(updated Dec. 2016)
Sometimes nonprofits are seen as second-class citizens. Not as advanced or cutting edge as for-profit organizations. But there’s a new wave of innovators in the nonprofit space and they’re demanding change and a new level of respect. It’s the new nonprofit culture.
Having worked in the technology and software space over the last 10 years I’ve seen this change occur and it’s directly related to the accessibility of enterprise tools in a hosted or cloud environment. Remember when every organization with 5 or more team members had their own in house server, a physical office, and a complicated phone system? Not anymore! A perfect example of this change is one of our clients who recently ditched their onsite server and phone system for Google Apps and a virtual phone system.
So how did all this come about?
Believe it or not, the transition started with a new website and cloud integrated CRM. Before that, this organization tracked 70% of their data in Excel spreadsheets and the rest in a variety of CRM tools such as ACT! and Raisers Edge. They also had a local version of QuickBooks which stored some contact/donor details and all of their accounting. With CiviCRM and a new website we consolidated all of this information in one place in the Cloud. Another thing happened as a result of this, they stopped maintaining all their data manually. What used to be a paper survey following an event now became an online survey that was automatically added to the individuals contact record. The added benefit to this is that if the new contact data captured is different from what is on file for the contact, their contact info is updated automatically. And because data is entered by the individual instead of a clerical employee somewhere, data tends to be more accurate. Enough about how awesome a CRM deeply integrated with your website can be…
The new website and CRM started an avalanche effect.
Our client quickly saw the possibility for automated data gathering, automated targeted marketing and automated relationship management. They wanted more. So with our help, they ditched their desktops for sleek laptops and tablets, ditched QuickBooks on premise for QuickBooks online, made the switch from a combination of Office 365 for Email and local server for file management to Google Apps for Email and Online File Management (remind me to write about our 6 month search for the best online file management tools, we picked Google Drive as the clear winner). They also ditched their hard wired phone system for a virtual PBX phone system. At this point all that was left to do was to adopt a distributed model and ditch the offices. So they did.
It’s not very often that I find an organization so embracing of change but this transformation has cut hard costs for the organization dramatically. Increased their productivity dramatically. And eliminated the need for clerical staff completely. They have more control of their data while making it more available at the same time.
This organization has an annual budget of around $3 Million and a staff of around 8.