This is a contributed post by Brianna Boles, author of “Technology’s Role in the Nonprofit Sector: Increasing Organizational Effectiveness and Efficiency through Technology Innovations” published in the Columbia Social Work Review.
The struggle is real.
Limited access to resources. High turnover. Burnout. If you work at a nonprofit, this cycle is all too familiar. And if you haven’t seen this tumblr, then you need to check it out. Frustrations within the nonprofit sector are all over the place!
Despite the abundant need for technology to develop efficient and effective operational functioning, many small and medium nonprofits simply don’t have the staff, expertise, or budget to allocate further resources to technology. According to a John Hopkins study, technology spending averages less than 4.2% of nonprofits’ annual budgets.
So why aren’t we – as consultants, funders, stakeholders, community members, nonprofit employees – doing anything about it?
The truth is, some folks are. No, really. And there is a common thread amongst change efforts. These solutions connect to something that nonprofit employees probably use more in their personal lives than they do at work: technology.
I know, it’s a broad term. Technology can mean social media, CRM (customer relationship management) software, telecommunications, Internet, donor management… etc. But I really believe that the smarter use of more technology infused into the nonprofit sector has the power to upend and improve how employees work and, more importantly, scale how services are provided so that ultimately more clients can be reached.
If there’s one thing I could tell both funders and nonprofits it would be this: increasing technology uptake in the nonprofit sector will allow nonprofit organizations to provide more effective services through improved work processes. Knowing this, I wish that funding would start to be redirected toward technology initiatives at nonprofits. I wish that once funding was received, nonprofits would know what to do with their budgets and that all stakeholders would be receptive to the changes stemming from it.
But implanting technology into nonprofits isn’t as simple as signing up for a Facebook account. That’s why CoreTech Foundation is doing something about it, like listening to nonprofits needs and building solutions that make their lives easier, or developing innovative solutions to longstanding problems. CoreTech is bridging the knowledge gap by providing streamlined services to assist with the adoption and implementation of technology.
You can read more about CoreTech’s initiatives here, and learn more about technology’s role in the nonprofit sector in an article I wrote in the Columbia Social Work Review.