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November 29, 2020
 
Nonprofits with High “Digital Maturity” Outperform Others

November 19, 2020 — Nonprofits that have a high degree of “digital maturity” have been able to win more foundation grants during the coronavirus pandemic, and more than half have accelerated their move to digital programs, according to a newly completed analysis of nonprofits.

According to the third edition of the Salesforce.org Nonprofit Trends Report, developed by Salesforce.org and the Urban Institute, only 16% of 867 nonprofits surveyed in North America and Europe were said to have high digital maturity. Most nonprofits—71%—had medium digital maturity.

Digital maturity is defined as “an organization's ability to leverage data to inform decision-making, reach new audiences, personalize communications, and forecast fundraising income.”

Key findings were as follows:

  • 48% of nonprofits with high digital maturity said foundation grants increased during the pandemic, compared to 25% of organizations with low digital maturity saying the same thing.

  • 56% of nonprofits reported that they accelerated their move to digital programs.

  • 48% of high digital maturity nonprofits said they were “Likely” to gain support for their cause over the next six months, versus nearly one in five low digital maturity organizations.

  • 55% of high digital maturity nonprofits said they were likely to be able to nurture and strengthen relationships with supporters digitally, versus 31% of low digital maturity nonprofits.

  • 85% of high digital maturity nonprofits were more likely to have met or exceeded their fundraising goals, compared to 66% of low digital maturity nonprofits.

  • 71% of high digital maturity organizations said they met or exceeded their goals for program delivery, versus 56% of medium and 44% of low digital maturity organizations.

Overall, location was not a major factor in digital maturity, Salesforce said, although nonprofits in the U.S. stood out in accelerating their move to digital events.

Perhaps most noteworthy, nonprofits with high digital maturity were better able to navigate the pandemic and are more confident, compared to those with low digital maturity, about moving forward.

For example, 75% of nonprofits with high digital maturity, compared to 35% with low digital maturity, were prepared with the technologies we needed to help navigate the shifts in operations. And 76% with high maturity said they were able to move programs online, vs. 52% with low maturity.

Looking forward, 63% of high digital maturity nonprofits vs. 28% of low digital maturity organizations said they were "more confident” or “much more confident” in their ability to acquire new supporters digitally and at scale. And 53% of high digital maturity nonprofits, vs. 32% of low digital maturity organizations, said they were more confident in their capabilities in online donations.

Looking ahead for the next six to 12 months, nonprofits with high digital maturity are more optimistic than nonprofits overall, as follows:

High Digital Maturity Nonprofits

Nonprofits Overall

Grow major giving

38%

17%

Grow planned giving

39%

19%

Gather/analyze data from online events

56%

33%

Grow online giving

43%

26%

Use less paper and spreadsheets

58%

36%

Gain support for our cause

48%

31%

Strengthen relationships with supporters

55%

41%

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