Six Best Practices from the NGO Technology Report

March 1, 2018 Ali Martinez

The 2018 Global NGO Technology Report provides insight on the online and mobile communication tools NGOs around the world use to promote general awareness, communicate with core audiences and raise funds from donors, as well as an analysis of those online tools and comparisons of regional usage.

The Blackbaud Institute is the proud partner of the U.S. section of the report. You can download the U.S. infographic here: Tech Trends: How U.S. Nonprofits Connect

Technology offers more opportunity to steward and sustain your donors. In conjunction with the website, email, and mobile technology findings of the report, I’d like to offer some best practices to help you effectively use technology in your organization’s fundraising and outreach:

Website and Mobile:

  • Create responsive design and make sure your donor page is clear and concise
  • From the report: 92% of NGOs have a website. 87% are mobile-compatible, which is a 9% increase since last year.

It’s not enough to have a static webpage. Your website should be responsive to visitors and should lead them where you want. Mobile capability is also becoming a necessity in this day and age, and that all leads back to making sure your website is responsive. You can do that by:

  1. Creating easy navigation. A visitor to your website should be able to easily navigate, search, and understand the key points you’d like to make on desktop or mobile devices. Make sure there’s a clear navigation bar and that you’re providing the most important information in an accessible way.
  2. Being clear and concise. It can be tempting to create something flashier or more design-heavy, but it’s important that your content and the flow of your website is easy to understand and ultimately leads constituents where you want them to go, whether that’s donating online or joining your newsletter.

Remember your donor page is your most important page. Ask for what you want, including recurring donations.

Email:

  • Build your list effectively and use performance data to adjust accordingly
  • From the report: 63% of orgs regularly send emails.

Based on that statistic from the report, there’s a good chance your organization is already sending emails to donors in some capacity. Here are a few more things to keep in mind to make your email program shine:

  1. Build a great list. Your email list can be your organization’s greatest asset. It’s a direct way to communicate with those that have opted-in to hear from you. Whether it’s organizational updates, donor appeals, or retention touch points, susbcribers should want to open your emails. Be sure to create an effective landing page and sign up strategy to gain engaged subscribers.
  2. Measure email performance and adjust accordingly. Make sure you’re testing what works for your audience and measuring the performance of these emails. While there are some agreed upon best practices, your list is unique. Be sure you’re giving them the types of emails they want to interact with and create segments when possible for even deeper personalization.

Social Media:

  • Be where your donors are and build a thoughtful strategy.
  • From the report: 95% of NGOs agree that social media is effective for online brand awareness, but only 32% have a written social media strategy

While there’s always something new lurking on the digital horizon, don’t rush into signing up for a new social account without considering the following:

  1. Be where your donors are. Understanding your donors is key when communicating with them effectively. Online, don’t focus on being everywhere; instead, be where your donors are and focus on building a community centered around your organization’s cause.
  2. Build a thoughtful strategy. A social strategy goes beyond posting once or twice a day. Your social accounts should be a thoughtful extension of your organization’s broader engagement plan and should connect directly to your overarching campaign goals.

The use of technology is only becoming more vital to the success of organizations. By understanding these trends and incorporating them into your organization’s overall communication, data management, and fundraising strategies, you’ll provide your donors with consistent, thoughtful communication and engagement opportunities.

For even more data, dive into in the full report.

You can download the U.S. infographic on the Blackbaud Institute website.

 

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