Is A Career In NonProfit Digital Transformation Rewarding?
Digital Marketing Manager|Kerv digital
Published 06/07/22 under:
What’s it really like working on NonProfit digital transformation projects?
Kerv Digital’s founders created the company up to be different. They wanted Kerv Digital to be both a fun place to work and an ethical one (as well as being awesome at what we do of course).
One of the ways they sought to be different was by helping the NonProfit sector navigate painful Digital Transformations.
Kerv Digital have loved supporting dozens of NonProfit’s over the years, delivering cutting edge digital transformations to help them better achieve their goals of providing critical services to the vulnerable, whilst also providing a world class service to their donors and volunteers.
One of the biggest blockers to digital transformation for NonProfit’s is that they often feel a tremendous burden to invest as much money as possible in achieving their stated goals, rather than on things like organisational improvements.
Working in the tech sector, we’ve seen all too well where that path leads… outdated processes, legacy systems that have been patched, updated, and patched again long after they should have been retired, huge data siloes between departments, volunteers, staff and supporters… all of which cause’s massive slowdowns to efficiency, resulting in much less time and money going towards those who need help in the end anyway.
Anyone working towards the digital transformation of a NonProfit needs to be incredibly aware of those unique concerns, ensuring every solution, every step of a solution, takes that into account and can bring immediate ROI to the charity.
The first step towards that is in truly understanding the goals of the organisation, emphasising with their chosen cause so you can help them see the benefits to various technological solutions.
It can have its challenges but its an incredibly rewarding field. Unlike other sectors, every investment in a new piece of tech will need to be weighed and justified against spending the money instead on achieving the charities goals instead.
That being said, with the implementation of every successful solution, you’ll know you’re making a real difference to the world.
Why do I love working with NonProfit’s? It’s about being an integral element of a partnership that’s committed to making a difference for the benefit of society. Better quality than they could have had, better value than they might have had and more forward thinking than their other options. You can be confident in making a difference. – Mike Chappell – Solution Director, Kerv Digital
Working to digitally transform NonProfit’s, you’ll find both challenges and rewards; fortunately, the rewards (we feel anyway) far outweigh the challenges.
Many of the rewards you might expect… fulfilment on an emotional, personal and spiritual level, working with some incredibly dedicated, passionate and kind people and making real differences to causes.
However, some of the challenges can take people by surprise. The constant justification of spending we’ve mentioned, there’s also an increased amount of bureaucracy and governance when compared to other sectors, especially when it comes to financial matters.
We obviously think working with NonProfit’s is worth it… in fact we find it immensely rewarding. But if you’re considering a career in NonProfit digital transformation we’ll try and be fair and cover as many of the pros and cons as possible (but you’ll find far more pros than cons!).
Why do I love working with NonProfit’s? Because I Love being able to experience the genuine joy and excitement of volunteers when you are able to save their valuable time through the use of the Power Platform! – Nathan Hawkins – Principal Architect, Kerv Digital
Cons Of A Career in NonProfit Digital Transformation
Working to transform a NonProfit with tech will fulfil you and drive you crazy all at the same time so to be fair to the title of this article we’ll start with the cons (as there’s far fewer of them anyway).
NonProfit’s will always have their own way of doing things, with only insider veterans really knowing how everything works. Getting to understand that, navigate it and then transform it can be both rewarding and challenging in equal measure.
After asking around, here are some of the most common cons we’ve heard…
Seeing Rewarding Results – Digital Transformation projectstend to focus on internal systems. The work you’re doing will absolutely save the NonProfit time, money and resources but you’ll be working on the ‘outside’ so to speak. The fact that your work will help isn’t in question but unless you’re working directly for a NonProfit then you may never see the ‘end benefit’ of the money saved going on to help that charities chosen cause.
It Can Be Challenging – You can skip past this one if you’ve the kind of personality that likes a real challenge. For everyone else, working with NonProfit’s, who for years have spent all available money on their chosen cause, won’t be coming in and just plugging in a shiny out-of-the-box solution. You’ll be dealing with legacy systems you won’t have seen in years that have been patched to within an inch of their life and employees who are always franticly busy with other, more pressing priorities (such as saving the world). All of that makes the pace may be slower than many not used to this sector may be used to.
Higher Stakes – Not to lay the pressure on but in most other sectors if you get part of a solution wrong or cause delays, you’ll likely cost an organization a bit of profit. When that happens in the NonProfit sector lives are affected and that can carry a heavy weight for some developers if you’re not prepared for it.
Why do I love working with NonProfit’s? Pride. Pride in enabling an organisation to make a difference with technology which makes others’ lives easier. The indirect impact of our work is immense. – Piyush Bhatnagar – Principal Architect, Kerv Digital
Pros Of A Career in NonProfit Digital Transformation
A large portion of your life will be spent at work so feeling fulfilled during that time will always be a huge perk. There are many reasons our developers love working on NonProfit projects, from the goal aligning with their personal ethos right through to that feeling of making the world a slightly better place.
So… here’s the good bit… all the benefits to working towards NonProfit digital transformation.
Why do I love working with NonProfit’s? We are making the world a better place by automating and reducing their mundane tasks so that they have much time and energy to make someone else’s lives better and warmer – Srinivas Rao – Senior Software Engineer, Kerv Digital
Driving Change – One of the best things about digitally transforming a NonProfit has to be the sense you get of driving real change in the world. The solutions you’re helping to manifest will help empower a NonProfit for years to come in the work they do
You’ll Meet Some Fascinating People – NonProfit’s are full of some of the most dedicated and inspirational people you’ll ever meet, all from a varied and diverse background and they’ll all have a story to tell as to why they do what they do. Getting to engage and interact with these people is a huge part of the job (as well as being a huge perk) and is great for both personal and career development. You really will make contacts that will last a lifetime.
Job Stability – The world is changing, COVID saw to that, and more and more organisations are realising they need to digitally transform to stay ahead of the curve. What that means for you is there’ll be a constant stream of NonProfit’s needing your skills to automate their processes and design cutting edge solutions to help them achieve their goals… all of which means a high level of job stability.
Why do I love working with NonProfit’s? Being a cog in the wheel of an NFP organisation which helps to make a difference to people lives. In other words, positively impacting peoples live indirectly – Marc Rowley – Head of Customer Service, Kerv Digital
No Two Days Will Ever Be The Same – When working on digital transformation it’s quite common to be assigned to just one team or project. However, there can be a lot of cross pollination on NonProfit projects so it’s likely you’ll wear a lot of different hats and collate a lot of different experience working on these. All of which leads to faster career development, more varied job responsibilities and a much more enticing CV (not that you’ll want to leave!).
Your World Will Get a Lot Smaller – Woking for big corporate organisations it’s quite likely you’ll just be another cog in the machine… but NonProfit’s don’t operate like that. When creating beautifully crafted solutions it’s more than likely you’ll be pitching your ideas to the top brass… and then working with them on a daily or weekly basis as the project progresses. That closeness is great for building a sense of community and will also make you some great contacts as you progress in your career.
Flex Those Creative Muscles – The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you want to be better (and the ethos of Continuous Improvement is baked in at Kerv Digital) then each solution you work on needs to bigger and better than the last. That need for ongoing creativity is even more prevalent on NonProfit projects, where the organisations have small budgets but huge goals… It’s up to you to make the most of your ideas for them.
Job Satisfaction – Do we even need to point this one out? When you log off at 5:00 every night you’ll do so in the full knowledge that the world became a slightly better place because of what you did… and you’ll get that feeling every day.
Why do I love working with NonProfit’s? It’s just that feeling of immense happiness knowing that even a small part of our implementation makes such a great difference for an NFP, enabling them to reach more people and serve humanity with a smile – Manjunath P R – Software Architect, Kerv Digital