How to Future Proof Your Tech Stack: Start With These Three Questions

Given the many trends and rapid changes in nonprofit technology — such as the surge in popularity around the artificial intelligence tool Chat GPT, and how it can be used to assist with fundraising, advocacy, email, and so much more — accurately predicting the future is next to impossible.

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Congratulations, your 2023 plans are in place and you’re ready to have a stellar EOY! Now as your team begins planning for 2024, you’re probably wondering how you can raise more funds, how well your technology has served you so far, and most importantly, what your future will look like.

Given the many trends and rapid changes in nonprofit technology — such as the surge in popularity around the artificial intelligence tool Chat GPT, and how it can be used to assist with fundraising, advocacy, email, and so much more — accurately predicting the future is next to impossible.

What’s more useful to your nonprofit is, rather than making predictions, make preparations for the future. It’s time to begin future proofing your tech stack in order to ensure your nonprofit’s resilience in the long-term.

We recently hosted a panel on this topic at our flagship conference, ENCC DC, featuring fellow experts in the nonprofit technology space. Based on the panel’s wide-ranging discussions and key points, your team should be asking itself three big questions as you prepare to future proof your nonprofit’s tech stack.

Watch the video of our future proofing panel below, followed by the three questions:

🤔 Will you need integrations?

People often mistake effective technology for whatever seems the most glamorous. “We’re always looking for the sexiest thing that’s happening, but the unsexy things are perhaps just as important,” noted Henri Makembe (CEO, Do Big Things) during our panel.

While they may not be “sexy” per se, versatile solutions that are built to integrate with your tech stack will guarantee that “all the tools that you’re using are talking to each other,” according to Makembe. As a result, you can easily access “data that’s actionable and actually allows you to make decisions to move your program forward.”

With our integrations, the Engaging Networks unified eCRM gives you the power to sync and keep track of your important supporter data all in one place. That way, even if you switch to a new CRM (rather than eCRM), reporting tool, analytics software, or something similar in the future, your systems will remain in communication with one another and you will always have the ability to update your data with ease.

🤔 What if your solutions are sunsetted?

During one of her speaking portions, Molly Kelly (President, Digital, Zuri Group) brought up a hard truth. When it comes to bolstering your nonprofit organization’s digital strategy, “you need to consider market consolidation.”

Tech companies often go obsolete; sometimes there is a new ‘flavor of the month’ tech that doesn’t stand the test of time and those that do stick around face the possibility of acquisition. “We all see there’s consolidation in the industry,” said Kelly. “That consolidation does affect us in terms of the tools that we’re using. Also, consolidation tends to beat up smaller businesses in tech, and they just can’t make it in that space any more.”

Your team might already be all too familiar with this trend. Perhaps a particular messaging solution that your nonprofit used in the past was sunset because it couldn’t keep up with its VC-backed competitors. So you switched to one of those competitors, only to find that the product was a headache to navigate and customer support was barely responsive.

To brace yourself for the possible impacts of consolidation on your tech stack, your team should look into how the tech companies behind your solutions are funded and who they listen to the most: Is it the clients or the stakeholders? Is it the VC board looking for a quick ROI, or is it the nonprofit experts they hire to lead the company?

Engaging Networks doesn’t have outside investors, which means that our paying customers are our direct stakeholders. When we want to improve our product, we listen to our nonprofit clients who use our platform all the time.

🤔 How do you want to be valued as a customer?

Everyone knows the expression, put your money where your mouth is. It’s no surprise that this sentiment applies to how you should choose your nonprofit technology solutions.

“It’s important for nonprofits to select tech companies/partners that share similar values and are on the same page with goals and ethical principles,” said Maan Sacdalan (Director, Digital Production & Database Management, National Trust for Historic Preservation). “Tech companies that really care about your organization are often willing to work and provide customized solutions and cheer for your cause, creating a wonderful partnership that supercharges your mission.”

Being valued as a customer goes far beyond purchasing a sufficient product and then being told you’re on your own. You should be welcomed into a community where the company that provides the product is regularly available to support you and answer your questions.

Our conviction is that clients come first — that dedication is what has kept our retention rate at 97% and is showcased in our investment to the clients we serve

Engaging Networks is a nonprofit technology company that has been supporting organizations around the world for more than two decades. Over that course of time, we’ve adapted to many fluctuations in the tech sector — which is to say that we’re experts in the process of future proofing.

Want to learn how we helped The Nature Conservancy future proof for its eCRM selection? Read our in-depth case study on how we helped the organization.

In addition, make sure to watch our ENCC DC 2023 panel, “Future Proofing Your Tech Stack In a Rapidly Changing Space”.

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