Top 5 Trends for Improving Technological Capabilities in 2024
This article is published in collaboration with Infoxchange.
In a world where nongovernment organizations (NGOs) are expected to do more with less, 2024 is poised to be a transformative year for the sector with the introduction of groundbreaking digital innovations and technologies that can help these organizations improve service delivery.
Breakthroughs in generative artificial intelligence (AI) technology opened the door to a greater recognition of using technology to improve and enhance the impact of NGOs in helping the world’s most vulnerable communities.
We saw more people move from the exploratory use of AI into more practical applicable use cases. Among NGOs, which include nonprofits and charities, there was greater awareness of the importance of cybersecurity, data capture and analysis, and digital marketing as the costs to deliver services and demand to fundraise increased.
Here are the top five digital trends for 2024 that can help NGOs deliver the most impact among their stakeholders.
AI exploded in popularity last year and arguably shifted nearly every organization’s approach on optimizing technology for impact. In Infoxchange’s recent report surveying nonprofits on their digital capabilities, we found that AI use in the nonprofit sector doubled in the last year. We expect this to increase further in 2024.
The capabilities of AI have expanded far beyond just automation. Generative AI can help draft e-mails, social media copy, landing pages, and create imagery. This year, we will see more experimentation on how AI can be used to optimize engagement beyond the creation of content, including analyzing supporter behaviors, creating personalized communications, and even predict patterns, forecast trends, and more.
We will see NGOs adopting innovative technologies that has not been within reach in the past—including AI chatbots and recommendations. These tools can play a pivotal role in customer interactions, providing instant and personalized responses and enhancing customer satisfaction.
We will also see greater awareness on how to deploy AI ethically and safely, by understanding which tools better protect the sensitive information donors and beneficiaries share with NGOs.
Cyberattacks are increasingly becoming more common and complex. Infoxchange’s Asia–Pacific NGO Digital Capability Report found that one in eight organizations experienced a cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months. Cybersecurity is not just the priority for the IT team—it must be the responsibility of all staff in an organization.
Simple basic cyber hygiene processes like multi-factor authentication could make or break an organization as cyberattacks cause major reputational and trust damage. Staff and volunteers must be educated on implementing robust security measures.
In 2024, we will see a greater focus on all staff members learning how to be cyber-safe stewards, preventing risks, and taking simple measures like ensuring devices and systems have security updates installed.
Data capture and analysis
Data is a valuable resource for every not-for-profit, holding the key to tracking and evaluating impact, and helping organizations make evidence-based, informed decisions. But many charities lack the capability to capture, analyze, or understand their data.
More than 60% of organizations surveyed in the report stated they do not have a system that enables them to understand their impact. Without technology to support outcome tracking, the process of data capture and analysis can be incredibly time consuming and complex for non-data experts. But today, there are a myriad of tools available to help NGOs track outcomes without needing to hire staff with a data science degree.
As fundraising becomes more complex and online promotion becomes more competitive, it is critical that organizations utilize their data to extract insights and evidence and create stronger targeting, campaigns, and strategies to raise funds.
It is noisy out there, and many under-resourced organizations often struggle to get their message heard. We will see more use of generative AI tools to help craft more tailored, personalized communications and to develop new ideas and concepts for growth as well as fundraising strategies.
We will see more AI-powered platforms and tools to help marketers analyze vast datasets, allowing stronger customer segmentation and tailored content delivery.
Predictive analytics will help marketers forecast future trends, anticipate consumer needs and preferences, and optimize their strategies for maximum impact.
Improving marketing automation will help charities increase their productivity and allocate resources more efficiently, reducing the time needed for things like drawing up strategies, reporting, and data entry and processing, allowing more time for things like relationship building and community engagement.
As the world becomes increasingly more distributed and many NGOs continue to work remotely with staff across the country or region post COVID-19, we will see more organizations utilizing cloud infrastructure in 2024.
Cloud services and infrastructure offer NGOs an effective and scalable solution for managing their digital operations, while enhancing workflows, project management, and collaboration between staff using one source of truth for file storing and communication.
Online cloud collaboration platforms are both more important and more accessible to charities than ever before. In 2024, we will see more NGOs moving to the cloud. Those who have already migrated to the cloud will uncover new and existing tools available on their platforms that can help them dramatically improve their impact.
As we enter 2024, the intersection of technology and the NGO sector holds great promise for under-resourced organizations looking to solve some of the world's most complex problems. AI, data capture and analysis, digital marketing, cloud collaboration, and cybersecurity are all critical technology elements that all organizations should consider. Many of these tools are not expensive nor difficult to use—but require the right learnings and education to help equip staff with the essentials to make a bigger difference.
This article was made possible through the Asia–Pacific Digital Transformation Project, which is supported by Google.org, the Asian Development Bank, and partners of TechSoup Asia Pacific. Infoxchange leads the project, which includes the Asia–Pacific Digital Transformation Webinar Program that starts in February to help NGOs develop digital capability skills to accelerate impact. The webinars cover AI, cybersecurity, digital marketing, cloud collaboration, and data capture and analysis. Learn more. Sign up for Infoxchange newsletters.
Program Manager, APAC Digital Transformation Program, Infoxchange
Marcus Harvey is program manager of Infoxchange’s Asia–Pacific Digital Transformation Program. He is passionate about helping organizations use technology effectively to work smarter rather than harder and achieve measurable outcomes with the clients and communities they work with.