Every(Re)Action | 2021 Nonprofit Technology Trends Report Shows Desire for Efficiency, Automation: NonProfit Times

April 9, 2021  |  Grace Duginski

The NonProfit Times on April 1 reported that a new study on 2021 nonprofit technology trends revealed how nonprofits currently use technology and what kinds of support they want from their tools in order to help them advance their missions more efficiently – both “in and out of the context of the pandemic.”

The study, conducted by Sage Intacct, surveyed more than 500 senior nonprofit leaders. Here’s what respondents said was their biggest internal frustration:

  • About 35 percent said a lack of process automation and organization efficiency;
  • Over 30 percent listed inefficiencies and delays due to multiple, disparate systems;
  • Over 30 percent reported manual, time-consuming reporting;
  • Just under 30 percent said a lack of real-time visibility into key metrics and performance indicators; and
  • Approximately 25 percent noted an inability to measure outcome metrics.

“It’s interesting to note,” said the report, “that these are the same top five internal frustrations expressed in our 2019 survey. The only difference is that ‘inefficiencies and delays due to multiple, disparate systems’ moved up the list from third in 2019 to second in 2020—a result of technology challenges that already existed but were further exacerbated by the shift to remote work.

A significant portion of nonprofits reported that technology helped them work with donors, supporters, advocates, and other constituents, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 50% of respondents identified their online giving tool as one of the technology solutions they used to support operations and growth.

This makes sense given other findings about technology, donor relations, and the pandemic: 

  • 70 percent said their social media strategy changed in response to the pandemic.
  • Over half reported benefits related to updating their strategy including increased overall engagement, more online donations, and a higher number of individual donors.
  • About 75 percent increased or maintained their donor base and reported their average gift size stayed steady or increased.

Our Take:
The type of support nonprofits need from their technology solutions is clear: streamlined systems, including ways to automate tasks and increase efficiency; reliable, real-time data; and the ability to measure and report on their impact. Organizations empowered with the right capabilities and the right platforms can do even more to pursue their missions without double or triple the workload.