Keeping fresh and relevant is a constant battle in the fast-moving nonprofit space. Upgrading and modernizing your business is the best way to stay ahead of the game and keep your supporters engaged.
All businesses need to evolve to stay relevant. Making regular updates to your nonprofit will keep your organization at the forefront of its industry, and modernizing your business processes will put you ahead of the competition.
As a nonprofit, although regular updates to your methods are essential, you always need to centre your core mission at the heart of any change. The key is to balance the need for innovation with the demands of your supporters’ expectations and your brand identity.
How can nonprofits achieve this?
1. Do Your Research
Consider your market and your competitors. Ask yourself: where is your business experiencing difficulties or falling behind? Look at what your competitors are doing and consider what your donors and partners want and need. Are you delivering to the best of your ability and what could you do to improve?
Take a non-sentimental look at your business. Be honest about the things that aren’t working and take bold action to remove the dead wood. This could be anything from a cluttered workspace to unnecessary meetings, projects that no longer mirror your goals to disruptive team members.
3. Revamp Your Marketing
The world of marketing moves so quickly that a less flexible organization could miss important changes. It’s vital to keep on top of movements in marketing, and for a modern company, this means staying abreast of social media trends.
Being aware of the latest must-use social channels means you are engaging with potential new donors in the most relevant and up-to-date way. This is especially important for reaching younger supporters.
4. Tweak Your Tone of Voice
Every business makes changes over time to reflect the changing market. This not only applies to business approach but also brand voice. Don’t be afraid to change your content when it feels old. Language can date. Revisit previous articles to make sure they still feel fresh and adjust your tone of voice to reflect who you are now, not who you were five years ago.
5. Assess Website Design
In addition to keeping copy fresh, it’s also vital to revamp your website design if you haven’t refreshed this in a few years. Although it’s important to keep the consistency of brand design, just like brand copy, it’s still a good idea to reassess your website look and feel regularly to make sure it reflects your current brand direction.
6. Consider Photography
While looking at the design, don’t forget photography. A picture can sometimes be more effective than words, and never more so than with emotive content. Webpages that speak to the heart need effective photographs to bring the text to life. Free image sites might not be enough to distinguish yourself from your competitors. Using a talented photographer can make a big difference to the power of your content.
7. Focus on UX Design
Your website’s overall user experience affects visitors’ attitudes to your product and their perceptions of your organization. User experience (UX) design focuses on improving a website’s accessibility and usability.
Good UX design means visitors can navigate through your website and find what they want quickly and easily. Great UX design means visitors will stay on your website and do what you want them to do, whether that’s donate, sign up to an event or subscribe to your newsletter.
By creating a user-friendly site structure and including carefully positioned call-to-actions (CTAs) in your content, you will have the best chance of turning new visitors into regular supporters.
Excellent UX design isn’t easy, but that’s where a team of experts can help. Indiez can put together a team of tech specialists who know exactly how your website UX should work to bring the results you need.
8. Upgrade Software
While effective UX design is essential, using the right software is another sure way to modernize your nonprofit. Technology can push your organization towards the new ground. This is especially true when it comes to automation.
For example, taking advantage of customer relationship management (CRM) software can help to upgrade your communications strategy by using data analytics about supporter behaviour to improve retention.
9. Go Digital
Many nonprofits are still sending out too much paperwork. Going digital with your whole business, including your business communications, will help to modernize your organization. Consider ditching the paper and going entirely online for your donations, payments, events bookings, meetings, and other scheduled activities related to your business practices.
10. Go Green
Ethical behavior and environmentally-friendly solutions are the height of modern business. This is more than a trend, it’s a whole new way of living. For nonprofits, being aware of green commitments — and being seen to be aware of these issues — is essential.
A commitment to going green walks hand in hand with turning your business 100% digital, as wasted paper communications are a big no-no. Whatever your industry, let your supporters know about your commitment to sustainability and openly share your green credentials.
Simple is nearly always best. Help your donors support you by putting together a list of pre-prepared options for them to select from when donating. This simplifies the whole process, speeds up donations and makes your platform user-friendly. You could offer specially curated packages with donation amounts and special member benefits. Always keep forms easy to find, simply designed and fast to fill in.
12. Use Data Analytics
Don’t forget the importance of data analytics for all areas of your business. Analyze your figures to understand where you could improve the functioning of the organization, from your fundraising efforts to your marketing and website design. Data analytics can help you see what is and what isn’t working, so you can decide where you need to upgrade and improve.
13. Strive to Innovate…
To make your nonprofit the best it can be, you must keep innovating your business. Subtle reinventions keep your organization fresh without altering your core identity. These reinventions remind people you are a constantly evolving organization with its finger on the pulse, and your supporters will feel confident in your ability to react intelligently to changing market conditions.
14. … But Don’t Alienate
Although change is essential for growth, it’s important not to alienate your veteran supporters. Familiarity feels safe. Cutting too far adrift from your original identity and methods may feel uncomfortable for some, and elderly supporters are more likely to trust a traditional approach when it comes to dealing with financial matters.
Strive to balance the need for modern innovation with an understanding of your current and past brand identity and the needs of your supporters. This will help you to connect with the new, while leveraging the trust and influence you have already built up.
Be ready to reassess your current setup and make bold changes in order to upgrade and modernize your organization. By staying in touch with the latest trends in technology, marketing and design, and combining this with brand awareness and an understanding of your supporters’ expectations, your nonprofit will always be an industry leader.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Chat to Indiez today about how we can help you modernize your nonprofit with the latest tech solutions.
14 Ways to Upgrade and Modernize Your Nonprofit was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.