One of the big questions for leaders and managers in the NFP sector is how do we adapt our people, products and processes to harness the digital economy that’s been fast-tracked by the global pandemic?

 To find out how NFPs are upskilling for a digital world in the context of COVID-19, PwC Australia recently asked CEOs of not-for-profit organisations to complete a condensed version of their renowned PwC Annual Global CEO Survey.

 The inaugural PwC Not-For-Profit CEO Report shows that despite the deeply challenging COVID-19 environment, upskilling for a digital world is an opportunity worth taking. In fact, 77% of NFP CEOs said the need for the digital upskilling of employees has become a higher priority in the context of COVID-19. Unfortunately, 61% say the greatest challenge faced in their upskilling efforts is a lack of resources to conduct the upskilling programs needed.

 According to NFP CEOs, the top outcomes from their upskilling programs are a stronger organisational culture, higher employee engagement, and greater organisational growth. In order to achieve these outcomes, the report suggests NFP leaders need to be asking themselves some critical questions around upskilling, collaboration and growth.

Upskilling & Collaborating to Drive Growth

Here at LemonTree, we’ve certainly been upskilling ourselves to harness the winds of change and the speedy arrival of a digitally-led world. Inspite of the chaos and turmoil COVID-19 has brought, we have actively sought to use this time to embrace technology and create innovative, sustainably viable ROI impact outcomes for both ourselves and – most importantly – for our members.

Our Donor Centricity Collective events moved to the online video platform, Zoom. These events used to be face-to-face in our Sydney office, attracting an average audience of 40 – 70 Fundraising Managers from the greater Sydney area. Since switching to virtual events, we’ve been able to extend the value of DCC to NFPs across the entire country, attracting over 100 Fundraising Managers per event. There’s been some trial and error as we upskill ourselves with the technology, but our DCC members have been quick to tell us they’ve found the events have “great tangible ideas”, “immediate actions”, and “inspiring speakers”.

As a data insights and analytics collaborative, collaboration is in our DNA. This year, we’ve partnered with More Impact, Cornucopia and Conversr to launch an exciting new product offering called Primed. Primed is an end-to-end engagement solution that helps NFPs access and nurture untapped potential and convert more of their donors through digital channels such as social media, AI SMS and the automation of supporter experiences. LemonTree member and Regular Giving Manager at Bush Heritage Australia, Matt Small describes it best, saying “Primed sits at a really interesting crossroad between the supporter journey and the technology available. If you mix those two things – as Primed does – you can really improve the experience for the donor and really engage people who you thought were in the ‘too-hard’ bucket. It’s an opportunity to do things a little bit differently, more efficiently and smarter.” This smarter, more efficient way of engaging with their donors meant Bush Heritage converted 309 new regular givers and acquired 113 new single gift donations in their first Primed campaign. We’re now in the middle of their second campaign and results are already looking promising.

Whilst we agree with the PwC study that collaboration is a central ingredient to growth and success in this new world, we would suggest that you need to be both broad and specific about who you collaborate with.

Don’t just limit your thinking to the traditional academic and government institutions. Think more broadly about who you can collaborate with to create some win-win-win solutions for you, your partners and your target audience. But also be specific – stay focused on your purpose and seek to collaborate with those who align with it. For example, our purpose at LemonTree is to grow sustainable giving in Australia. When we look back on 2020, finding the right partnerships with organisations that are leading the way in the digital economy has been the core catalyst to driving rapid upskilling and adoption for us. But it’s been equally as important for us to build sustainable collaborative partnerships that not only help fuel growth for our members, but fuel our collective progress to grow more sustainable giving in Australia.

How are you and your organisation are upskilling and collaborating to increase employee engagement and drive growth?