Sunday, 27 June 2021 17:18

Salesforce research identifies not-for-profit squeeze from both ends needs digital transformation


It will be no surprise not-for-profit (NFP) organisations have been hit hard by COVID-19 driving up demand for their services while driving down donations and volunteers. Salesforce research indicates increasing digital experiences is the key to NFP recovery.

Like almost every sector, NFPs have been negatively affected by the deep impacts of COVID-19. This includes budget constraints, fundraising activity limitations, diminished access to volunteers - all the while managing increasing demand for the support and services they offer.

Research performed by Our Community in conjunction with Salesforce - The COVID-19 Community Sector Impact Survey - surveyed 907 NFP representatives and 1,027 members of the public.

73% of NFPs rely on volunteers to deliver programs or services, but 64% reported a drop in volunteers. 67% experienced a drop in funds, with 47% reporting a significant drop. 52% have seen an increased demand for their services, with 28% reporting a significant increase. This increase spans family violence, homelessness, food relief, and childcare. 49% of NFPs say their viability is under threat.

 While the research proves NFPs are having a hard time right now, it also shows Australians are still willing to help and give time and money in the year ahead. 57% said they volunteer because they believe we all have a shared responsibility to do what we can to make the world a better place.

Yet, it's not made easy by the NFPs themselves. Their biggest obstacle, indicated by 69% of research respondents, is the challenge of how to actually engage with, and support, the NFP organisations of their choice. 45% further said it’s difficult to find information on how to volunteer and what opportunities are available.

Salesforce found NFPs need to create more engaging and seamless digital experiences. In fact, over half the respondents said they want to be engaged more with NFPs through established online communities and 61% say the use of technology has a positive impact on the degree to which they trust an organisation.

The research identifies the way forward for Australia's 600,000 community groups will be first and foremost the continued faith of Australians in the value and importance of NFPs, but secondly an investment in technology and re-skilling. Denis Moriarty, group managing director, Our Community, states, it needs “a bloody big investment by government to ensure the sector can invest in technology and reskill its workforce. We need a major industry plan for the future."

The research paints a picture of Australians wanting to engage with NFPs the same way they now engage with their banks, Government, retailers, and other services providers.

"There’s a clear imperative to invest in seamless and comprehensive digital experiences which make it easier for people to volunteer and donate … reaching people both online and in-person increases the scope and ease for not-for-profits to increase volunteer engagement and drive fundraising activities,” said Andrew Hill, regional vice president of Non-Profit & Education, Salesforce.

You can read the report online.

Image credit: "charity: water" by Julia Roy is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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