Like many other employers suffering through the so-called Great Resignation, some nonprofits are struggling to fill — and keep filled — all of their positions. Automating processes with software could provide relief for organizations of every size.
Case for automation
Nonprofits understandably might fear that automation will remove the human touch valued by everyone from founders to constituents — but they have plenty of reasons to embrace the technology. For example, automation removes the risk of human errors that can end up creating more work for your stretched staff.
Moreover, automating mundane tasks frees up staff time so employees can focus on more fulfilling efforts, from nurturing donor relationships to mission-oriented work. At a time when many employees don’t hesitate to leave jobs for what they perceive as greener pastures, ensuring meaningful work can go a long way toward improving their satisfaction. In turn, you can save money on recruitment, retention, onboarding and training. Technology investments might seem like an unaffordable luxury when your resources are limited, but improving operational efficiencies can ultimately position you to greatly boost your impact.
Target automation areas
The most obvious targets for automation are those routine but essential tasks that are both time-consuming and tedious, if not demoralizing, for staff. Think maintaining contact information on supporters or updating your website. But automation also can support some of your most important functions, including:
Event management. Big events may require hundreds of staff hours to plan, promote, execute and follow up, much of it spent on administrative work. This can prove especially overwhelming for organizations that don’t have dedicated event planners on staff. Automation can make it easier for you to track workflow, as well as handle tasks like registration, mailings, and ticket and agenda distribution. It also can simplify budgeting and financial reporting for events.
Marketing. You need to make the most of every dollar in today’s competitive environment for donation dollars. Automation can help you determine the most effective marketing strategies and channels. And you can deliver more tailored, even personalized, messaging to different audience segments, whether based on location, demographics or giving history. Automation can also facilitate more efficient social media posting and assembly and distribution of newsletters.
Fundraising. Optimized donation forms on your website can collect critical information and automatically populate your databases. You can issue receipts automatically and schedule follow-up contacts. Artificial intelligence can analyze mountains of donation and other data, detect patterns, and suggest when previous donors might be ready to contribute again and in what amounts. You can deploy automation to perform prospect research, too. Bots are capable of crawling the Internet much more effectively and quickly than even the most online-proficient human could ever hope to do.
Reporting. Whether required for grantors, other stakeholders or internal purposes, you can easily produce regular reports that monitor and analyze your key performance indicators and metrics. When such metrics are updated on a real-time basis, you can track them on a dashboard and make timely adjustments to campaigns and budgets while you still have time to head off or mitigate adverse consequences.
Your first steps
When you’re ready to automate, be sure you start by identifying the appropriate areas for adaptation and then search for the solutions that fit. Reversing the order of these steps could leave you with costly technology that doesn’t meet your needs. We can help you get started in the right direction.