A new year brings new possibilities, and also new challenges. As we step into 2024, I know that our mission-driven partners are trying to achieve big goals while navigating an ever-shifting digital landscape.
Here’s what we’re seeing as the biggest priorities for our partners across the nonprofit and government space to address this year.
1. Adopt an AI strategy
There’s no denying it: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is happening. The term encompasses a wide range of tools and practices that can support an equally wide range of work and strategies. While experimentation is still a good way to learn, the potential and pitfalls of AI demand that every organization get serious about strategies, policies, and approaches that can steer them through decisions on AI. How does your data use and use of AI align with your mission? Are there opportunities for it to accelerate your mission? Do you even have data at a stage where you can apply AI solutions? How can you ensure the ethical use of AI?
At this sea-change moment, we’re working with organizations to set holistic AI strategies and governance as part of their core organizational strategies, not just digital strategy.
2. Focus on trust
We live in fractious times. With elections happening around the world in 2024 and changing attitudes toward institutions, democracy, and foundational principles, mission-driven organizations should prepare for the possibility of fundamental shifts in their relationships with constituents.
In an environment of heated rhetoric, civic and social organizations need to proactively think about strengthening relationships with audiences and collaborating from a place of trust. Generations young and old are looking for tangible connections and real-world impact. We are emphasizing digital and communications strategies that center the communities and individuals served, and build emotional connections through storytelling and experiences.
3. Be ready to reset fundraising
Alongside trust, donor behavior is also shifting. We see massive disruption from individual givers to institutional funding streams, partnerships, and foundation grantmaking. As the economy recovers in some ways and dips in others, and elections dominate political giving, 2024 is shaping up to be a truly unique—and potentially disruptive—year for funding models.
We’re recommending diversified strategies that account for change and proactively work to shore up long-term relationships and partnerships that can not only fill gaps but also set a foundation for a sustainable model in changing times.
4. Prioritize digital flexibility
Because technology is constantly shifting, it’s paramount to run websites or other digital tools that can adapt to the times. AI may fundamentally change how we interact with information—even what we think a website looks like may be totally different in a year or two. Top-to-bottom redesign every few years will not keep up.
“Headless” and composable architecture, which de-couples the front-end design from the content structure, is increasingly our recommended solution for this ever-changing technology space. A content engine that operates more like a database can offer organizations the flexibility to change their design and user interface, without the need to fully migrate or recreate the content in a new system. This flexibility, in turn, allows space to prioritize creative, visually interesting, and attention-grabbing designs at a much faster pace.
Forum One’s 2024 commitments
Of course, we’re not just here to tell you what to focus on: we’re here to help! To be the best partner we can be, we’re doing our own work to learn, test, and iterate on all the approaches we recommend.
We’re approaching AI through research, planning, and side-by-side client work. Sharing our learning—in white papers, guides, webinars, and conferences—is a key way we follow our own advice to build trust and community in our sector. We’re exploring new fundraising and engagement strategies that prioritize changing audience needs and personalization, and the agility exemplified by headless and composable architecture underlies everything we do.
The sometimes maddening but truly inspiring thing about working in technology is that there are always things to learn. I hope you’ll join us in this new year to evolve proven approaches, navigate new technology trends, and turn ideas into impact!