New research by Salesforce shows that while Australians are willing to roll up their sleeves and help, however, are facing challenges when trying to engage with NFPs.

Australians facing roadblocks to engaging NFPsA year on from the pandemic and nonprofits are seeing a 52% increase in demand for services yet a decline in volunteers and donations, according to new research by Salesforce. Thankfully though, Aussies are willing to help out with 37% saying they will give more time and money in the year ahead.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. The research conducted in partnership with Our Community found that 69% of respondents said they face challenges when trying to engage with and offer support to nonprofit organisations. Yikes!

45% of respondents said it was difficult to find information on how to volunteer and what opportunities were available. Interestingly, more women than men said that they plan to volunteer a lot less in 2021. Could this be because more women took on the burden of caring roles during the pandemic, leaving them less time to volunteer?

With the sharp drop in volunteering as a result of the pandemic – 64% in fact – and the sector’s heavy reliance on volunteers, any roadblock to volunteering or engaging with an organisation is a roadblock worth exploring.

Could digital be the answer?

More than half of respondents felt that nonprofits would do better with volunteers if they established an online community and engaged with them more. This combined with 61% of Aussies saying that the use of technology by NFPs would impact their level of trust for the organisation indicate that innovation in volunteerism is needed.

“Australians have moved to a digital first world and want to engage with NFPs in the same way they engage retailers, banks and governments. There’s a clear imperative to invest in seamless and comprehensive digital experiences which make it easier for people to volunteer and donate,” says Salesforce’s Regional Vice President of Non-Profit & Education, Andrew Hill.

“Now is the time to capture the increased awareness and motivation for people to give back to their communities. Reaching people both online and in-person increases the scope and ease for not-for-profits to increase volunteer engagement and drive fundraising activities.”  

In other areas of the sector, technology stepped in to provide alternatives and solutions – think virtual events and Zoom meetings. So it’s no surprise that supporters would welcome tech solution in other aspects of engagement.

Last year, F&P wrote about the future of volunteering and the impact of the pandemic on this extremely important part of a nonprofit’s workforce. We heard from a few organisations incorporating technology in their volunteering experience to keep their employees, volunteers and beneficiaries safe.

And the good news is that many organisations have been riding the accelerated wave of digital acceptance, investing in virtual events, AI technology and social media, as we saw in our Digi.Raise + EventRaise conference a few weeks ago. In the new research, of all the respondents, 43% say they’d significantly increased their use of digital technology over the past 12 months with 64% saying they plan further investment in or adoption of digital technology in the next 12 months.

Australians facing roadblocks to engaging NFPsLike Sophia ‘Puff’ Story reminded us at Digi.Raise + EventRaise, the adoption of technology – whatever it is – needs to address the needs and wants of the supporter not just make it easier to ask for donations.

As we know, people who volunteer are also more likely to donate, so it’s wise to analyse the volunteer journey not only for the boots-on-the-ground support, but the opportunity to engage with prospective donors as well. It’s time to tap into the opportunities that have arisen from the pandemic. As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons…

You can access the full report here.

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