2020 was a difficult year for nonprofits with new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing measures in effect, nonprofits were forced to reevaluate the way they interact with donors, staff, volunteers and the broader community. According to an SSRI survey, 12% of nonprofits have staff working from home and 82% reported digitalizing some or all of the programs and services they offered. In 2021, we expect to see an increased focus on digitization in the nonprofit sector.
Let’s go through some of the challenges nonprofits are facing in 2021 and how technology can help alleviate these problems.
During these difficult times with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, the work of nonprofits is needed now more than ever. People are struggling to make ends meet and rely more on nonprofits for community services and donations. However, nonprofits rely on income, charitable donations, and government funding to support their various programs and services.
According to a Nonprofit Leadership Council survey, nonprofit leaders said the top challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic is fundraising. Social distancing mandates have limited in-person fundraising, shifting donations to virtual spaces. Nonprofits are relying more on their website, social media and email to solicit donations and connect with constituents.
Leveraging your website can help you integrate your online fundraising efforts. Your website contains crucial updates about your organization and can be used to collect online donations, grow subscribers, and gain followers on your social media accounts. These activities require a website platform with built-in donation capabilities, online forms and social media live feeds. Having your online fundraising activities streamlined in one place will make it easier for your team to manage.
Check out Morweb’s donation page design guide for some examples of donation page best practices in action!
Nonprofits use events to connect with donors, volunteers and community members to grow support for various initiatives. Social distancing measures and indoor capacity limits have put a damper on in-person events forcing nonprofits to get creative with how they connect with constituents. Virtual events have become the new norm, however, keeping audiences engaged remains a challenge.
There are numerous video conferencing platforms to choose from: Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and UberConference, each with effective features for hosting live events online. If you want to try something a bit different, try hosting a virtual auction or incorporate a fundraising thermometer on your website to show donations in real-time.
Volunteer recruitment and retention are difficult to manage during COVID times. If your organization offers face-to-face services, some volunteers may not feel comfortable participating. But there are tons of different ways to support a nonprofit apart from in-person volunteering! Let your supporters know of all the other ways they can help such as monetary or material donations, referrals, online endorsements, and corporate partnerships.
You can make good use of your website to recruit new volunteers by offering an online sign-up form. Managing your volunteer registrations through your website makes it easier for your staff to review and keep your files organized.
Make sure to keep your website up-to-date with all the ways that volunteers can support your organization.
Working from home presents unique challenges for organizations with managing staff and sharing time-sensitive information. Without regular meetings and informal chats, internal communications can break down.
Using a password-protected intranet portal is an effective way to use your website to communicate with staff members, volunteers and board members while keeping private information, private. Users can log in through a link on your website to gain access to internal announcements, resources and documentation. It can also be a collaborative tool by allowing users to participate in online forums and share files on a secure server.
Additionally, messaging apps such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Chat, and Skype will allow staff members to keep up with regular discussions while working remotely.
Community engagement is crucial for building strong relationships with community members and growing support for your nonprofit’s cause. Without community events or sports competitions, engaging with community members has become more difficult. Nonprofits need to look for new ways to stay connected.
Email and social media have become essential communication tools for sharing updates on your organization and rallying support for your various initiatives. Your nonprofit website can further your online presence by allowing visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or get a preview of your social media posts through an embedded live feed.
The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to raise challenges for nonprofits in the coming year. Nonprofits’ resilience and innovation will lead to more creative ways to manage daily operations with the help of technology. In 2021 and beyond, organizations will rely more on their websites and other online channels to engage with constituents.
For help with your nonprofit’s website and online presence, book a free consultation with Morweb.