In April, more than 1,300 Drupal enthusiasts gathered in Portland, OR, for the first in-person DrupalCon since 2019. There were thought-provoking keynotes, inspiring and informative sessions, trainings, industry-specific summits, and opportunities to connect with friends and colleagues. I attended many of these events and gave a talk on technical strategy. It was a great experience.
Now that the dust has settled, I’ve been reflecting on the key takeaways that I’d share with clients from the nonprofit sector. What are some tips or trends that would be good for them to know? Here are three pieces of advice that can help anyone in the nonprofit sector, whether your website is built with Drupal, WordPress, or another CMS.
1. Offer your constituents multiple payment options
This is a tip I gleaned from the speakers from Classy during DrupalCon’s Nonprofit Summit.
I’m not talking about the old-fashioned choice of credit card or check. These days, there are many other ways to send money: ACH, PayPal, Venmo, cryptocurrency, and mobile wallets. If your potential donor doesn’t see their preferred method of payment, then they might stop their transaction midstream. You could be missing out on income, including recurring gifts and event registrations.
To maximize online giving, choose a fundraising platform or payment processor that supports multiple options for accepting payments. Check if your current system has more payment options that you can enable. Consider changing platforms if it doesn’t offer this support.
The folks at Classy say that PayPal is a trusted brand with older audiences, while both Venmo and PayPal are popular with millennials. And recurring giving averages are higher when ACH is available as a payment option.
If you’re worried about accepting cryptocurrency, don’t fear. There are partners who will convert those gifts into traditional dollars before transferring the funds to your organization.
2. Look at the NTEN guide to equity in tech
NTEN’s Equity Guide for Nonprofit Technology has been available since 2017. It’s been revised a few times and now reflects lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you haven’t looked at it recently, or ever, it’s well worth a thorough read.
Technology is ubiquitous in our society and in the nonprofit sector. So are commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion, but it can be hard to put those intentions into practice. The guide gives practical, actionable tips for managing and procuring technology that will foster more equitable workplaces and communities.
Some recommendations include not assuming technology expertise during hiring processes; incorporating training for new staff; creating self-explanatory, well-documented systems; and treating technology as an ongoing program expense when seeking funding.
Visit the link above and read the overview. You’ll see the guide is divided into three sections:
- Using technology within nonprofit organizations to advance equity for staff and communities
- Funding nonprofit technology to ensure successful, sustainable projects and encourage bold experimentation
- Creating and implementing technology for nonprofits that disrupts the nonprofit corporate model and recognizes the nonprofit sector’s uniqueness
Following these guidelines will promote equity in your nonprofit and enable staff to be more productive contributors. Those changes will translate into greater success for your organization.
3. Reconsider CiviCRM for managing your constituent relations
I’ll soon be working on a Drupal 9 site that integrates with CiviCRM, so I decided to go to a few sessions to learn more about it. It was also discussed at the Nonprofit Summit. I was impressed to see how feature-rich this open-source CRM actually is and how easily it can be implemented thanks to a suite of modules that tightly integrate with a Drupal website (I believe there is similar integration support for WordPress).
Third-party platforms like Salesforce or EveryAction can be quite powerful, but integrating them with your website is often painful. They typically don’t offer a seamless user experience as constituents transition from one system to another — at least not without great developer effort. And your staff have yet another system to learn.
CiviCRM offers many of the features you’d expect from a CRM platform. In addition to contact management, you can send emails and organize campaigns, collect membership payments and donations, assign website roles based on member status, create events with registration, and generate reports for your staff. And all of this data can easily flow between CiviCRM and your Drupal site.
If you already have a team of developers making regular updates to your site, adding CiviCRM alongside your Drupal or WordPress site may be a frictionless solution. Once installed, many changes are relatively straightforward — achievable through site configuration rather than custom coding.
Like all open-source software, CiviCRM isn’t completely free. There is no cost for the software itself, but there are costs associated with installing, configuring, and maintaining it, and you’ll still have to develop a business strategy for using it. If you’re just getting your feet wet in the world of CRMs, or if you’re particularly frustrated by the one you’re using, give CiviCRM a look.
DrupalCon 2022 was a busy week full of insights about Drupal, digital strategy, and the creation of inclusive products and work environments. The three ideas I’ve summarized in this blog have potential to advance your organization’s success and your ability to do good in the world. They could help you:
- Raise more money
- Operationalize a commitment to equity and social justice
- Simplify the tasks associated with your CRM
If you’re curious to learn more about how these ideas could help your organization, we should talk. To relive DrupalCon Portland, you can browse the library of DrupalCon Portland session recordings on YouTube.
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