This year saw our first ever State of Service for Nonprofits report, which focused on nonprofit representatives sharing their insights and what changes they’ve experienced and seen since the onset of the pandemic last year.
We understand that getting the time to sit down and read a full report from start to finish isn’t always possible, so to coincide with the release of the report, this blog post will offer an overview of the key trends, findings, insight as to how a customer is enhancing their experiences for service users.
Doing more with less is not a new concept for nonprofit representatives and their organisations, but the pandemic has further underscored this reality. Still, the resourcefulness of those in the sector has surfaced as the demand for the services has grown. Nonprofit organisations have to meet the needs of many stakeholders, including beneficiaries, members, supporters, customers, and volunteers. At the forefront of being able to meet these wide-ranging needs is reskilling, training, and digital solutions.
Five key trends emerged in the findings from the report, and at the heart of these trends are experiences. The most resilient nonprofits from the past 18 months have been able to lean on digital maturity as they continue to deliver experiences to their service users.
1. Changing User Expectations
The first key trend that emerged from the findings focuses on the changing service expectations of users and how nonprofits are incorporating this into their strategies to better respond. So what does this actually look like in real terms? Users are looking for more seamless, quick, and connected experiences. But as the demand for services grows, it becomes a challenge for service professionals to balance the speed and quality service users are seeking. Ultimately, greater use of technology is key here — but using it thoughtfully instead of as a panacea for all ills is just as important.
2. Digital Investments
The next trend aligns closely with the first one and focuses on digital investments. In Europe, 65% of nonprofit representatives say they are delivering more services online than before the pandemic. What does this mean for those in the sector on a daily basis? Whether this is leveraging digital channels, automating basic aspects of work, or even using artificial intelligence in the form of chatbots, these digital tools allow organisations to scale their services more effectively and hopefully meet users’ needs at the same time.
3. User Experience Consistency
The third trend centres on the consistency of user experiences. Over 75% of service users expect consistent experiences when engaging with an organisation, and 83% of service users expect to interact with someone immediately when they contact an organisation. This means nonprofits need to have the digital infrastructure in place to ensure their users have a connected — and personalised where possible — experience when they engage.
4. Diverse Representation
Another trend that has come into focus even further these past 18 months is how organisations represent the diverse communities that many of them serve. The time for virtue signalling is now over, and if organisations are serious about tackling inequality then more diverse workforces are necessary. Less than 33% of service agents view their organisations’ diversity as excellent, so much progress is left to be made here.
5. Career Growth & Opportunity
The fifth and final trend that emerged in the State of Service report is the career path of frontline service representatives in the sector. The pandemic has underscored the key role played by service professionals, with many seeing a greater appreciation from management for their work. The report backs this up, with 79% of decision-makers ensuring significant investments in training are made. Continued access to on-demand training and technology will be crucial for empowering service professionals into the future, with 55% stating they need more training to do their jobs well.
Examples of Enhanced User Experiences
Finally, what do enhanced experiences look like for service users and the frontline professionals who deliver them? We just need to look to Guide Dogs U.K. and the CustomEyes book range they have created for people who are visually impaired. The team at Guide Dogs U.K. realised that too much valuable staff time was being taken up with processes that could be automated. With Salesforce Experience Cloud, they were able to digitise and streamline operations. This has freed up time to respond to customer feedback and continuously improve their entire system to ensure a better user experience.
We hope our bite-size version of the State of Service report gives you a feel for the trends that have emerged and will continue to shape the sector in the months and years ahead and piqued your interest to explore the full report too.
Download the full report for more insights like those highlighted above.
About the Author
EMEA Senior Campaign Lead at Salesforce.org