5 Technology Trends You Need to Know About Now!
In our fast-paced world, one thing we can count on is that technology is evolving at an incredibly rapid rate. Here at TPF, technology plays a critical role in all of our business processes, such as automated workflows, managing data and overall security, building and maintaining relationships, and enhancing interactions. Staying on the forefront of technological changes and trends is a big job! We constantly watch trends and new developments for ways to improve and enhance how we serve our partners.
Listed below are some recent exciting technology trends that can impact churches and nonprofits in the coming year:
- Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity is a consistent issue for all types of organizations. However, it has become an even bigger concern for churches and nonprofits. Cyber threats have never been more pervasive than right now, and we are all quickly becoming a favorite target thanks to the sensitive data we manage, including personal information, social security information, and credit card numbers. But what can we do? There are many ways to mitigate these threats including new security technologies, affordable staff security training software, and a strong set of controls. There are organizations that cater to the nonprofit world in this area. The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) offers a template to use as a tool to assess your organization’s risks regarding the types of data you collect.
- Adopting Cloud Software: Although it’s been popular in the for-profit sector for several years, nonprofits and churches are now beginning to realize the advantages that cloud-based solutions can bring to their organizations. Cloud computing has come a long way since the early days of mainframes and dumb terminals and is much more sophisticated and secure. Cloud software provides an alternative to the software solutions you would normally manage in house, which allows many advantages including lower costs for hardware, a greener software solution, and work process simplification. Research indicates that approximately 60% of all IT infrastructure and closer to 70% of all software, services, and technology spending will be cloud-based by 2020.
- Interactive Reporting: The current trend for reports for nonprofits and churches is to move from Excel spreadsheets and dashboards and other static reporting tools to more interactive Web-based tools. Software like Tableau, Microsoft Power BI, and Qlik can help organizations make more efficient, data driven decisions. However, be sure to remember, it’s not all about looking pretty; it’s about accessing the best data and reflecting your data in a way that communicates your story to your constituents and members.
- Revitalizing Fundraising Technology: Fundraising—how we do it is constantly changing. Many churches and nonprofits rely on fundraising to ensure their continued impact on mission, and this means continually seeking ways to do it better. In the coming year, we will see organizations shift their online focus on giving to center more around mobile strategies. We will also see the inclusion of more social giving opportunities. Facebook Fundraising Tools has raised more than $1 BB for organizations all over the world. In 2019 and beyond, we will most likely see these tools expanded to Instagram, increasing the reach and giving opportunities for all.
- Mobile Giving: Speaking of fundraising, mobile giving is on the rise. According to the Blackbaud Institute’s Key Trends in Philanthropy, 21% of online giving happens on a mobile device. And we only expect this number to increase. Now, donors of all ages not only give via their desktop, but they are constantly surrounded by a variety of mobile devices that enable them to give anytime, anywhere.
As I mentioned earlier, with technology the one constant is that it is always changing—and sometimes we all struggle to keep up! However, there are new and exciting developments such as those listed above that can increase efficiencies and improve processes. Be sure to take advantage of resources out there that are focused on helping nonprofits like our website, www.tpf.org, NTEN (www.nten.org), and TechSoup (www.techsoup.org) in your efforts to stay ahead in this constantly changing landscape.