The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Nonprofit Technology

May 23, 2018  |  Gabby Weiss

Choosing the right nonprofit software can seem like an overwhelming task, from getting each stakeholder on board, to researching all of your options and hoping to find one that fits both your needs and your budget, to actually transitioning to and implementing the new system. Here are three things to keep in mind to put you on track toward finding the best option for your organization. Don’t forget to download our CRM shopping guide for step-by-step instructions for navigating the entire process, including helpful worksheets and more!

1. Think synergy

Nonprofit staff are the type of people who care about their work and will find creative solutions to their problems, create their own processes, and build the systems that they need, even with limited resources. Unfortunately, this can lead to indirect problems, such as siloed work spaces that function very well on their own but lack infrastructure for communication and cooperation with other departments. When you’re investing in new software tools, look for technology that will bring staff and information closer together. Manually pushing data back and forth between departments using multiple systems takes time that nonprofit staff often just don’t have, but there are a myriad of ways in which each department can benefit from knowing how other staff are interacting with members. For instance, fundraisers should be able to see which donors are also engaged members of the email list or active volunteers, allowing them to build more personal and informed relationships. With a unified system, your staff will can take advantage of information gathered by other departments, without having to spend precious time manually finding the data. 

2. Think maximization

Nonprofits are masters of doing more with less. Mission-driven organizations constantly strive to do more work and have more impact, even while operating with tight budgets and small staff sizes. Technology maximizes your potential by automating repetitive work, synchronizing data, and allowing you to easily spot trends and paths for growth. With tools that maximize your staff’s potential, they’ll be doing more of the work you hired them for and less mundane, time-consuming tasks that can be done by by a database instead. Time-saving automated tools maximize your staff 's productivity, allowing you to continue advancing your cause with the resources you have available. Look for a software that will propel your organization forward, enabling you to raise more money and build better programs than you had before.

3. Think growth

Too many nonprofits make the mistake of settling into systems that fit their needs in the moment, but don’t offer capabilities that will fit where you plan to be in a few years. Always evaluate investments like software tools with a forward-thinking mindset. Where do you want your organization to be in 5 years, and does this tool have what you will need to be successful then? Finding a long-term technology partner is wonderful, but not if it is holding your organization back by limiting you to your previous standards. Make sure your database has room for your organization to grow into, and is staying up-to-date with trends in marketing and fundraising by releasing regular product updates.

Keeping these three principles in mind will steer you in the right direction as you look for technology solutions that fit your organization's needs. For more, download our step-by-step guide to shopping for a CRM for your nonprofit!