Trying to follow the changes, advances, and trends in nonprofit technology, can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Even more so if all the work is falling on you alone to maintain the tools your organization has chosen. This can lead some to want to throw in the towel and give up. But deep down you know it’s important—you don’t want you or your organization to be left behind. If this sounds familiar, don’t fret. Here are a few ideas for ways you can keep your enthusiasm high and your knowledge up to date when it comes to the wide world of nonprofit digital tools.
Start by checking out online conversations about nonprofit technology. Something as simple as following #nptech on twitter is a good place to begin. You could also join nonprofit-focused LinkedIn groups. Doing this allows you to see how other organizations (and your peers) are using digital marketing tools and gives you a forum to ask for advice if you need it. The best part is that day-to-day this is not a huge lift. If you find you don’t have time one week, you can always scroll back further through LinkedIn or Twitter when your schedule is a little lighter.
Show and Tell
Another way to make you feel like the time and energy you spend learning is worth it, is to share that knowledge. After you read an awesome blog post or watch a really helpful video, schedule a lunch-and-learn with your coworkers to tell them about it. The same goes once you’ve chosen a new tool. Teach your colleagues how to set up an email, create a new event, or edit a fundraising event page. This can help you feel like there’s a communal gain for your efforts and can empower others to get more involved. Making sure you’re not the only one at your organization with the institutional knowledge is an additional benefit.
Set Ideas Aside
A parking lot for ideas is critical to avoiding that overwhelming feeling. If you come across an article and it’s not immediately relevant (or it’s too blue-sky) copy and paste the link into a document and walk away until it rises back to the top. If your tool has advanced functionality, but you’re not quite there yet, focus on exactly what you need to know at the moment. You can always go back when the time is right, but focusing on what’s most immediately useful can help you from feeling like you have one million tasks at the same time.
Disperse and Document
Sharing the load can also be helpful if you find a new tool or platform that works interdepartmentally. If it’s a tool that offers multiple functions, you can share the responsibilities, so there’s less pressure on you to become an expert in everything. Not every nonprofit has the luxury of many departments, however. If that’s the case, and you do need to learn all the ins and outs, make the most of this knowledge by documenting processes. This way if you leave your organization (for a new job, or just for vacation) you can feel confident that you’ve put resources in place to keep everything running smoothly.
Find an Expert
Finally, we recommend collaborating with strategic partners, like us, who have their fingers on the pulse of nonprofit technology, and who can share the heavy lifting. You don’t have to do it all on your own. These collaborations can involve one-time projects, or ongoing support: whatever you need to help you focus on your big-picture goals. Here at Firefly Partners we are always engaged with clients, platforms, webinars, and tools. We have a wealth of knowledge to share, a team at the ready, and experience in setting and reaching milestones. If you’re ready to jump into a digital project, reach out to us today.