nonprofit technology assessment

How to Assess Your Nonprofit’s Digital Maturity

As we find ourselves more and more firmly rooted in the digital age, it makes sense to consider a nonprofit technology assessment. These can help us see digital maturity levels in our volunteer programs.

With rapidly evolving public preferences, there’s clearly increased stress on nonprofits to compete. Without a strategy that embraces technological evolutions, nonprofits risk losing the attention and engagement of their most vital supporters.

But, many volunteer programs struggle to find a path forward.

The good news is assessing your nonprofit technology level is easier than ever.

Evolving Nonprofit Technology Assessment Tools

In the past few years, there’s been some interesting thinking done around what’s called “digital maturity.” In the private sector, powerhouse consulting firms like Deloitte have begun to develop models that describe levels of advancement in technology uptake across a range of business functions.

There’s debate over the terms “digital maturity” versus digital transformation,” but the experience may feel the same at the programmatic level — the world is moving rapidly, and nonprofits struggle to keep up.

Similarly, in the nonprofit technology sector, the UK’s NVCO, in partnership with Breast Cancer Care, developed a tool to measure the digital maturity of third sector organizations in order to establish benchmarks for the field.

They’ve made the free online nonprofit technology assessment tool available to nonprofits who want to check their own maturity level. The tool covers eight dimensions of nonprofit operations focused on technology — User Experience, Analytics, Technology, Audiences, Channels & Devices, Content, Campaigns, and Governance. In their report, they also compare outcomes in these areas withe the size of their digital team.

Microsoft has also shared their perspectives on nonprofit digital transformation and offers a digital self assessment worksheet nonprofits can use to gauge their current level of maturity.

Digital Maturity in Nonprofit Technology

As we’ve helped numerous organizations improve their volunteer program strategy — and made our transformative journey from a more conventional consulting practice at Tobi Johnson & Associates to primarily digital services delivered though VolunteerPro — we’ve experienced first hand how a nonprofit technology assessment can expand reach and impact.

And yet, many organizations haven’t invested in effective tech tools. Perhaps they simply can’t yet see a vision for the future.

The fist step toward transformation is understanding. To that end, I’ve develop a preliminary framework to understand the digital maturity of volunteer programs. I hone in on eight domains (see below) of volunteer engagement where technology can play a decisive role in success.

Take a look and see where you have opportunities for growth.

Digital Maturity Matrix for Volunteer Services

nonprofit technology

This isn’t a complete model, but my hope is we can find way forward in nonprofit technology. What small, cost-neutral steps can we take to increase our digital maturity today? What tools do we already have at our disposal? And, where might we need to make strategic investments to boost our results?

I invite you to add your ideas and insights in the comments below. What’s missing? What needs to be expanded?  Let’s get the conversation started.

Available Now: Volunteer Management Progress Report — The Tech Edition

To contribute to a deeper understanding of how today’s volunteer organizations use technology, this year’s Volunteer Management Progress Report survey focuses, in part, on digital tools.

Learn how you compare on salary, satisfaction, and technology adoption.