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Engaging supporters in the nonprofit space

  • Posted on January 13, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

I feel very fortunate to have a plus-one role at Avanade, as the Programme Lead for our Tech for Social Good initiative. But just occasionally, my plus-one takes over my day job, which is what happened recently, as I was invited to attend not one, but two nonprofit events — which both coalesced around the theme of knowing your supporters.

The more time I spend with this highly collaborative group — the more fascinating I find the nonprofit environment. Many of the issues nonprofits face are similar to those of our corporate clients, but they often have complications — such as a more traditional workforce, who often have less technological capability — while at the same time, the need to balance increasingly sophisticated beneficiaries and donors, who are looking for an ever more seamless experience.

The first event was a networking dinner, supported by The Executive Network Club (TENS), with our Avanade U.K. executives and representatives from a number of major UK charities.  The theme for the discussion was “How do you really get to know your supporter?” and I was invited because of my Tech for Social Good role, but also because my day job is as European Marketing Lead here at Avanade — so discussing themes around how to establish and nurture a long relationship with your key audience is one near and dear to me.

The engaging discussion was focused around how important the donation experience is for donors, who are all looking for a frictionless consumer experience regardless of what they are purchasing. We also talked about the need for the experience to leave the donors feeling good about their donation. Many donors give on a one-off basis — to disaster alerts, for instance — but a good experience can inspire donors to set up a regular payment to charities and nonprofits whose mission aligns with their values, be that to help children, to support the environment, to create a new life for refugees, or any other number of very worthwhile causes.

The second event was an Avanade Imagine Workshop for nonprofits in Geneva. The objective of the Imagine Workshop is to bring together executives from across a number of nonprofits giving them the opportunity to step outside of their day-to-day challenges and collaborate with others to look at their issues in a different way.

We started the day with a couple of excellent keynotes to provide inspiration and get everyone thinking, and then quickly moved into the design thinking activities to drive out the key issues everyone is dealing with — and where they might be looking for fresh thinking and perspectives. The big topic that kept bubbling to the surface was around data and insights. It seems everyone in the nonprofit world are struggling with data. In particular, they are data rich, but insight poor — meaning they are struggling to use their data to reach their audience (donors in particular) in a meaningful way. One of the reasons, I discovered, is the disinclination of many nonprofits to put all of their data onto the cloud — from where it could be more easily shared and drawn upon to produce insight.  I probed on this reluctance to use the cloud and discovered there is a lot of skepticism and fear around data security, etc. Something I know Avanade could help with.

So, my commitment to the teams who were gracious enough to share their views with me is to assemble some of our finest Avanade minds to address this concern. Our expertise can help those in the nonprofit space work past this block, while simultaneously giving us an opportunity to fulfill our purpose of making a genuine human impact.

Tech for Social Good is Avanade’s initiative to support nonprofits with their digital transformation journey, and it is our ambition to become a trusted advisor — helping nonprofits to create value and impact for their key beneficiaries and donors through digital technology. If you would like to attend an Imagine Workshop in London, please follow this link to register.

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