access to network with potential donors, patrons etc. It is an indispensable platform for branding as well as fundraising. We at CAF India have used digital technology to bring about value to donors. In collaboration with NDTV and Dettol, we manage volunteering hours that are pledged by individuas across the country for the Banega Swachh India campaign. We have also supported Coca Cola and NDTV in running campaigns like- Support My School, in which online fundraising plays a significant role. We also engage in raising funds online during disaters for the affected communities.
“Engagement” is the key to keep the donors (both existing and potential) informed and participative. Identifying and analizing behaviour and trends gives deep insights into the donor expectations and helps the organisation turn information into money. People are increasingly using their mobile devices to access and surf internet for information and for social networking. This means that your website, donation pages, and email templates need to be mobile responsive, or people may not be able to view them properly on their phones, discouraging them from making a donation, or even engaging with the organisation at all. Technology also plays a crucial role in communication and collaboration easy, keeps projects on track, and helps remote workers stay connected to the office.
Technology needs to be utilised to its fullest by the NFPs in order to be accepted as a responsive organisation, as it revolves around the most crucial factor in building ‘Engagement’ which ultimately is trust.
Keep watching this space for more updates on Technology and its role in Not-For-Profits.