How to modernise your nonprofit on a budget


5 mins read

Is your nonprofit stuck in the technological slow lane? It might be that budget concerns are the main thing holding you back.

But you’re not alone: Nearly three-quarters of nonprofits surveyed in a Salesforce report cited digital transformation as essential. The plot twist: only one in eight said their organisation was digitally mature.

Problem is, static nonprofits risk falling behind. Not adapting drives operational inefficiencies. Resulting in wasted resources, higher costs, decreased productivity and missed opportunities to boost your impact.

All is not lost. By smartly investing in change, even limited funds can bring transformative results. Dive into the right way to modernise for your nonprofit.

Choosing the right tech

It’s easy to suffer from “shiny object syndrome”—getting distracted by flashy tech because a competitor boasts about it. But for non-profits on a budget, the glitz and glamour of high-end technology might not always be the right fit.

The specific needs and objectives of your organisation should be your guiding principle. Say you’re trying to increase supporter engagement. Instead of investing in an expansive CRM system, perhaps a targeted email marketing tool or a specialised donor management system would serve you better. It’s all about finding the right tool for the job.

When you have a clearer idea of the tech you need to progress, also consider:

  • Total cost of ownership: look past the sticker price. Factor in maintenance, training, potential add-ons, and any required hardware.
  • Scalability & flexibility: choose adaptable solutions. Where will your non-profit be in five years? Make sure the tech can evolve with you.
  • User experience: it’s not just about functionality. If the tool is too complex, it might become a resource drain rather than a boon.
  • Customisability: having the option to tailor the tech can make all the difference for niche requirements.
  • Integration capabilities: a tool that plays well with others – your existing software and tools – is crucial. Avoid the hassle of disjointed systems and data.

The “best” tech doesn’t always wear a hefty price tag. It’s the tech that seamlessly aligns with your mission, enables better performance and offers the most value.

But sifting through these aspects can be daunting, even when you know your tech. When you feel lost with so many options, a consultancy can guide you.

Maximising your tech budget with consultancy

A digital consultancy can streamline your modernisation journey. The agency should help you understand if you need something simple to move forward, like minor changes to your website. Maybe after some initial advice, you’re good to go solo. But if your needs shout louder—think revamping your entire tech system—they can provide comprehensive support.

Usually when you collaborate with an agency, clarity emerges. This is because an agency acts as a sounding board, providing fresh perspectives on challenges that might seem insurmountable to you. They could have encountered similar issues in past projects with similar clients. They can provide options you might not have considered.

An agency will ideally pay close attention to your goals, problems, ambitions and (let’s not forget) budget. They’ll use this insight to identify the right tech for the job. Equipped with the latest industry insights, they’ll discern which options are worth your time and which aren’t. From there, they’ll craft and execute a strategy that’s custom-fitted for your needs.

The gist—the right consultancy is like that one friend who gives great advice, doesn’t beat around the bush, and knows where to find the best deals. But how do you find the “right” agency?

Finding your ideal tech ally

Open dialogue from the start is a marker of reliability. In our podcast, James Craig, British Fencing’s Commercial Director, highlights the importance of thorough questioning and understanding a project’s scope at the enquiry stage before making any commitments. An agency worth its salt won’t shy away from your questions to make sure you’re on the same page.

Transparency is also vital. It’s standard practice to pay an initial fee for the agency’s time spent understanding your specific needs. However, you should always be clear about what you’re getting and how much it’s going to cost. Before diving deep into planning, there should be a good understanding of the total budget to make sure that everything goes in the right direction. There’s no point in paying for planning if the scope, timeline and budget can’t be aligned.

The agency should break down initial costs and keep you informed about potential future expenses. Remember, tech’s a bit like a houseplant: it needs regular love and care.

Beyond expertise, it’s about shared values and understanding

While expertise in the nonprofit sector adds a feather to the agency’s cap, what’s ideal is their willingness to deeply understand your organisation. Experience with startups for example could be a great foundation, as they frequently grapple with challenges akin to those nonprofits encounter, making the agency better equipped to address your issues.

Perhaps the linchpin in this whole equation is shared values. When you and your tech ally operate from a similar philosophical playbook, you have a stronger relationship. This bond guarantees you’re not just ticking boxes but squeezing every ounce of value from that tight budget.

Telescopic & you: the perfect digital duo?

We’ve teamed up with nonprofits like Challenge Works, British Fencing, School Home Support and The Valuable 500. Together, we’ve built or improved digital tools and websites that really click with their people. Every partnership is tailored, making sure each client meets their unique objectives.

Could Telescopic be the right fit for your nonprofit? Maybe. You might just need a quick chat to get clarity. Or a more thorough exploration to understand the bigger picture.

If you’re looking for full support, here’s our promise: we’ll respect your budget and strive for your objectives. If something’s not feasible upfront, we’ll lay it out straight and discuss the alternatives.

Still unsure about what to do next? Read A nonprofit’s guide to digital transformation projects. It covers everything from briefing your agency to understanding costs based on different needs.

If you’re geared up to leap forward like Challenge Works and The Valuable 500, let’s talk.