The United States economy may be stagnant right now, but nonprofit organizations are still doing well. According to a recent Blackbaud study, the nonprofit sector reported a 1.7 percent year-over-year increase in charitable giving for the third quarter of 2012, with online donations jumping 13.3 percent.
At the same time, a separate study by Blackbaud predicted that nonprofits will undergo significant changes in 2013, driven largely by technology.
However, Marc Chardon, president and CEO of the company, believes that "while challenges certainly exist for the nonprofit sector, there are also opportunities for organizations to use technology to deliver on their missions in a very effective, scalable and real-time way."
Organizations will be able to better manage electronic workflow, thanks largely to the influx of available cloud computing and mobile programs. Blackbaud recently predicted that nonprofits will use twice as much mobile technology in 2013 as they did in 2012, while big data and customer relationship management systems are also expected to rise in the near future.
Abundance of opportunity awaits nonprofits
In a recent interview with Nonprofit Quarterly, Chardon suggested that despite the United States' economic difficulties, the nonprofit sector has a lot to be excited about. Once again, he credited much of his optimism to the rise of certain technologies, such as social and mobile applications that allow companies to "identify people in ways that you couldn't do five and 10 years ago."
"The ability to have cost-effective contact with new people in a social network - as opposed to randomly blasting 100,000 e-mails or 100,000 pieces of mail out to a list - coupled with better and better tools for getting a really intimate connection to the people who support your cause is enormously exciting," Chardon told the news source.
Chardon encouraged nonprofits to employ two strategies that will help them moving forward:
1. "The power of ask": This involves reaching out to current supporters and asking them why they decided to join. This can paint a clear picture about what the organization does well, which can help with regard to expanding the customer base.
2. Possible improvements: At the same time, nonprofits should always be searching for ways to improve. Finding out what the organization does poorly can, at times, be as important as identifying its strengths.