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Dissecting the biggest digital transformation challenges for nonprofits

by | Nov 6, 2023 | Public Relations

It’s not just sales-focused organizations that are struggling with implementing a successful digital transformation—new research from enterprise cloud applications firm Unit4 reveals the significant barriers curtailing the transformation journeys of nonprofits. The researchers found widespread consensus on the benefits of cloud solutions, but barriers remain.

Nonprofit organizations recognize the potential benefits of adopting the latest technology, with the vast majority having taken some steps to implement cloud-based solutions. However, this new survey of nonprofit leaders found that major challenges remain, such as resistance to change, data silos and integration issues.

“Emerging technology presents a vast opportunity for nonprofits with the potential to increase their impact and overcome security and fraud challenges that have historically hindered them,” said Chris Brewer, nonprofit strategic industry architect at Unit4, in a news release. “However, in order to realize these gains, nonprofits will first need to find new solutions to achieve digital transformation.”

Key findings include:

Digital transformation is a major priority

Six in 10 (50 percent) of surveyed nonprofit leaders identified digital transformation as a key priority, and approximately 90 percent have already implemented cloud-based solutions or have begun deploying cloud assets, and 86 percent say their organizations anticipate completing their digital transformation within two years.

Privacy and security are the primary drivers

More than half of respondents (54 percent) say improving privacy and security is a major reason for digital transformation, followed by those who cited delivering a better customer experience (46 percent) and achieving greater productivity (44 percent).

There’s an overwhelming consensus in favor of cloud solutions

Almost all leaders surveyed (97 percent) in the U.K. and 94 percent of U.S. respondents say cloud solutions will have a positive impact on their nonprofit organization, and nine in 10 survey participants agree that cloud solutions will improve accessibility for remote workers, increase collaboration, enhance flexibility and reduce infrastructure costs

Significant barriers to cloud adoption include internal factors

Approximately three-quarters of survey respondents cited key factors contributing to slowing technology adoption such as resistance to change, siloed information and issues with integration. About 70 percent said a larger budget and additional resources would help their organizations complete digital transformation.

Prioritizing digital transformation to amplify impact

The survey also identified customization, industry knowledge, value, support in implementation and features as areas of high importance to nonprofit leaders.

“When organizations fully understand their options, nonprofit leaders who are focused on digital transformation can overcome the remaining challenges and obtain the cloud-based solutions they need to make a greater impact on the world,” said Brewer.

Staying up to date on today’s technological advancements is imperative to ensure nonprofits can continue their commitment to social causes and community impact. Intuitive, flexible cloud-based solutions will increase efficiency, optimize resources and build trust while allowing nonprofit organizations to deliver on a greater mission impact.

Read Unit4’s ebook for nonprofits here.

The findings of this study are based on interviews with more than 200 senior HR, IT and finance professionals at nonprofit organizations with at least 250 and up to 10,000 employees in the U.S. and U.K. Unit4 commissioned independent market research firm DJS Research to conduct the survey.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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