4 Tech Trend Predictions for Nonprofits for 2016

February 18, 2016 Brandon Granger

This week, I was fortunate to get a sneak peek at two of the nonprofit sector’s leading tech experts musing on their technology trend predictions for 2016.

This video of Mary Beth Westmoreland and Steve MacLaughlin forecasting how and where nonprofits, technology, and even user experience will intersect during this upcoming year is total brain candy for anyone in our space. Relevant even for a nonprofit designer like me.

Here are my top 4 quotable takeaways, but I encourage you to watch the full transcript (5 min).

#npTech2016: “We’ll start focusing on the total customer experience”

In 2016, MacLaughlin’s assertion that our sector will stop “thinking about UX but the whole experience” might sound squirrely for a UXer like me to embrace. But Steve’s right and it’s relevant to all of us. In the past, we too often think about our customer or the donor experience in terms of specific channels like social or web, tasks like registering or donating, or personas like volunteer or donor.

With dipping donor retention rates, it’s critical for all of us to focus holistically on how your supporters are experiencing your brand throughout their donor journey. In 2016, we’ll stop succumbing to mission drift when donors feel a consistent, authentic, and purposeful brand story from every tweet, email, text, video, blog post, anywhere.

#npTech2016: “It’s not just about a phone, it’s about delivering data whereever you are”

Westmoreland and MacLaughlin articulate that our expectations of mobile will only grow in 2016. Fundraisers will rightly expect to be able to capture and research donor prospect data with whatever device held in that moment. For nonprofits, we need to think beyond responsive design into other mobile opportunities. Hello, e-wallets and one-click donations.

#npTech2016: “The future is nonprofits embracing the emergence of a multi-cloud world”

Now that the Cloud’s become commonplace enough to wander into the realm of memes, Westmoreland asserts a golden age is really only beginning. For 2016, nonprofits will stop thinking about the cloud as a technology to grasp, and instead embrace cloud services for the plethora of data services that will integrate together more seamlessly.

So what exactly does that mean to us today? As more and more platforms are cloud-based and our donor data is shared more easily and consistently, we will have more tailored yet holistic donor data in our hands in real-time. Data for turning web visitors into volunteers, one-time donors into sustainers, content subscribers into advocates and evangelists for our organizations. That’s what the Cloud should mean to all of us in 2016.

#npTech2016: “With #Analytics, opportunites will no longer be needles in haystacks”

Westmoreland predicts that even if nonprofit resources don’t grow, stronger opportunities for donor retention and cultivation will grow in 2016 because technology will provide smarter, real-time analytics. For donors, this idea of “smart analytics” means more personal interactions for smart nonprofits and ultimately the building of more lasting relationships. A great trend for all of us.


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