September 28, 2015

2015 Nonprofit Technology Staffing & Investments Report

2015 Nonprofit Staffing ReportNow in our ninth year of collecting and reporting on these nonprofit technology spending and practices data, this research provides valuable benchmarks to help you assess and plan your technology budgets and strategies, and considers the nonprofit sector as a whole to gauge the maturity and effectiveness of technology strategies and use.



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With NTEN’s theory of change in mind, this report examines technology staffing levels, technology budgets, overall organizational approach to technology decisions, as well as technology oversight and management practices. Over 700 individuals from nonprofits participated in taking the survey, ranging from various operating budget size, staff size, and more.

Key findings from this year’s survey:

  • On average, nonprofits have 4.6 technology-responsible staff.
  • On average, each technology responsible staff supports about 28 organizational staff members.
  • We continue to see a positive trend in terms of including technology in strategic plans with 66% of all respondents indicating this practice.
  • The median technology budget as a percentage of the organization’s total operating budget across all organization sizes in our survey ranges from 1% to 2.2%.
  • We asked respondents to indicate the number of technology-responsible staff with technology credentials (e.g., a degree or certificate in IT, computing, or programming). We found a strong correlation between Technology Adoption and number of technology-responsible staff with credentials.
  • We have seen some positive change regarding respondents conducting Return on Investment (ROI) evaluation for technology investments: while we’ve seen no increase in firm Yes’s here, we see the following: last year only 36% reported conducting informal or infrequent ROI, compared to 42% this year. This has moved the “No” responses from 48% last year to 41% this year.


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Amy Sample Ward
Amy is dedicated to educating and supporting organizations in using technology to create meaningful community engagement and make lasting change. Whether it is by connecting individuals, organizations, campaigns, or possibilities, Amy hopes to facilitate the nonprofit technology sector transitioning into a movement-based force for positive change. In addition to serving as NTEN’s CEO, she is a speaker, author, and trainer having worked with groups and spoken at events around the world. In 2013, she co-authored Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to implement online multichannel strategies to spark advocacy, raise money, and engage your community with Allyson Kapin. She previously co-authored Social by Social, a handbook in using social technologies for social impact, and has contributed to various other publications about social change and technology. After opportunities to live and travel around the US and beyond, she is happy to be back in her native state of Oregon. Offline, Amy is hiking, biking, or exploring with her husband, son, and dog, with a preference for Oregon’s coast or wine country.