2013 NTEN Community Survey Report

The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) conducts an annual Community Survey to find out more about the individuals and organizations in the NTEN community: we want to find out how these individuals and organizations use technology in their work, gauge the impact of NTEN programs and services on their professional development and their organization’s missions, and track trends in the nonprofit technology community over time.

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In July of 2013, we circulated the link to the online survey to the NTEN Community via direct email (sent to 38,354 contacts) and announcements in our community channels, including our blog, NTEN Discuss list, our Facebook page, our Twitter network, and our LinkedIn group. We received survey responses from 1,499 individuals.

We separated our survey into two collector segments this year: one for non-members and one for current members, and we received an overwhelming response from non-members compared to previous years: 1,043 responses from non-members, and 453 responses from members. As the NTEN community overall consists of a greater number of non-members than members, we are pleased to see this balance reflected this year in response rates.

Key Findings from the 2013 Survey

  • 20% ofthe overall NTEN Community considers their organizationsto be at the “Innovating” level on the Tech Adoption Spectrum. This is a similar finding as in the previous year’s survey. 
  • Technology Adoption is a place that NTEN membership impacts responses, however: 29% of current members are at the Innovating level compared to 16% of non-members at this level. Conversely, only 2% of Members reported they were at the Struggling level, while 9% of Non-Members reported they were at this end of the spectrum. 
  • While Innovating organizations do tend to have larger annual operating budgets — as we’ve seen in previous years — we also continue to find “Innovators” across all budget sizes, including 16% who come from organizations with budgets less than $250K. 
  • 73% of respondents from Innovating organizations indicated they have a technology-related professional development training budget, compared to just 51% of the overall community. 
  • Both NTEN Members and respondents from Innovating Organizations are more likely to consider technology as playing an important role in their organization’s Programs and Services than the average community respondent. 
  • For the first time, “new members” (those with tenures less than one year) is not the largest category among members — instead we see that members of tenure between two and five years are the most commonly represented among this year’s respondents. 
  • Like last year,”general Professional Development and Training” is the top reported reason for becoming a member of NTEN, followed closely by “To be part of the community of nonprofit technology leaders.” 
  • We are pleasantly surprised to see Executive Directors/CEOs as a growing constituency among the community, especially among non-members. 
  • When asked about key organizational challenges regarding technology, respondents made clear that as technology becomes more necessary across all functions at an organization, the burden of training all staff to execute processes and strategies consistently has become greater: they feel challenged to find the time, funding, and the right resources to train their organizational staff. 
  • The distribution of professional roles seems to be spreading out this year compared to previous years: more individuals from roles other than “IT” or “Communications/Marketing” are participating in the NTEN community — something we hope will continue to happen.

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