Cybersecurity - nonprofits will start to develop cybersecurity policies.
Impact measurement - This trend is about learning to use evidence-based approaches to understand how our interventions have (or don't have) an impact on our communities.
Design thinking - Our organizations are increasingly thinking outside the box to design new and scalable interventions to society's challenges. The startup world's techniques are increasingly seen in the sector where buzzwords like Agile Methodology, User-Centric Design, Iterative Prototyping, and Design Thinking have started to fly. What does this trend really mean? Just that we as nonprofits should build new services in collaboration with our communities.
Feedback loops - Feedback loops use immediate data collection from surveys and other tools to give staff an almost real-time understanding of how they are doing. When used well, we can understand how even small changes to our services improve or negatively impact our communities and shift course immediately.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) - It's not sexy, but with the constant threat of account compromise, nonprofits around the world are struggling to implement the one thing that really works. No matter what software you use, make sure that your logins are protected with a one-time-use code (OTP) from a text message or mobile app.
Advanced threat protection - Many of our organizations are the target of hostile governments or activist hackers. In today's world, nonprofits often need to be even better protected than for-profit organizations.
Interactive reporting - We can finally stop talking about dashboarding. This year's trend will be replacing all of those boring Excel spreadsheets and static reports with interactive web-based tools. These interactive reports — built on Tableau, Google Data Studio, Microsoft Power BI, and Qlik will allow everyone in our organizations to make data-driven decisions. It's not about looking pretty — it's about making data accessible.
Virtual teams - For many years now, plenty of people have worked from home occasionally, and some nonprofit teams have had a handful of members who work remotely all the time. We might be at a tipping point where this is not the exception, but the norm. New technologies ranging from Slack to robotics combined with 5G broadband make it possible for previously unthinkable categories of workers — such as surgeons! — to work remotely. In the gig economy, nonprofits will increasingly form ad hoc distributed teams with the aid of technology. And we will bring our understanding of relationships and collaboration to bear, becoming leaders in this practice even though we might be late arrivals.
Marketing automation - As nonprofits strive to generate more earned income, they will embrace marketing automation to create more personalized, relevant campaigns. This same technology will power more effective recurring giving efforts, and social media will play a key role as communication and engagement channel in this. Plus they'll facilitate the creation of virtual affinity groups connected by a common cause or constituency.
Adopting cloud solutions - A lot of organizations are hesitant to invest in new software particularly in a world where they paid heavily upfront versus the cloud where they pay a monthly fee for the service. However, data around the cost of ownership on cloud systems consistently prove a cloud adoption is financially cheaper in the long run. Not only are cloud packages cheaper than legacy systems, but they’re also more functional, provide better access to data, and streamline organizational processes.
Data analytics and data quality - In the past, navigating immense amounts of data was nearly impossible and took a vast amount of personnel hours to interpret and analyze. Now, with the help of AI, nonprofits are beginning to use these tools to identify things like when the right time to ask a donor for their next gift is, who is promoting their cause on social media and how to engage them further, what messaging is resonating with constituents and how to leverage that information, and who is most likely to attend their next charity event.
Modernizing fundraising technologies;
Mobile giving - The key component of every nonprofit’s continued success is good fundraising. New payment technologies like Duit Now, and the several e-Wallets are heavily utilized by younger donors – demographic nonprofits are struggling to reach more effectively. By incorporating these tools into a mobile-friendly package, nonprofits will no longer be losing out on a whole potential segment of their donor base, who would donate if they had these options available.
IT diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy - We can also expect in 2019 that many nonprofit IT departments will begin to address the reported lack of training and developing programs that encourage and sustain diversity, equity, and inclusion specific to IT departments.
And of course, a special shout out to Serene Lim, lawyer-activist on digital rights and cybersecurity, who had conducted a 15-minute session on why protecting digital rights is important to uphold one of our most fundamental freedoms - our freedom of expression. The key takeaway from that chat was to be mindful of what we share on our social media platforms and be aware that others who we are interacting with online are humans too, just like us. There also needs to be better accountability measures demanded from tech companies who provide all these platforms, and just because we are using them for free, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost us anything.