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The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a major catalyst for digital transformation, forcing many organizations to move away from legacy processes and toward the long-overdue adoption of crucial digital tools, systems, and software. Despite some nonprofit organizations’ initial progress in adopting digital tools, most of the industry is lagging in digital maturity. The digital transformation momentum tailed off and lost its urgency, yet there remains much work to be done in the nonprofit industry. How do we rekindle the conversation and renew that momentum?
This report is designed to demonstrate the current state of digital transformation in the nonprofit industry and to explain why a nonprofit organization should complete Info-Tech’s Digital Maturity Assessment.
Monica Pagtalunan Research Analyst, Industry Practice
Info-Tech Research Group
It’s difficult to define digital transformation. Digital transformation is a buzzword – no one has a clear understanding of what it is and what it should mean for the organization.
Most organizations focused on surviving disruption during the pandemic rather than thriving in it.
You have taken a reactive approach to digital transformation by implementing digital tools to keep up with consumers and competitors without a holistic digital strategy in mind.
Your organization pursues the how without considering the why, undermining the organizational value a digital initiative could provide.
Unrealistic expectations of what such an initiative can and should achieve. Transformation should be preceded and accompanied by continuous improvement.
The organization’s current digital state is unclear. Are we ready for digital transformation? Are we on the right track?
Understand the value of digital. Design a digital purpose that considers the five digital transformation factors that drive mission alignment.
Understand the current digital state including the potential hurdles and obstacles within the nonprofit space to differentiate and thrive against competitors and to drive organizational value.
A digital maturity assessment is the right course of action whether your organization is starting a digital journey or already well on its way.
Nonprofits are risk-averse when they need to be risk takers. Digitally mature organizations recognize how deeply technology empowers people and processes. These are the nonprofits that thrive.
Becoming a digital nonprofit
Automate tasks to free up time for innovation
Nonprofit activities (tasks, procedures, processes, etc.) are used to design and deliver programs and services.
When we convert information into a readable format used by computers, we call this digitization (e.g. converting paper into a digital format). When we convert these activities into a format to be processed by a computer, we have digitalization (e.g. scheduling appointments online).
These two processes alter how work takes place in an organization and form the foundation of digital transformation as a concept.
Info-Tech maintains that digital transformation is an at-scale change program – planned and executed over a finite period – with the aspiration of creating material, sustainable improvement in an organization’s performance, by deploying a programmatic approach to digital technology adoption and innovation.
As nonprofit organizations move closer to this optimal state, new avenues are open to identify advances to promote growth, enhance customer experiences, secure sustainability, drive operational efficiencies, and unearth potential future business ventures.
Digital: The representation of a physical item in a format used by computers.
Digitization: Conversion of information and processes into a digital format.
Digitalization: Conversion of information into a format to be processed by a computer.
Digital transformation is not about adopting trending technologies
Real digital transformation is about how you use technologies to transform your nonprofit into the organization you have envisioned. It’s concerned with the underlying reasons and motivations behind the changes being made and the difference in the work you are doing rather than just the technical implementation.
Technology enables digital transformation. Incorporating foundational technology will enable sustainment and empower differentiation. It’s an important piece of digital transformation, but it’s not everything. For example, implementing enterprise resource planning (ERP) is not digital transformation. This mindset will not deliver beneficial outcomes and can result in wasted or unused investments.
Underlying drivers that compel a digitally transformed program
Nonprofit digital opportunities drive value
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