The Cost of Doing Nothing: Embracing Technology in Fundraising


Taking the ostrich approach to implementing technology into your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy won’t work for long. There’s a cost for those who choose to stick their heads in the sand.Technology has been a great addition to our lives. It heats our homes, gets us to work, and connects us with friends and family throughout the world.

No need to plan a meal for the picnic or gathering… a website automates the bring-a-dish tradition.

No need to call a friend… Uber can take us from point A to point B.

Every new technology from driverless cars to video drones to automated phone calls offers the possibility of improving your life — the benefits are fantastic! We can all gain from implementing automation and technology.

Shift Happens

However, we haven’t seen enough nonprofit organizations adapting to technology to assist them with their organizational goals. Today, nonprofit fundraising remains an old-school, face-to-face endeavor relying almost exclusively on human capital. And it works… for now.

Currently, potential donors prefer face-to-face engagement and personal touch — but the culture is shifting. Click To Tweet

The loss of human capital and the shift to technology and automation is happening before our very eyes. As you look at technology trends, technology-based interactions are becoming a preferred mode of connection with people.

  • Most grocery stores have at least 3 self-checkout lanes. And Amazon’s home delivery model eliminates the checkout counter completely.
  • Banks have mobile apps and ATM machines to assist their customers rather than bank clerks.
  • At Lowe’s, you don’t need an associate to locate an item — just use their app. No human interaction required.
  • Face-to-Face, brick-and-mortar retail stores are financially struggling due to competition from Amazon and eCommerce marketplaces.

Now, there is something to say about organizations that choose to continue to do business as normal. Baby Boomers enjoy the relational connection — and their assets represent over $41 trillion.

Which means that nonprofit ministries and churches that ignore these massive shifts in technology should remain viable… for about 25 years or so more. But there’s a cost associated with doing nothing.

The Cost of Nothing

Organizations are reporting lower responses to direct mail and outbound calling. Many nonprofits depend on a large workforce to make sure they can develop donors directly.

Using people-power, instead of technology can consume a lot of your budget with low rates of return. Click To Tweet

Despite recent efforts to dispel the idea of the noble, poor nonprofit, the fact remains that donors do not look highly on organizations with high overhead costs-especially when the technology exists to drive costs down.

No matter how much we hate the stigma, nonprofits that choose not to invest in cost-saving technology will face a real disadvantage.

Leveraging Tech

Seeing these trends, nonprofits must begin to leverage technological resources to begin connecting with the early adopters and the tech-savvy Generation X.

Addressing and pursuing changes within the organization now includes budgeting for software, branding, organizational structure changes, etc.

Find the balance between face-to-face fundraising and technology connected fundraising. Click To Tweet

Putting money into developing your organization due to these trends is being a good steward over what God has given you. Take a look at what some of these inspiring ministries are doing to implement new technologies into their fundraising strategies:

  • North Point Community Church has an array of technology options for donors to choose from, including a mobile app and giving online.
  • Biola University cut their planned giving costs by 80% while increasing expected gifts more than five-fold when they implemented My Legacy Planner.
  • Center for Global Impact, an evangelistic ministry, launched a peer to peer fundraising campaign centered around the NBA’s March Madness games using an online technology.

The cost of implementing technology into your fundraising efforts is within your reach — but it’s easy to get lost among all the options available.

We can help. With over 50 years of combined experience in fundraising, we’d be happy to speak with you about how technology can help drive your mission forward.
The call is free — and there’s no obligation. So let’s talk!