Technology to Grow a Nonprofit in 2021

Plans to get the word out about your nonprofit through in-person meetings, conferences, and social gatherings mostly went by the wayside last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through all we’ve learned in the past year, we know this does not mean that you can’t continue to grow your membership. Quite the opposite is true.

The virtual world is continually expanding in 2021, and people are turning to their computers more and more during this time of working from home. You can capitalize on this to reach an even wider network of people across the globe to support your cause.

Technology can offer new and innovative ways to manage a nonprofit, provide greater access to more people, and improve efficiency.

There are a variety of tools available that can help to grow a nonprofit — even now. We’ll help you navigate the tools and techniques that can increase your reach and attain your goals.

Creating Buzz for Your Cause

At the heart of a nonprofit is a cause — the “why” behind your organization. In order to increase appreciation and raise awareness for your mission, you need to create buzz to gain support. People who believe in your cause are more than willing to spread the word and call attention to it.

Businesses and nonprofits alike are increasingly moving to completely digital platforms. Nonprofit organizations may not have the large marketing budgets and liquid assets to spend on advertising that corporations do. There may only be a small handful of people running a nonprofit with little or no cash to spare.

There are several ways to promote your cause without spending a lot of money, and technology is critical to this mission. These tools are low-cost or free:

  • Social media: Over 80 percent of Gen Z believe that their presence and messages on social media can be influential for environmental or social issues. Platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can help to spread your message and draw more attention to your nonprofit. This can garner more supporters.

Social media accounts are free, and they can provide the buzz you need for your cause.

  • Your website: A nonprofit’s website is the landing zone for all potential donors and future members, and it can be a great marketing tool. All emails or social media accounts should link back to your website, which should have a clear and concise mission statement and explanation of your cause. The entire site needs to be easy to read and user-friendly.

There are several free website-building options for nonprofits provided through companies such as Wix, Weebly, and SITE123.

  • Email lists: Email is an incredibly effective tool to open lines of communication with donors, members, and staff as well as interested parties. Through email, you can call on people to support your cause and reach out to future and prospective donors directly.

You don’t need to spend your limited marketing budget on buying an email list either. Instead, you are more likely to generate true interest and grow your nonprofit by reaching the right people, not just with mass marketing. Slow and steady is often the key to building a workable email list.

  • Staff and donors: Your staff and donors are already in your corner and passionate about your mission. They can be great tools for helping to grow your nonprofit.

Video testimonials from real people on your website and throughout social media platforms can encourage others to join you as well. User-generated content and short videos can be quickly shot by your members to create more hype and support for your nonprofit.

Marketing a nonprofit does not have to be expensive. At Gather Voices, we can help you capitalize on content provided from your community. These videos can carry a strong and powerful message to increase the buzz surrounding your cause.

Software That Can Help to Manage and Expand Your Nonprofit

As a nonprofit, you may not have a large staff. Your employees may wear multiple hats.

With employees stepping into many roles, it can be advantageous to use software tools to consolidate projects and tasks. This can help to keep all staff members on the same page and to streamline your business objectives and marketing efforts.

The following types of software can help you run and expand your charity with ease. Many companies offer free options or deep discounts for nonprofit organizations.

Marketing Tools

There are many kinds of marketing software that can help you to keep track of your social media accounts, manage email communications, and help you to get noticed.

Marketing can be a huge asset for a nonprofit in helping to draw attention to your cause. By using free or low-cost marketing tools, you can free up your time and energy for your true mission, letting the software do some of the heavy lifting for you.

Some of the top options, chosen by experts, include tools that help you manage your social media accounts. Here are some examples:

  • Buffer: This tool lets you schedule your social media content and posts, analyze their performance, and monitor your direct messages. There is a free portion of Buffer that allows you to plan up to 10 posts ahead of time through Buffer Publish.

As a nonprofit, you can get a 50 percent discount on their paid plans.

  • Awario: This tool searches the internet and social media content to help you find people who support your cause. It can also be used to find influencers and monitor your online presence and reputation by hearing what people are saying about, and how they are reacting to, your charity.

You can use Awario free for a week and then get the 50 percent nonprofit discount on a monthly plan.

  • Later: This social media management tool focuses on Instagram and visual storytelling. It provides analytics and tips for your sites, and it helps you manage and schedule content.

As a nonprofit, you can get half off the monthly plans or use the basic features for free.

  • Tailwind: Similar to Later, Tailwind emphasizes visual storytelling. In addition to Instagram, it also includes Pinterest monitoring and post suggestions.

Tailwind offers a 50 percent discount to nonprofits.

  • SocialPilot: Supporting most social media platforms, this tool offers social media education, content management tools, and analytics.

There is a nonprofit discount you can get by contacting the SocialPilot support team directly.

Project Management Software

As a nonprofit, you likely have multiple projects going on at once and several different people running them. It can be difficult to keep up with everything and everyone. Project management software is an excellent tool to keep track of and manage everything with ease.

There are many different options on the market, ranging from software to track deadlines and who is doing what to apps that can allow you to manage everything right from your phone.

Here is a list of some of the expert’s choices for project management software: 

Some of these offer free trails or a free version to easily fit into a nonprofit’s budget.

Accounting Software

The accounting and financial management aspect of a nonprofit is vital to its success; however, it can also be clunky and time-consuming.

Keeping track of your donations, and making it easy to donate and see where the money goes, is vital. Nonprofits have different accounting needs than regular businesses do. Specific accounting software for a nonprofit is key.

Nonprofits need to be secure and protected from cybersecurity threats. They must be able to track grant funds easily and keep up with ever-changing accounting compliance rules.

Reviews by experts name FreshBooks the top accounting software for a nonprofit. FreshBooks can help make donating easy and secure, and keep your accounting transparent. It also comes with mobile apps and integrates easily with other third-party applications. They offer a free trial period so you can see if it works for your needs.

By successfully managing the business aspects of your nonprofit and using these technology tools to do so, you can spend more time expanding your presence and growing support for your cause.

Building and Utilizing Email Lists to Your Advantage

In our pre-pandemic world, you could gather emails from people interested in your cause through events, flyers, and face-to-face interactions. Now, you need to rely more heavily on the digital world.

The trick to building a solid email list is to connect with people who are genuinely interested in your cause and what you have to say. Email is a cheap and easy way to get the word out about your cause and garner support. It is a great marketing tool.

Here are some tips for growing and using your email list effectively:

  • Be transparent with your potential subscribers about what they can expect through your email communications. Let them know ahead of time how many emails to expect in a month, for example.
  • Ensure privacy and let your supporters know that you will not sell their email address or information to a third party. They need to know that their personal info is safe with you.
  • Create space on your website to gather emails and encourage visitors to sign up. You can add email sign-ups to your footer, use a pop-up, or have a separate page for email sign-up.
  • Use social media to ask for email addresses. Include a call to action and links to sign up to your email list or newsletter in your posts.
  • Make it easy for your current subscribers to share and forward your emails to gain new supporters. Have an email sign-up space in your own email signature to encourage new subscribers as well.
  • Keep your emails relevant and on topic. It helps to keep them simple, short, and engaging to keep your reader’s attention. Stick to your promises about frequency of email communication too.

An email list is highly effective at helping to grow a nonprofit. When used correctly, it will continue to build over time.

How to Find and Retain Donors and Staff

It is increasingly important to find ways to be relevant in the digital world as more and more people and businesses continue to live online. Competition for donations is fierce, and nonprofits must be innovative to connect with potential donors and retain them.

Here are some tips:

  • Use social media to connect people to your website, to network, and to keep up the interest in your cause. More than half of all people who interact with a nonprofit through social media will become involved in the cause in some way.
  • Make it easy to donate on your website through a clear and visible donation button or icon. Attention spans are short so make donating easy.
  • Include video testimonials from real people who have benefitted from donations. Video testimonials can encourage people to donate to your cause and also maintain a connection with benefactors. Hearing stories from people who have benefitted from the donations can have a major impact, and technology can help with this.
  • Be clear in your mission and stay focused on your cause while remaining transparent about where the money is spent.
  • Use technology to your advantage. The easier and faster it is for people to donate, the more likely they are to do so. If a smartphone user can text a donation or click an embedded link as soon as they hear about your cause, you’re much more likely to get engagement.
  • Keep in communication with your donors to maintain their interest and continued support. You can use social media and email to keep in communication with your donors and encourage them to stay active with your cause. A personalized thank-you note can go a long way.
  • Protect your staff through methods like the Paycheck Protection Program. This is a low-interest loan for nonprofit organizations with 500 or fewer employees that can be forgiven when it is used to retain or hire back workers who have been laid off.

How Gather Voices Can Help

Gather Voices makes it easy to collect videos from your donors and people who have benefited from your nonprofit. Videos can be easily recorded on a smartphone, and we offer easy tools to edit and share them. These video testimonials can then be shared on your social media pages, website, and even through email and direct marketing in order to grow your nonprofit.

We make it easy to share these short video clips and encourage donors to support your cause even in the midst of a global pandemic. While last year presented new challenges, you can still see your nonprofit continue to grow.

References

Technology’s Effect on Nonprofit Management. (August 2012). Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ).

2017 CONE Gen Z CSR Study: How to Speak Z. Cone Communications.

Wix.

Weebly.

SITE123.

20 Amazing Free or Low-Cost Marketing Tools for Nonprofits. (March 2020). Business2Community.

Buffer. (2020).

Awario. (2020).

Later.

Tailwind. (2020).

SocialPilot.

The Best Project Management Software for 2020. (December 2019). PC Mag.

ProofHub.

Zoho Projects. (2020). Zoho Corporation.

Teamwork. (2020).

Wrike. (2020). Wrike, Inc.

20 Best Accounting Software for Nonprofits in 2020. (2020). Finances Online.

Freshbooks. (2020).

The Ultimate List of Charitable Giving Statistics for 2018. Nonprofits Source.

12 Nonprofit Trends We’re Likely to See in 2020, According to the Experts. (October 2019). Forbes.

Paycheck Protection Program FAQs. (June 2020). Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF).

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