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Why Digital Transformation Is Important for Nonprofits

Digital transformation in nonprofits is more important than it has ever been. Most often we talk about how important a transformation strategy is for small and mid-scale companies across different industries to respond to current market needs. But the imperatives to embrace new technologies into nonprofits have special social impacts- whether it is to fight hunger or to inspire a positive change through running. In order for nonprofits to meet their mission statement, we must look at the areas they can improve and the technological innovations they can use to succeed.

In this blog post, we will look at the role digital transformation plays for nonprofits and how these organizations can maximize their impact. 

What does Digital Transformation Mean for Nonprofits?

Digital transformation in non-profits has become an inevitable part to deal with persistent challenges of operations and nimbly adapt to the changes that create significant values organization-wide. In fact, a BDO survey found 46% of nonprofits stated that they faced difficulties in responding to the challenges presented by COVID-19. The major reason they couldn’t keep up with the changes is the lack of awareness in adopting advanced tools & technologies.

The World Economic Forum estimates that organizations undergoing digital transformation will make over $100 trillion in newly formed business values, opportunities, and societal impact by 2025. 

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Digital Transformation is an overarching long-term commitment to conduct high quality research, audit, product roadmap programs, improve business operations, and deliver better services by integrating all functions of a non-profit into a cohesive, digital ecosystem.

As nonprofit organizations are increasingly driven to maximize their impact, the primary focus to adopt technology integration is to have better business functions that allow organizations to cut down overhead costs and have profitable business growth.

Benefits Explained

Enabling the nonprofit sector with technological innovation can inspire positive change and foster social impact. Digital transformation allows organizations to leverage data-driven analytics to find out how they are performing, where they should focus, and the business fronts that would benefit from efficient operations. The process of integrating technology also enables employees to put emphasis on high-value tasks by automating tasks that are currently manual.

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Let’s delve into the important benefits that transformation brings to nonprofits.

Stretching Resources Further

With the right transformation strategy and tools in place, nonprofits can stretch resources further to streamline their business operations. 

Nonprofits are constantly struggling with budgets and are always stretched to do more with less. They spent several months or years rebuilding the fundraising process following COVID-19 in 2020. The key to achieving success is to integrate back-end systems that make decision-making easier and help organizations find opportunities to achieve operational efficiency.

One great example is Smile Train, a nonprofit that strives to provide free cleft surgery to underprivileged children across the world, which needed a more integrated environment for their donor management tools. Together with Icreon, the organization set goals for migrating CMS and CRM platforms into a single instance, building an integrated customized platform, and improving UI/UX for effective donation processes. The engineering team worked on Drupal platform for customizing the CMS components and Salesforce for CRM- and integrated these two systems as a new ‘donor management system’. The newly built website on Drupal offers a rich experience for donors and the Salesforce CRM enables the organization to align nonprofit products to the donation processes.  

With the new system, the organization has brought together all the information in one place, which helps free up the staff time to focus on important tasks. The result is a modernized fundraising website that ensures a personalized experience for the donors and beneficiaries who need it most. 

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Expanding Nonprofit Services

With digital transformation, nonprofits can improve productivity and reach more constituents. Their mission can bring about a change in society, which is why it is crucial to continuously look forward to serving more people and communities in need. But the traditional redundant processes and paper-based manual work still confine nonprofits to take a leap ahead.  

One good example is the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a nonprofit organization that has a commitment to promote discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity. AGU wanted to transform its existing portal into a digital platform to provide hyper-personalized user experience to its members. Together with Icreon, AGU embarked on a digital transformation journey using Sitecore as an enterprise platform development tool. The system consolidates 67,000 pages of content into one, brings dynamic flexibility for limitless publishing, helps improve operations workflow, and reinforces membership experience at scale.

Increasing the Impact of Nonprofit Programs

Nonprofits can increase the impact of their social objectives by delivering innovative user experiences across the platforms. By leveraging advanced digital tools and technologies, organizations can create more engagement opportunities and increase the influence of their social cause. Today, digital expectations have raised the bar for nonprofits to embrace rapid innovation. With the help of platforms like social media, mobile apps, smart devices, ecommerce, nonprofits can communicate seamlessly and deliver great experiences to donors, employees, and beneficiaries.

One astounding way to keep up with the changes could be designing an online portal to allow users to access the information they need. Such portals act like a hub for administrative tasks, like recording and maintaining users’ information, which further increases the conversion rate for recurring donations. This process ensures that beneficiaries take advantage of social services accessible through online platforms. And ensure that they get positive experiences and make the most out of the social programs.

Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization committed to ending hunger, was struggling to obtain information from scattered 10,000 plus excel files having multiple tabs. Users wanted to get the information with easy navigation through many countries, drill down district level, and find out SAM coverage and provide support to the needy people. As the data was stored in Excel, it had become difficult to fetch the meaningful representations country-wise. Icreon has helped the organization in consolidating current datasets into a NoSQL solution. The team worked on a web-based application where users can query the datasets and get countries marked in variant gradients- representing the occurrence of SAM vs what policies the countries have adopted to end hunger.

The upgraded website is well-integrated with indexed data and provides great donors and beneficiaries experience. Porting the data to NoSQL database improves operational efficiency and brings transparency in communication across the users.

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How to Get Started on Transformation Digitally?

Digitalization is rising and it is going to stay here to redefine how nonprofits work and operate. It doesn’t happen overnight; it is an extensive process that takes time and perseverance. Before setting out on the journey, organizations must undergo a digital audit to know how the existing operations are running. What tools and systems are being used? How are they connected? Post that, organizations need to map these to their biggest challenges like funding cuts, expenses, impact concerns. This is how organizations get to know which area needs immediate attention to transform digitally.

Although the process seems daunting but coming up with a plan can really help nonprofits to achieve success. A digital strategy roadmap is needed to implement and optimize technical systems to function in a way that meets the modern needs of the organization. A good technology and strategy partner understands nonprofits’ needs and helps implement the right technology to make the digital transition smooth.          
At Icreon, we promise digital transformation by envisioning the future for nonprofits and helping them revolutionize their operations to bring positive impacts in people’s lives. Connect with us today

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