4 Predictions for Nonprofit Tech Trends | npENGAGE

4 Predictions for Nonprofit Tech Trends

By on Feb 18, 2016


Man looking to the nonprofit tech trends of the future

There are a lot of predictions floating around about the ways technology will transform our work. And increasingly, these predictions are becoming about how technology will impact the way nonprofits work.

Recently, I spoke with Mary Beth Westmoreland and Steve MacLaughlin as they forecasted how and where nonprofits, technology, and even user experience will continue to intersect. Their predictions are total brain candy for anyone in the nonprofit and tech space.

Here are my top 4 quotable takeaways, but I encourage you to also take a look at Mary Beth’s latest piece on data intelligence and it’s impact on our sector:

1. We start focusing on the total customer experience

Steve MacLaughlin’s assertion that our sector will stop “thinking just about UX but the whole experience” might sound squirrely for a UXer like me to embrace. But Steve’s right and it’s relevant to all of us. In the past, we too often thought about our customer or the donor experience in terms of specific channels like social or web, tasks like registering or donating, or personas like volunteer or donor.

With dipping donor retention rates, it’s critical for all of us to focus holistically on how supporters are experiencing our brands throughout their donor journey. It’s time we offer our donors a consistent, authentic, and purposeful brand experience with every tweet, email, text, video, blog post, or letter we send.

2. It’s not just about a phone, it’s about delivering data wherever you are

Westmoreland and MacLaughlin articulated that our expectations of mobile will only continue to grow. Non profit fundraisers will rightly expect to be able to capture and research donor prospect data with whatever device held in that moment. We need to think beyond responsive design into other mobile opportunities. Hello, e-wallets and one-click donations.

3. Nonprofits are embracing the emergence of a multi-cloud world

Now that the cloud has become commonplace enough to wander into the realm of memes, Westmoreland asserts a golden age is really only beginning. Soon, nonprofits will stop thinking about the cloud as a technology to grasp, and instead embrace cloud services for the plethora of data services that will integrate together more seamlessly.

So what exactly does that mean to us today? As more and more platforms are cloud-based and our donor data is shared more easily and consistently, we will have more tailored yet holistic donor data in our hands in real-time. Data for turning web visitors into volunteers, one-time donors into sustainers, content subscribers into advocates and evangelists for our organizations. That’s what the Cloud should mean to all nonprofit professionals.

4. With analytics, opportunities will no longer be needles in haystacks

Westmoreland predicts that even if nonprofit resources don’t grow, stronger opportunities for donor retention and cultivation will grow because technology will provide smarter, real-time analytics. For donors, this idea of “smart analytics” means more personal interactions for smart nonprofits and ultimately the building of more lasting relationships. A great trend for all of us.

This post has been updated from its original version to reflect the most up to date trends.


Brandon Granger curates @Design_for_Good and is a Senior Interaction Designer at Blackbaud for Luminate Online, Online Express, MobilePay, and other products. Brandon has been crafting user experiences for the web and mobile apps for nonprofits for 15+ years. He has a passion for user research, usability testing, high-fidelity prototyping, responsive design, mobile design, and web accessibility. Brandon graduated from the University of North Texas with an undergraduate degree in Film Studies. You can follow him at @bkgranger.

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