• Jacob Sperlbaum

Salesforce's 5th Edition of the Salesforce Nonprofit Trends Report


It is time again for another one of Salesforce’s Nonprofit Trends Report. This report covers a variety of topics and changes that are currently happening in the world of Nonprofits. Some of these changes or challenges revolve around employee turnover, burnout, and increasing costs. Salesforce says it’s a “new world” we’re in and that the focus of this “new world” is nonprofits are focusing on employee retention and fundraising with optimistic outlooks.


The success of these nonprofits is varying, with some beginning to get on track as well as some thriving in this “new world.” According to Salesforce, the nonprofit sector is constantly threatened by the likes of inflation and labor shortages, but this is where the idea of being a more digitally mature organization comes into play. Salesforce has found that digitally mature nonprofits are finding more success with adapting, focusing on employee retention, and fostering healthy environments. In this blog, we want to look at the key statistics from each section that helps reinforce the idea that being technologically mature helps improve nonprofit organizations.


The Nonprofit Landscape

Whether they’re trying to be more secure, improve their online presence, or just become more technologically mature, nonprofits are looking for ways to move to online models or improve their hybrid models in the next 12 months.

Nonprofits are looking to put more investment into furthering their own technological literacy. Whether it be cybersecurity, remote models, online donating, or hybrid events, they’re all centered around becoming more virtual and digitally mature.


According to Salesforce, agile organizations often use technology to surface insights and trends from data which can then be shared among teams to enable quicker decision-making.” Based on trend data, it is evident that quick and agile organizations are able to adopt technology more efficiently. By doing so, they’re able to adapt, innovate, and be able to look forward to the future rather than dwelling on the past.

You can see above that slower organizations tend not to be creative, are unable to change, are cautious of change, and ultimately struggle to meet their status quo. On the other hand, the quick and adaptive organizations that have moved towards adopting technology have been able to create a vision for themselves that lets them move forward with ease. As Salesforce says, they have a positive mindset for change which allows them to pursue strategic evolution.


Change at Scale

To be able to consistently prove to stakeholders that it is worth their time and money to stick with a nonprofit organization, nonprofits can leverage technology to provide data to keep interests high as well as improve their efforts. With over 74% of nonprofits using data to communicate with stakeholders, it shows that the data works. Nonprofit organizations also are leveraging that data to decide how they should design programs or services (75%) and how they make decisions (73%). It is interesting to see how nonprofits are utilizing technology and the data that it provides to both improve their connections and how they design their programs.

When it comes to making improvements to their effectiveness, impact, and efficiency, nonprofits are finding that technology improves all three of those and more. Generally speaking, nonprofits have a lot of responsibilities to balance, and the use of technology ultimately helps reduce the effort that needs to be put into those tasks. This allows them to free up resources for other initiatives and ultimately streamline their organization. You can see how nonprofits are realizing how important technology is to them.

As you can see in the chart above, 77% of nonprofits say that technology has helped improve their mission impact but also that 76% of nonprofits believe that technology is a critical part of their success.


Driving Impact

Nonprofits that are invested in technology and are seen as digitally mature tend to consistently outperform any other organization that is not investing in technology. What’s very interesting about the nonprofits that do invest in technology is that 70% believe that they may not be investing in the right technology, and 38% believe that they ARE NOT investing in the right technology. But also note, over 93% of nonprofits believe that they have high digital maturity and do use technology to improve their impact.

Being digitally mature does not always only mean that they are just being successful on the level of being a business that is handling clients and donations. It also means that they’re being successful on a work culture scale. In the graph below, you’ll see how the culture surrounding nonprofits being digitally mature varies from those that are not. An important statistic from this graph is that digitally mature nonprofits’ employees are 3.5% MORE likely to be motivated.

People and Performance

It is an understatement to say that employees in the nonprofit sector get burned out extremely fast. That is known, and there is a very high turnover rate in the nonprofit space. However, Salesforce has found that digitally mature nonprofits tend to have a more positive workplace culture as well as lower burnout levels.

Above, we talked about how digitally mature nonprofit employees tend to be more motivated and how they tend to be a part of a healthier work environment. To add to how this is a massive benefit for nonprofits, it is shown that having highly motivated employees leads to reaching goals easier and in less time. It is important to have a workplace environment that helps foster motivation and happiness, and the data shows that being digitally mature can lead to this outcome.

DEI and Sustainability

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a term that all organizations should strive to work towards improving. In this Trends Report, you can see that less than half of nonprofits have taken any recent DEI actions. There is currently a substantial lack of promoting women or minorities for management roles, providing training to minimize unconscious biases, and interviewing a diverse range of people for roles. This is certainly a task that needs to be addressed, especially in the nonprofit sector, where a lot of these organizations tend to work with individuals who are minorities, women, or underrepresented in the workforce.

When it comes to sustainability and climate change, nonprofits are struggling to report any positive progress toward their current sustainability projects. This can include environmental sustainability and their own sustainability as an organization. Specifically, regarding sustainability goals, less than a quarter of nonprofits have been able to report any “good” progress toward their goals.

Pushing aside sustainability goals, over 31% of nonprofit organizations have used technology to progress their sustainability in regard to climate change. This graph showcases how nonprofits have been trying to progress their sustainability.

Finally,

This 5th edition of the Salesforce Nonprofit Trends Report shows us a lot more about what is happening in the nonprofit sector with a lot of transparency. What we can learn from this edition is that being digitally mature is extremely important for organizational growth, employee retention, and influence mindset changes. On the other hand, it is evident that nonprofits need to work harder toward sustainability goals, adopting technology, and reaching DEI goals. The lack of focus on sustainability is only hurting nonprofits in the long term because if there is no ability to be sustainable, it is only going to be that much harder to keep an organization alive. To keep up with competitors and improve employee engagement, it is important for nonprofits that have not adopted technology yet to start looking into how they can invest in it and how they can leverage it in their own organizations. Finally, meeting DEI goals and expectations should always be a focus in any organization. It will only help foster a healthier work environment and promote healthy mindsets.


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