How non-profits can compete in today's digital age

October 15th, 2010 No Comments

For philanthropic and non-profit organizations, they are struggling. Funding is down and changing communication channels have made them increasingly irrelevant. However, in a recent op/ed in the Jewish Exponent, The Cline Group’s Josh Cline lays out several tips and suggestions for how to remain relevant.

Read the whole article here, but below are some highlights:

There is a crisis in the nonprofit world today as technological change and social media have become mainstream, and the financial crisis has wiped out the wealth of many organizations’ traditional donors.

Continued success requires new planning to reach key audiences. Proper planning pays off, especially when your large donors are spread too thin, and the digital divide means that the nonprofit may not have the knowledge to engage with the 20- to 45-year-old professional.

This is not your future challenge; this is today’s reality. While you may have a lofty history, a 25-year-old MBA is creating a new social startup with the cell phone because you are not reaching out or being relevant. To be successful today, you need to be where your audience is — or you will not be around tomorrow.

Instead of sending an e-mail or picking up the phone, people send messages on Facebook and post pictures on Twitter. When donating, it is done online or even with a cell phone. This is a fundamental shift in communication, yet too many Jewish organizations still see a static website as adequate.

What should organizations do to remain competitive? Here are a few tips:

  • Recognize the Seismic Shift in Communications. Print is dying, and content is moving to digital. The newspaper still exists; it has just moved from print to online.
  • Your Name Is Not Enough Anymore. Someone is creating a new social start-up that challenges your organization. Are you embracing it, or are threatened by it? The answer may determine whether you remain relevant.
  • Listen First. Successful organizations today listen to what their target audiences want — and then provide it.
  • Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse. Plan where you need to go in all core areas before implementing.

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