2014 NTEN Community Survey Report

Cover of the 2014 NTEN Community Survey Report

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 the summer of of 2014, we invited the NTEN Community to participate in the survey via direct email (we sent emails to contacts in our database who had not opted-out of receiving emails or participating in our research). We received survey responses from 1,039 individuals.

We separated our survey into two collector segments: one for Non-members and one for current Members, and, like last year, we received more responses from Non-members than Members, with 675 Non-member responses, and 364 Member responses. One update that we’ve made to the survey for this year is to convert a 4-point rating scale on many of the satisfaction/rating questions to a 7-point scale. You can read more about why we did this on page 2.

We’d like to note that the NTEN Community does not reflect the makeup of the broader nonprofit community. Responses and demographics of this particular group reflect, rather, the current state of what we call the nonprofit technology sector, which is made up of nonprofit staff working in various roles in their organizations (from CEOs to Program Assistants), as well as consultants and technology service providers.

Key Findings from the 2014 Survey

  • 23% of the overall NTEN Community considers their organizations to be at the “Leading” level on the Tech Adoption Spectrum. This is a slight increase compared to last year’s survey in which 20% reported that their organizations were at the top end of the spectrum.
  • NTEN Membership impacts how respondents rate their level of Tech Adoption: 31% of current Members are at the Leading level compared to 19% of Non-members at this level. Conversely, only 2.6% of Members reported they were at the Struggling level, while 11% of Non-members reported they were at this end of the spectrum.
  • While Leading organizations do tend to have larger annual operating budgets — as we’ve seen in previous years — we also continue to find “Leaders” across all budget sizes, including 14% who come from organizations with budgets less than $250K.
  • 78% of respondents from Leading organizations indicated they have a technology-related
    professional development training budget, compared to just 49% of the overall community.
  • To be part of the community of nonprofit leaders is the primary reason respondents become Members of NTEN, followed closely by “general professional development and training.”
  • NTEN Research has moved up to become the second-most valued resource among NTEN Members in this year’s survey, following the perennial favorite: the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC).
  • We are pleased to see that the NTEN Community is taking advantage of the opportunities to connect and build professional networks this year: 501 Tech Clubs, Communities of Practice, and NTEN’s online discussion forums all significantly moved up in ratings this year among Members and Nonmembers in terms of being valuable resources.
  • The relevance of NTEN resources and information was ranked among the most satisfying aspects of NTEN Membership this year for the first time.
  • We continue to see Executive Directors/CEOs as a growing constituency among the community, especially among Non-members, and see more Fundraising/Development professionals participating in the community as Members this year.
  • As we saw last year, when asked about key organizational challenges regarding technology, respondents make clear that as technology becomes more necessary across all job functions at an organization, the burden of training all staff to execute projects and strategies consistently has become greater: they feel challenged to find the time, funding, and the right resources to train their staff.
  • Respondents this year also emphasize “integration” as a key challenge their organizations are currently facing: once organizations have tools, and the staff to use them, their big challenge becomes integrating their data, channels, systems, etc., across departments.
  • We continue to watch our “veteran” category of current Members grow this year, with over 17% reporting membership tenure greater than five years.