THE IMPACT LEAK – Technology taking us through Covid and out the other side
Updated: Jan 31
- What impacts the good we do?
Photo by Beci Harmony via UnSplash
It’s been quite the month for thought leadership around digital transformation. While the ‘concept’ appears new, there have been a few thought leaders and nonprofits leading the charge like authors Marina Glogovac of Canada Helps and Katie Gibson posting in the Future of Good. Both women tell a story of a lack of skills negatively impacting the nonprofit sector. Katie goes so far as to layout a tremendous way forward that focuses on a cross-sector, systems-level approach. The reason that we need a new approach is because when organizations stick to low level digital instruments like Google Docs, they are just barely keeping themselves above water. Donors, investors, government, all want easy ways to see the impact that organizations have made. They want to see time spent on service delivery, diversifying revenue streams and projects that win grants. Excel might be able to house this information but can it point to leads? Engage new donors? Identify new opportunities for grants? You know it can’t.
In the latest federal budget April 2021, the Canadian government is supplying “$400 million in 2021-22 to help charities and non-profits adapt and modernize to enable them to better support economic recovery of Canadian communities.” These monies are to improve digital adaptation which is already underway. While Covid was pushing us hard to adapt, many nonprofits did and now there will be funds to improve the ways we moved services online, created digital fundraising events and engaged new donors, as donors increased to 86% online giving. We might feel like moving back to our old style of service delivery, events and donor engagement but we would be missing the gains - the benefits that have accrued to us by technology helping us stay afloat during Covid.
When Covid first arrived, the sector’s only response was survival. Charity is typically synonymous with face-to-face delivery. Before Covid, who would support a charity that just talked to you over the internet? While health services have been operating this way in the north for years, how many people in urban centres wanted to sign up for phone counseling? No, people wanted offices and appointments and waiting rooms and anything less meant they would go elsewhere for service. But today, because Covid changed the world, the Third Sector, indicates that “In light of Covid, non-profits also need to become more efficient and resilient, and digital can provide solutions to help with that.”
Photo by Fredy Jacob via UnSplash
So right now, nonprofits in Canada know that they can move to digital because they did, they had to. As people stumbled through Zoom and Slack and Teams, new events emerged, meetings improved and service delivery went forward. With the adoption of new technology came new experiences, while real progress has been made in other areas, grant writing has remained the same. Nonprofits must pursue funding and grant writing is the norm. There are several technologies already at work in the sector and people may not realize their existence. While most organizations may have fundraising software or a CRM, how many have investigated technology to help find grants like Grant Connect by Imagine Canada or Fundtracker by Ajah? Have orgs familiarized themselves with the Grant Management Software (GMS) that their city government or local foundations use? At ANSWER.it, we even invented the Grant Gauge for funders to improve the grantee’s experience because funders do want better for nonprofits, so knowing how to interact with technology and purchasing technology to make your nonprofit better is exactly what the government has earmarked those funds for.
Nonprofits have grappled hard with Covid and coming out the other side is a badge of honour that has been well-earned. Give yourself a moment before you plunge back in and know that technology can indeed make your work and your life easier. Take advantage of new monies meant to do just that and congratulate yourself for the miracles you have once again pulled off.