David Neff, COO of Network for Good’s partner HelpAttack!, has co-written a new book on nonprofit success in the digital age. While the primary audience is nonprofits, in the spirit of cross-sector collaborative problem solving, the lessons are applicable to any organization trying to balance core business priorities and investment in innovation and emerging technologies – especially any organization with a triple bottom line mindset.
David Neff and Randal Moss have a new book out called the Future of Nonprofits: Innovate and Thrive in the Digital Age. (You can order it here.)
Since they just wrote an entire book on how we can create a new, more flexible, innovative organization in a digital age, I asked them what advice they could provide us. Here’s my Q&A with David Neff.
Q: What’s the biggest way the nonprofit landscape is going to change this decade?
A: I think the biggest change the nonprofit sector is going to see this decade has to do with how we track, score and analyze individual people in our organization. This could be anything from adding social media information to the fields in your donor database to changing the way we set expectations for our employees. Of course, nonprofits have to want to change for this to happen.
Q: If you were ED of a typical nonprofit, what two things should you do to prepare?
A: Invest money in technology. I know this is a very scary thing for most organizations, but it needs to be done. You can’t reply on that Access Database when the other nonprofits you are competing with have Salesforce for nonprofits. Also you don’t have the same excuses you used to. Organizations like NTEN and TechSoup are here to help you discover what you need and when you need it. Use them! The second big change is that Awareness is dead. No one is watching your PSA at 3am. You need to switch to advertising your nonprofit. And you need to budget (even small amounts) to make that advertising happen.
Q: What’s the biggest failure you cite in the book and how can we learn from it?
The demise of my personal sanity while writing it. : ) Just kidding! The biggest failure is staff turnover and how the industry treats new staff. We hire all these people in their 20’s and 30’s and then say no to all their big ideas. In our minds we simply don’t have time or resources to let them experiment. Even though we know those experiments could be home runs or just singles. The book is how to say yes to those big ideas.