The Nonprofit Technology Conference presents an exciting opportunity for mission-driven organizations to explore new ways technology can drive social change. However, chances are your organization is facing more questions than answers about your digital priorities heading into the event.
After all, a website is the most visible presence for many organizations, and it provides a vital means to connect with donors, mobilize activists, and inform the public. But between surviving the height of the pandemic and weathering the impact of inflation, your leadership might be reluctant to commit more money to tech in an uncertain climate.
Frankly, a sense of uncertainty is understandable, and it’s one of the reasons we’re attending NTC in April. Our goals for the conference primarily center around asking questions in the community to uncover how organizations feel about their digital priorities. At the same time, we’d like to offer a few preemptive guidelines for nonprofits heading into NTC.
Websites degrade quickly without consistent care
Your organization may have prioritized digital improvements as part of a recent strategic planning session. But even if your current website launched within the last year or two, you may still not be satisfied with the results.
The digital landscape moves quickly, and the results of a redesign or major rebranding can diminish without constant care. Your team may have to delay software updates to avoid outages, which can impact website performance. Or, you avoided the complications of a website migration by staying on Drupal 7, which means a much-needed platform upgrade awaits.
Plus, if you work with multiple vendors or your CMS lacks the proper guardrails, your design standards have slipped as you’ve published new content. Before long, even a relatively new website will deliver a poor user experience.
If your website is plagued by a glaring need, you face an uphill battle with stakeholders if improvements were implemented not long ago. But with the right approach, you can view your site as an ongoing effort toward continuous improvement rather than a single project.
Integration is everything for nonprofit websites
Nonprofit websites must serve multiple audiences, which is part of what makes balancing your technology needs so challenging. You need to communicate with donors as well as the part of your audience who are motivated to act on your organization’s behalf. Your website needs to connect with the right people and you need the right tools to bolster that connection.
Your organization may use a tool like GuideStar to assist with fundraising, or Salesforce to manage members. Looking at the state of the digital industry for nonprofits, your ability to integrate your website with these tools has grown more manageable as technology has improved.
Finding the time to maintain all these integrations remains a challenge in its own right. However, you can still find a way to resolve these needs in a way that suits your organization’s budget.
Reduce the financial impact of large projects with targeted help
As someone who came to Four Kitchens after working in the nonprofit world, I empathize with the challenges of leading an organization through the next steps of a digital transformation.
Your leadership may not believe it has the budget for another update or may simply be unsure of the cost. Once they find out the level of investment a redesign requires, the conversation often stalls. Meanwhile, the full-featured website that will serve your audience and your organization’s goals grows further out of reach.
Technical improvements aren’t like home improvements — you can’t call a vendor to slap a coat of paint on your website. However, you have other options when it comes to securing valuable enhancements over a more sustainable and strategic timeline. Our Continuous Care program is designed to offer website support and maintenance to nonprofits like yours.
How Continuous Care eases the website burden for nonprofits
When you manage an IT team, you’re already swamped resolving technical issues and putting out fires across your organization. Continuous Care uses a subscription model to manage needed website improvements so your in-house team can focus on other priorities. Just as importantly, you avoid the costly capital investment typically associated with a full redesign project.
However, Continuous Care offers more than website support. Along with managing bugs, upgrades, and other site issues, our plan includes a project manager and a technical strategist. These points of contact with your organization enable you to anticipate website issues and create a strategic plan for future development.
Our Continuous Care program is consultative and collaborative. But you won’t be working with a team who will dictate solutions to your team. Ultimately, you’re inside your organization, and only you can speak to your organization’s goals. But with Continuous Care, you gain the resources to create a path in the direction of what you need.
Whether your organization needs strategic guidance or extra hands, the right agency partner will help you find a support arrangement to suit your needs. But no one can do it without your guidance.
What are your organization’s digital priorities at NTC?
Nonprofits are our focus, so we have ideas about the major technical issues faced by organizations headed to NTC. But until we get there, we don’t know what we don’t know.
So, if you’re headed to NTC, tell us. We’re willing to learn so we can better serve the nonprofit community. We want to be sure we’re doing the best to serve your organization as possible. Even if NTC isn’t in your plans, we want to hear about your priorities and learn how we can help.
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