Digital nonprofits start with people changing the way they work through redesigned processes made possible by technology. A digitally transformed nonprofit benefits from beneficiary-centric connected work flows, the agility of networked organization structures, more fully informed decisions made with good and readily available data, and the potential of asset-light operations. Digital nonprofits can do good better by reimagining aid delivery to improve the world we share. As you prepare to complete the assessment, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the content below, explore our methodology and answer the survey questions. Your input will contribute to our ongoing research into the state of digital transformation within the nonprofit sector. You will receive your results via email.
In the survey, please rank how accurately the sentences reflect the present status of your nonprofit. Check out more comprehensive definitions of these terms.
Not at all – This does not happen in our organization
Occasional – We sometime do this but it’s not clear
Clear – Some groups do this in a well-defined way but it’s not replicated
Replicated – We have a PROCESS to get to scale
Better – We have a CULTURE to get to scale
The DNA Assessment is an automated, online social sector benchmarking tool that essentially serves as a GPS—a starting point—for nonprofit digital transformation. The survey measures and provides insights on a nonprofit organization’s relative strengths and weaknesses across six categories that are critical to nonprofit digital transformation. These include: Readiness (overall mindset), People, Process, Technology, Data, and Investment. For a comprehensive understanding of the DNA and the results of the first round of assessments, access the Digital Nonprofit Ability™ Assessment white paper. Please contact The Center for the Digital Nonprofit for further information.
The DNA Assessment assists NGOs by analyzing their progress toward a digital business model along two axes: their connectedness with the interests of beneficiaries (y axis), and the automation of their operations (x axis). Here are the definitions of the quadrants used in this benchmarking approach.
A technology nonprofit employs technologies as a utility (e.g., office suite, infrastructure, functional systems) to sustain business growth as usual. At this nonprofit, technology is perceived as a requirement of the modern world vs. a catalyst to mission acceleration, program transformation, or beneficiary empowerment. Investments in technologies are made out of compliance or necessity and kept to a minimum. Data is in silos, used for information outputs such as to produce reports or graphs. People view technology as a specialty best left for the IT department to do.
An automated nonprofit focuses on computerizing operations for efficiency (e.g., finance, HR, legal) and digital fundraising (e.g., donor CRM, website, social media). Money-to-mission is the process that is most often computerized and through which integrated data flows. This can be achieved through the implementation of a combination of CRM and ERP platforms. Data exists for compliance and to answer traditional business questions, such as how much did we fundraise for this?, where did we spend these funds?, who worked on what?.
A connected nonprofit provides a best-in class digital experience to field teams, partners, and beneficiaries using an ICT4D framework. The organization’s approach to technology and data is beneficiary-centric, identifying digital gaps with beneficiaries (e.g., ICT4D, skills) and providing solutions (e.g., digital trials). Data is shared both internally and with nonprofits and governments who service the same beneficiaries. Resources are allocated based on outcome/impact vs. activities/functions. Data is used to understand beneficiaries' perceptions regarding their experiences in order to provide better programs and mission results. Data is used to compare program output, outcomes, and impact across the organization.
A digital nonprofit can bridge the gap and transform how we deliver aid by combining the best of the automated and connected nonprofit models. It is inspired by powerful, readily accessible platform technologies. A digital nonprofit reimagines the relationships between the beneficiary and the nonprofit, placing the beneficiary at the center of the demand for services. The digital nonprofit delivers unique, integrated business capabilities with transparent, open data in order to do good better. The largest change is a mindset shift where orders of magnitude increase in scale and scope; and where impact can only be realized by working in collaborative systems and innovating collectively as opposed to individually. Digital nonprofits seek to build platforms for others to use and/or actively seek to find external innovation to accelerate their mission.