Five Tips to Help Your Non-profit Become More Tech Savvy

By the .ORG Marketing Team

Implementing new technology can seem challenging—especially for non-profits—but becoming more tech-savvy can benefit your organization in many ways from saving your team time, increasing donor engagement, and spreading your organization’s mission to people around the world.

Even without a dedicated IT person on staff, your team can make small changes that don’t require a large investment or significant expertise. Here are five tips to help you easily leverage technology to increase your organization’s visibility and more easily achieve its goals.

1. Use Technology to Extend the Reach of Events

Any non-profit hosting live, in-person events should explore ways to extend their events to a larger virtual audience. This can be easily achieved by live streaming a panel or conference session, or by using a webinar service to host an event entirely online. A webinar service can also record live events so those who are unable to join in real time can watch or review the material later.

For example, Free Conference Call is a platform that provides free webinar services and allows you to record, download, and share a webinar. If your team has a sufficient budget for hosting services, consider using Zoom. Zoom has a free offering, but if you are looking to reach global audiences without a usage limit, this service has affordable plans designed for small and large teams.

For streaming, Facebook and YouTube currently offer free live streaming services if you have an account on those platforms. For those who want more control over their content (which social services typically do not provide), Live is another service not tied to a social media account where you can live stream from different devices for a monthly fee.

2. Enable Secure Online Giving

Online giving is now a standard way for donors to support a cause or charity. Being able to receive donations digitally also makes it more convenient for donors to quickly support your non-profit in times of national disasters, emergencies, and other unplanned needs. We recommend your non-profit take steps to ensure your website is optimized for digital giving—including that your donation page is easy to find by incorporating donation links on your primary top-level navigation bar and featuring persuasive language that lets potential donors know why they should contribute to your cause. You’ll also want to make sure that your donation page is responsive and works flawlessly on mobile devices—according to research provided by Double the Donation, online giving grew 12.1% over the past year – a trend that is certain to continue into 2020.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure to secure any donor information that is collected on your website. Our blog post, NGOs and Data Security: Best Practices for Data Breach Prevention, provides additional information on protecting donor data.

Once your non-profit’s site is secure for online giving, consider listing your organization with an online donation platform such as GlobalGiving. Online donation platforms will help expand your non-profit’s current donor pool and increase visibility for your organization.

3. Embrace Visual Storytelling

You can embrace visual storytelling even if you’re a non-profit that, like many others, has a lean marketing team without full-time design or creative staff. Free tools such as Unsplash and Canva can help teams with limited design experience create professional and affordable promotional materials. In fact, Canva’s blog provides helpful resources that will help you design smart promotional materials and tips for photography, such as the rule of thirds. It’s also important to understand core graphics concepts, like color, depth, and image resolution.

In fact, high-resolution assets are visually appealing and give your non-profit website a polished look, making it more inviting to potential donors.

4. Make Sure Your Website is Fully Optimized for Various Platforms

How consumers view a website will differ whether they are using their desktop, phone, tablet or smart TV. In fact, according to research from the World Advertising Research Center (WARC), more than 72% of internet users will access the web solely from their smartphones by 2025. Review your non-profit’s website to ensure it’s optimized for different platforms and that the user experience is as seamless as possible. To learn more about what your non-profit should specifically look out for, refer to Open Waves’ guide to optimizing your site across multiple devices.

5. Get Up to Speed and Compliant with New Data Privacy Laws

With the passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) already in effect, it’s critical that your non-profit pays attention to how you handle data to ensure you’re protecting your donor and member information in line with these, and other, regulations. For example, your non-profit may push a mailing list to members’ email addresses, process donations, and interact on social media. . As a first step, non-profits should determine whether your organization’s activities fall under the scope of the regulation or any state laws. There are many online resources to help guide and inform your efforts. To help get you up to speed on GDPR, check out our blog post, PSA To Nonprofits: GDPR May Apply to You.

Making your non-profit more tech-savvy is not as difficult as you might think—and these tips are just a few ways that you can leverage new technologies to make a significant positive impact on your organization. Feel free to share additional tips in the comments section or reach out to us if you have questions.