If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably responsible for making choices about your organization’s marketing technology. Whatever your goal – raising money, finding volunteers, increasing awareness, or changing policy – the technology you choose will make or break your success. I wrote and edited this guide to offer perspective and help you make good decisions.
When I started working with nonprofits 20 years ago, we were on the cusp of a marketing technology revolution. Tens of millions of dollars flowed into companies like GetActive, Kintera, and Convio. Those companies jockeyed for market position, unveiling feature after feature to help organizations connect with supporters by email and the Web.
But, WOW, have times have changed. Massive consolidation in the market and a drying up of venture capital, many of the tools we use in the nonprofit sector HAVE LAGGED those used by our commercial peers. What's worse, poor integration capabilities force many of us to spend staff time on operational activities, rather than strategic ones. The result? Wasted staff time at best...and at worst, your organization loses out on volunteers, advocates, and REAL DONATIONS.
I'm telling you this not to bash the tools aimed at the nonprofit sector, but to suggest there are lots of tools out there that can move the needle. This guide reflects we have learned working for both nonprofit and commercial marketers for the last 20 years.
The guide will help us have better conversations about marketing technology. Before we can talk about databases or contact management or email, we should all speak a relatively similar language. I hope that you will use this guide to improve our shared understanding of concepts, to facilitate productive conversations with your IT/marketing/donor services teams, and ultimately make good choices for your organization.