Top 5 Technology Challenges Facing Nonprofits
In order to meet their sustainability goals, nonprofit organizations must focus on fundraising, staff and volunteers, program development and other mission-driven initiatives. Oftentimes, technology becomes a lower priority, which can cause them difficulties, especially with the cyber security issues organizations face today.
Most nonprofits face technology-related challenges. Some tend to lag behind when it comes to utilizing cutting-edge technology solutions. For example, even though 93% of donors reported they use a smartphone or tablet, 84% of nonprofits do not have their donation page optimized for mobile devices. Even so, 88% of nonprofit organizations predict digital to grow over the next 10 years, with digital fundraising moving from 7% to over 20% of total fundraising.
The top 5 technology challenges that nonprofits face in today’s technological-driven environment include:
- Data security
Data is the key asset for any nonprofit organization, and protecting that key asset is critical to the overall operation of the organization. The top 3 security threats for nonprofits include the following.
- Weak password policy.
Oftentimes, nonprofits do not institute strict password security policies when allowing stakeholders to access private information on their networks. Organizations need to ensure that two-factor authentication and password criteria is required.
- Unsupported software.
Technology budgets are notoriously tight for nonprofits. Often, they are using outdated equipment that uses outdated operating systems (such as Windows XP.) Using older operating systems places the organization at risk for data breaches.
- Open source software.
Nonprofits will use open source software as a cost-saving measure. The downside of this strategy is that open source software is extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks. Nonprofit organizations need to ensure they have a security compliance officer on their team as well as a policy and procedures manual that will detail how they will manage virus protection, disaster recovery and how they will manage their business intelligence.
- Adequate budget for technology
Too often, nonprofits do not have a plan for keeping their technology updated. While this can take a back-burner to other organizational pressures, planning ahead can save money a great deal of stress. One reason for this is that obsolete technology leaves security holes that can easily be breached by cyber attackers. It is essential that nonprofits maintain anti-virus updates, current operating systems, firewalls, software updates, browser updates and retire old equipment.
- Mobility Solutions
Mobility is at the forefront of almost everything nonprofit organizations are doing. This will extend well into the future. Technology that is mobile-friendly permits volunteers, staff and board members to have 24/7 access to data and connection with each other. Nonprofit organizations need to continue to ensure they utilize mobility solutions in order to best achieve their mission.
- Cloud Computing
Currently, only 15% of nonprofit organizations use cloud-based accounting or fundraising solutions, but they are beginning to understand the benefits of embracing cloud technology. In the future, how will nonprofits embrace cloud computing? What is their strategy? Where do they embrace it? What solutions will they have? Who is managing it? How is the security involved? All of these factors need to be taken into consideration in order to have a viable cloud computing strategy from the get-go.
- Data Analytics
Data is the new currency for nonprofits. Currently, 57% of nonprofits are not effectively using donor data for marketing and fundraising. The investment nonprofit organizations make in data will enable them to make faster decisions with more fluidity, based on the information they have collected and analyzed, thus improving their bottomline. Data help drive the ecosystem of the new economy in nonprofit organizations. Whether it is through fundraising efforts or donor appeal, analytics will provide the framework that will ultimately make this happen.
MMA understands the importance of executing your mission while keeping your assets, your people and your reputation safe. Our Nonprofit & Social Service Practice Group offers risk management and cutting-edge risk solutions specifically for the nonprofit community. To learn more about our innovative views of insurance, risk management and cyber liability solutions for nonprofit organizations, click here.