If you’ve heard it before, that’s because it’s become almost universally true: technology is changing everything. This applies to strategic planning for nonprofits as well, and there are more opportunities to reach new audiences and connect with them than ever before. While many non-profit organizations have been slow to adopt new technologies, there are many new strategies housing non-profits can employ to grow their fundraising while still keeping costs down.
If you don't have great historic data on your donors, you’re missing out on opportunities to track your lifetime relationships with them. One of the easiest technologies that housing non-profits can leverage is a CRM platform. CRM stands for customer relationship management, and even though your donors aren't technically your customers, this software can make all the difference in how you keep track of and organize your donor list.
A good CRM platform incorporates all the data you’ve collected about each donor into a profile you can use to track your relationship with them. This means that every time you've reached out to them with a mailer, an email campaign or even a phone call is recorded in one easy to access place, along with the date of the contact, whether they gave as a result of that contact, and the amount they gave if so. Making sure all your communication either runs through or is logged in your CRM gives you great visibility into the health of your donor base, what types of fundraising are working best, and what kinds aren’t connecting.
Without a system to keep track of your donor list, it can be hard to make sure you’re following up often enough with people/ You can set up a communication flows in most CRM systems that will allow you to communicate to your donors on cycles based on their own giving, helping to preserve the health of your relationship.
Every non-profit would like clearer insight into how donors want to be communicated with, and how much money they’re willing and able to donate at any given time. While predictive analytics can’t turn you into a mind reader, it can make you seem that way sometimes. Whether you’re using a CRM platform or not, many organizations already have plenty of data that they could put to good use if they had access to the right analytics tools. Most housing non-profits don't have the resources to employ an in-house analyst, and without access to the necessary tools, your donor data is an untapped resource.
The private sector has found ways to use big data, the analysis of extremely large data sets, to find patterns that are invisible to even the keenest human analysts. Combined with machine learning that allows computers to use what they learn to make the next analysis even more exact, it’s possible to uncover valuable insights that would otherwise remain hidden.
Thanks to technology like ExactAsk, non-profits are also able to leverage these innovations to put big data to work for them in their strategic planning efforts, even without the resources of a Fortune 500 company. It’s a space that’s just beginning to be explored, but it’s exciting to see how organizations are able to put this kind of advanced analysis to work to help further their missions.
3D printing is another technology that may have the potential to transform strategic planning for housing non-profits. It’s not quite developed enough to be truly useful, but the possibilities are very exciting. Though it may feel like 3D printing is brand new, it actually began in the 1980s. It’s been used in the medical space since the 90’s, and small 3D printers have been available commercially for almost twenty years.
In the future, 3D printing could allow housing non-profits to print all kinds of materials, such as supplies, food, tools and more. The ability to use multiple materials in a single printed object and faster printing and drying times will create opportunities for organizations to leverage this technology to help those in need of housing.