The current economic conditions and inflation don’t just impact individuals and businesses, but nonprofits, too. In addition to grappling with rising expenses, the top challenges nonprofits face in 2024 are a lack of adequate resources, limited staff capacity, and issues with recruiting and retaining staff. 

During difficult times like these, examining your operations and past data is crucial to identify ways to optimize resource allocation. This will result in the most favorable outcomes while maximizing your available funding and staff capacity.

Your tech stack can greatly improve operational efficiency by consolidating data, streamlining administrative tasks, and more. Let’s explore how the right software will improve your data quality and insights.

1. Improved data quality and security.

A data-driven approach can improve almost every aspect of your operations, from donor cultivation to volunteer management. However, the insights you glean from your database are only as accurate as the data itself. This is why it’s so important to maintain your data’s hygiene by ensuring your files are updated, accurate, and free of duplicates and inconsistencies.

Your software can make it easier to follow data hygiene best practices by:

  • Consolidating data on one unified platform. Compiling data from multiple sources can be time-consuming and risks more human error. Choose a constituent relationship management (CRM) that can easily integrate with all of your other technology to eliminate these data silos. For example, Fíonta highlights that Nonprofit Cloud integrates seamlessly with other Salesforce products, meaning that data will automatically flow from the app or Industry Cloud you use into your CRM.
  • Offering data validation and cleansing tools. Human error is bound to happen if your nonprofit has to load data into your CRM by hand. Invest in a data cleansing tool that can flag these small mistakes early on to avoid larger mistakes in the future.
  • Enhancing security. CRM systems and other fundraising software tend to be more secure than using a spreadsheet or document to track data. However, some security features should be prioritized. Choose technology with stringent security measures like two-factor authentication, data encryption, and customizable access permissions to control who can view and edit data.

When your data is clean and consolidated, your nonprofit will gain a 360-degree view of its donors, programs, marketing efforts, and more. This accurate single source of truth can then be pared down with segments and filters to help you identify more granular trends and opportunities.

2. Resource-saving automation.

Manual workflows, such as data entry or managing paper documents, can be a significant time sink for your staff. Rather than having your staff suffer slowdowns because of these tasks, hand them off to your software with automation. 

According to 360MatchPro’s guide to automation for nonprofits, this process allows your technology to “independently manage tasks on the nonprofit’s behalf, saving time, money, and staff resources.” Some of the tasks software can assist with through automatic are:

  • Sending donation receipts. Donation receipts, which should include donation details, tax information, and short thank-you messages, are a necessary part of the fundraising process. Set up an automated email triggered immediately after a supporter donates and include data fields that populate with their information. This is a very important first touch with donors—the more personalized these receipts are, the better.
  • Launching your welcome email series. Make new supporters feel welcome with a prompt welcome series. This series may be triggered by an action like donating, joining your email list, or applying for a volunteer role. Schedule email delivery over a set period of time to gradually educate the new supporter about your cause.
  • Sharing thank-you messages. Create a library of tailored thank-you messages for various segments (e.g., major donors, monthly donors, volunteers, etc.). Then, configure these messages to deploy once a supporter completes an action like donating or finishing a volunteer shift. 
  • Prospecting for major donors. Prospect research tools can help you identify major donor prospects using data like wealth indicators and giving history. Using this information, determine your ideal major donor, and create automated workflows that help your team take advantage of opportunities. For example, flag donors who give $1,000 or more as prospects to remind your staff to begin the cultivation process.

While it’s clear that this strategy can make your nonprofit more efficient, you may have some concerns about automation. It’s true that automation has pitfalls you’ll need to avoid, such as poorly formatted messages or leaning on automation as a replacement for sound strategy. 

However, 79% of nonprofits already use and trust some form of automation technology. Focusing on supporting your existing strategies and crafting authentic communications will ensure that automation is helping, rather than harming, your nonprofit.

3. Enhanced, personalized user experiences.

As the use of automation and AI becomes more widespread, personalized experiences have become the standard. Additionally, these experiences can show your donors that you value their individual support and care enough to tailor their experiences to their interests and preferences.

Look for technology that can help you develop personalized experiences via your:

  • Communications: Use your CRM in tandem with marketing platforms to segment supporters based on their interests, preferences, demographic details, engagement level, and more. Share targeted messages tailored to the segment, such as inviting donors to an event in their local area.
  • Website: Add custom elements to your website that align with your donors’ preferences. For example, a tool like Salesforce Experience Cloud makes creating webpages, an account portal for your membership program, and community self-service forums easy.
  • Recognition and appreciation efforts: Using the information stored in your CRM, reference details like the donor’s preferred name, last donation, history of support, and individual impact on your organization to thank them.

Artificial intelligence can take these personalized experiences to the next level without your staff’s significant investment of time. For example, some organizations embed AI chatbots into their websites to direct visitors to the pages and resources they seek.

4. Seamless communication and collaboration.

Integrated, robust technology makes it possible to do more with fewer tools. Additionally, sharing resources, communications, and workflows between separate teams and departments is very simple when your staff works from the same unified platform. 

This increased collaboration promotes innovation, limits delays, and eliminates the need for redundant or unproductive communication between teams (e.g., requesting access to resources).

For example, this can be very useful during the move management process, which can involve multiple stakeholders. For consistency and timeliness, reminders to follow up with donors can be automated and sent to the appropriate staff member. Additionally, the centralized information hub provides full context on your nonprofit’s relationship with the prospect or donor to any staff member interacting with them. 

Consider working with a technology consultant to optimize your software for your nonprofit’s needs and facilitate seamless collaboration. These experts can help you configure your technology to fit your unique needs, ensuring you maximize your investment.

Connect with donors on a deeper level using high-quality data and offering unique experiences, all while saving time and money with automation. Your nonprofit’s work is critically important, and the right software will help you optimize your operations so you can return to mission-related activities.