Digitalization is changing the way non-profits strategize, structure, communicate, and conduct business in the non-profit arena. What was once a simple process of converting manual systems into digitized processes has now become a business imperative. The effect and outcome of digitalization is digital transformation, which affects our consumer base, our operating infrastructure, and our overarching business strategy. Innovation, creativity, and impact can certainly happen without digitalization. But those of us in the non-profit sector will be quickly left behind in our ability to fulfill our mission if we are not immersed in the digital world and if we are not clear about how to lead in a digital environment. At Fedcap we are taking this very seriously. During our last Corporate Week—when organizational leaders from throughout the country came to New York to analyze our current performance against established benchmarks, evaluate our strategy, and plan for the future—we spent the entire week in discussions and training about digital transformation in all of our company’s processes.
Leading digital transformation requires a special set of skills. Randstad, a multi-billion-dollar global Human Resources services provider, asked hundreds of C-suite executives immersed in digital transformation what they thought were the key skills required to lead in a digital environment.
According to their Workplace 2025 Study, Randstad’s findings cited as the most important leadership characteristic the ability to communicate and keep staff engaged and connected. Communication and engagement engender trust, so that when employees balk at change and at the unknown that digitalization creates, they trust the vision laid out by leaders that their work and the organization’s mission will be better served through technology.
A close second is the ability for leaders to have a fluent ability to understand and use digital tools. This ability means dedicating resources to training upon onboarding and ensuring ongoing education as technology evolves.
Third, is the ability to prepare the ground for a culture that is driven by a hunger to learn new technologies and to experiment with integrating new technology in the workplace. This ability means constantly looking forward out the front window and anticipating what is coming next in the digital environment.
In addition, it has been our experience that leaders spearheading digital transformation also need the ability to build and sustain teams who are unafraid of courageous conversations and ongoing challenge.
What are other nonprofit leaders doing in their organizations to drive digital transformation?
I look forward to your responses!