2017 Digital Outlook Report: 62 percent of nonprofits have no digital program

Published by Meg Gardner on

It seems kind of staggering, no? Nonetheless, that’s the finding from the third annual Digital Outlook Report, a joint effort of Care2, hjc, NTEN and The Resource Alliance.

The theme of this year’s report is “Advance Your Nonprofit’s Game to the Next Level.” It very helpfully shapes its findings into strategic information for organisations no matter where they’re at with their digital program.

“This year, after analyzing more than 530 survey responses from around the world, we found that the shape, structure, sophistication, and focus of each nonprofit organisation’s digital program is completely unique,” Mike Johnston, president of hjc, explained in a press release announcing the report’s debut. “With this in mind, we couldn’t make general pan-sector recommendations that would be appropriate and actionable for every organisation. Each organisation is simply too unique, with different levels of digital maturity.”

Based on the report’s sample of organisations from around the world, most nonprofits — 63 percent — have no digital program at all (level 1), 32 percent use basic digital programs (level 2), and only 6 percent use advanced digital programs (level 3).

Design vector created by Freepik

For the report’s purposes, a digital program is defined as “having a digital strategy, a staff member dedicated to digital strategy, measurement and tracking of key performance indicators, program analysis, plus having defined their user personas.”

Only half of all respondents had staff on-hand who were dedicated to digital strategy, the report found.

The report lays out goals and incorporates detailed case studies to show nonprofits how to achieve an efficient digital strategy tailored to their respective organisations.

“Many organisations are still getting started with digital, and that’s OK,” The Resource Alliance CEO Kyla Shawyer explains. “Everyone has to start somewhere, so you’ll be starting at Level 1 in this report. Others are slightly farther down the digital path, making improvements along the way, advancing to level 2. The final few are bravely uncovering digital best practices and generously sharing your failures and success. Level 3 is for you.” 

Care2’s Ryann Miller and hjc’s Mike Johnston will be presenting the report on Saturday, 25 March, at the 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C. You can check it out here. Give it a read, then come back and share your thoughts!

Interested in past reports?

2016 Digital Outlook Report

2015 Digital Outlook Report





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Meg Gardner

Meg Gardner is the content manager at The Resource Alliance. From 2003 to 2015, she was editor-in-chief of the US-based magazine FundRaising Success (now Nonprofit Pro). Reach her at meg@resource-alliance.org.


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