Adapting nonprofits missions for digital strategies

By - March 23, 2022


Nonprofits are being forced to look closely at their missions and adapting them to their current and future digital environment. Whether their mission is being the voice of an industry, working to advance a cause or even bring people together, adapting a mission requires nonprofits to ask themselves some tough questions. For example, are they providing value to their members, are they adapting and reinventing themselves, are they aligning their existing programs to meet any emergency needs, are they avoiding impulse decisions and of highest priority, are they remaining relevant and essential?

The nonprofit industry is now being pushed to look at things that may have been set a side, they are pushed into a future where digital techniques need to become what makes them essential and relevant.

There are a variety of areas in which nonprofits can adapt their programs and delivery to make sure they are keeping relevant to their constituent. The key areas for Nonprofits revolve around education, events, community, and leadership.

Within education they are going to need to leverage a learning management systems or maybe offer different accreditations for their constituents so they can better adapt themselves for workforce barriers. Events are also going to need to be adapted for the next normal. What will meetings look like going forward, what type of hybrid model can be offered to better accommodate participates and sponsors. Also the need for community is going to be exemplified, are nonprofits able to provide a source of comfort, companionship and empathy as a digital home for their constituents. And last but not least, is Leadership around the cause or industry, are they able to be the source of knowledge, direction, and advocacy their constituents need to navigate through today, tomorrow and their future?

Building digital strategies upon each of these can better align their organization to their constituents, their mission and keep their relevance. Let’s dig a little bit deeper into each of these areas.

Education Digital Strategy

Nonprofits education strategy can be based on a learning management software platform. Can a nonprofit provide Certifications, License, or accreditations to their constituents? These are education opportunities that can deliver their constituents a reason to become a part of their organization.

Given the current demands on constituents, maybe considering bite size programing and micro certifications that would make it easier as demand for flexibility and attention have changed.  Focus on making the material easy to consume. In the traditional form of eLearning learners have had to endure 30-60 minus of training and it fails to meet the needs of our modern leaners.   Let’s be real, the increasingly noisiness of the world where everything is scream for our attention, education strategies need to adapt. A 20-minute pieces of bite size learning can have the ability to compete with all the distractions of the digital age. There is a Facebook newsfeed, linked in, the email from your spouse, your children running around, homeschooling, the dog, the list goes on and on. Capturing constituent’s attention for 20 minutes has standing power against all these distractions.  Have you tried putting a whole apple in your mouth at once, it’s an overwhelming prospect and should you success, it would be near impossible to digest. Breaking it down into manageable chunks, suits the way our brain processes information. Bite size learning also gives the consumer the ability to act immediately on the knowledge they have gained, where traditional learning models forced learners to wade through irrelevant material. A great example of this bite size learning in action most of us have heard of is Ted Talks. Ted talks is a short presentation that focuses on the sharing ideas globally, in less than 20 minutes, they have proven the need for content that is long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention.

Events Digital Strategy

As nonprofits start to move forward, what will events look like? As we have all become accustomed to the meeting virtually over the last year, chances are it is going to be an expected addition to attending in person meetings going forward. And for good reason, not only will nonprofits be able to accommodate larger capacity and overcome geographical limitations of constituents, they also will have the ability to keep the conversations going well after the event.

So what does this hybrid event model look like, nonprofits need to be thinking holistically for their meeting strategy. What about sponsorship, have they been able to show the advantages of this new model to their sponsors, just think about it, given this new hybrid approach, they have the opportunity to reach every single participate, where in the traditional model their exposer was limited with all the distractions of an exclusively in person live event.

Leadership Digital Strategy

Nonprofits Digital strategy for Leadership needs to also evolve to recognize that constituents are coming to them for perspective. They need to be able to provide thought leadership and know where they want to stand as an organization. Being an Advocate for their constituents is critical and in some cases the core function of the organization. Are they able to provide the resources and direction they need? Can they be the power behind constituents to form a single voice that can be heard?

Community Digital Strategy

The last piece of digital strategy nonprofits need to think about is community. Now more than ever constituents are going to be looking for a source of companionship and comfort. Providing a digital home where they can communicate is fundamental.  It is critical that they have a place to come that can provide them timely, relevant, and reliable information. Again, as I mentioned earlier, constituent’s attention is divided more than ever, and in order to capture their attention their message should be delivered in a way that is digestible. Can the organization considerer a daily huddle type of update, short and frequent. Also, a great way to add authenticity is to format their message into a video. Not only is it easier to consume, but it will also add a touch of personal touch that their constituents need more than ever.

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