Getting to the Root of Your Cause: Grassroots Software

Grassroots government relations software is imperative for your nonprofit association

As a lobbyist, if you find yourself intimidated by the endless tasks at hand in trying to push your cause and give hearty voice to the most pressing issues, you may be saying to yourself: “I wish there was an app for this.” Well, free applications from your store of choice may not be an option just yet, but there are developers providing Grassroots software aimed at making your presence more distinct and your efforts more efficient. In this article, we wanted to explore Government relations software as it relates to nonprofits.

What can GrassRoots Government Relations Software do for you?

As with most software tools today, there are many software companies who work tirelessly to develop innovative applications designed to help government relations professionals in nonprofits. Whether it’s a means of narrowing down constituents and legislative representatives to connect with, collecting data from your local advocates and supporters, recruiting volunteers, or sending out updates to your lobbying staff, specialized software can help expedite the work load and ensure your agenda is on track. Here are several key areas:

Legislator Database

With Government relationship software you may have an up to date database of all Members of Congress, congressional office staff, congressional committee staff, congressional leadership staff, state legislators and state executives. With these tools they will provide an intuitive interface for using this extensive database to your advantage. Because it’s in a database, you can  have filtering tools to generate reports, exports, labels and emails tailored to your needs.

Grass Roots

Managing your Grass Roots contacts can be tough without the right software program. With many government relations software, relevant contacts can be imported with address information and automatically matched to their legislators. Filters allow you to organize, report on, export and email your contacts as needed. Stop spending so much time on the menial, repetitive functions and let automation do the work for you. With Government relations software you simplify processes, utilize your staff to a fuller potential, and focus on what really matters: connecting and communicating.

Social Media and The Web

Having the information is one thing, but making it available to the right people is another all together. Find advocates through networking sites like Facebook or by managing your own webpage and making your content reachable and relatable. Connect with legislators in your community who can put more power behind your voice. Customize e-mails to reach your target audience– let them know who you are and what you stand for and why you’re more important than the other 300 messages waiting to be read.

With a few simple steps you can easily add information to your organization’s Facebook page. Once integrated into your page, there are several features designed to encourage not only your Facebook advocates to take action but their friends as well, increasing your advocacy campaign’s impact.

Congress Information going Mobile 

Can you imagine obtaining information on the house floor via a mobile device? With many Government relations software you can do just that today. Many systems allow you to access and update all of your legislative information in the database. For example, you may obtain your directory of congress, congressional staff, and state legislators, vote history, find the bills with recent changes to bill status or cosponsors, track all your hill contacts and expenses, & congressional staff locator.

These are just several ways government relations software is impacting legislative lobbying today. If these components sound appealing to you, but you’re simply not quite sure where to begin, contact us . We can help you find the right solution you need to succeed. Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Can Donor Software help Your Planned Giving Programs?

Software for Nonprofits can help your planned giving abilities.

Planned giving is an important source of revenue for nonprofits, case but many organizations lack the technology to make the best use of their opportunities. In this article, we wanted to highlight how donor software may strengthen your ability to grow planned giving at your nonprofit. And, we will take a look at how the right donor management software can help you and your donors achieve your philanthropic objectives.

Yes, Donor Management Software can make a difference

Planned giving has traditionally been defined as the gift that an individual makes near the end of his or her lifetime. More than 90% of planned giving takes the form of bequests, but there are plenty of other vehicles including annuities, trusts and gifts of stock or property. Planned giving basically refers to any gift that requires more thought and effort than just writing a check.

Relationships:

Whatever the vehicle, planned giving is based on personal relationships. By selecting donor software that helps strengthen relationships over time, you’ll have the support you need to reach out to donors every step of the way. The basic tenants of customer management is about developing relationships. Donor Management software should have the ability to help you store demographic information about donors, track giving history and participation, perform basic activity management, and help you communicate more efficiently throughout your process with donors.

Identifying and Targeting prospects:

Sadly, organizations often don’t know that their donors have made a bequest until they receive a notification letter from an estate attorney after the individual is deceased. Keep in mind that people who make planned gifts are not necessarily major donors. They’re more likely to be people who make frequent gifts over a long time period. A good donor software for nonprofits can help you analyze giving history so you can recognize them sooner.

Personalizing cultivation strategies:

At the very least, you want to stay in touch with people who you know have included your organization in their will. You can use software to zip sort them for visits when a staff member is in the area. You may also want to send them special materials like event invitations and greeting cards which can be segmented via a good donor database system.

Managing complex information:

Automation will also help you with segmentation to tailor your solicitations to the donor’s profile. Mid-career professionals may be starting to think about their wills. Elderly widows may appreciate the income from an annuity. At the same time, you’ll want to track which marketing campaigns are most effective so you know how to allocate your resources. Email marketing solutions and even more advanced marketing automation software can help automate even the most complex giving campaigns.

If you are seeking a solution or would like to visit about options, please Contact us for help in finding the exact software automation needed to achieve your mission. Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

 

Email Marketing Software can help nonprofits achieve results in planned giving. Free ebook!

Good Software can be found in the partners you choose

Nonprofit software requires support like every other software program. You need a partner you can trust!

Are you ready for this? Despite what you may think or want to believe, often times new software is not what is needed to help your organization move it’s mission forward. Software is not the silver bullet we all hope it will be in our respective business. In this short article, I want to emphasize the importance of good support in software success. And, how important “support” should be on your short list if and when you may be shopping for a solution.

Good Software requires a dependable partner

I can’t “shout this loud enough”, initial and ongoing services by a skilled provider are critical to the successful implementation of a software program! In fact, service is likely as important as the features in determining true value. When auditioning for new software, a company must know what it needs the program to do specifically. Next, the software company has to provide the knowledge and IT expertise to complete the implementation successfully. And, finally, training classes and help manuals are introductory at best. In order to succeed, you will need a highly knowledgeable support provider to reinforce and augment user knowledge long-term with your chosen solution.

Here is a list of things to consider when selecting a support partner:

Hotline Services: 

What kind of hotline services are available and from whom? You may want to pay a moderate rate for unlimited support from an official, authoritative source. When is support available? If you are on the East Coast and dealing with a West coast company, it’s important to know how the provider handles support for you.

Support Tenure: 

How long has the typical support person been with the company? Do they have turnover? It’s not realistic to expect that you will not have a new person handling support sometimes. However, you should expect a software provider to be responsible for providing the tools and training they will need to help you when needed. If there is a “revolving” door at support, there are likely problems in the work environment.

Response Time: 

How long does it take for them to return your call? You do not want to spend your life on hold. Time is of the essence when working on a deadline. You do not want to miss a deadline because you are waiting to find out how to do something new to you. After good training, it will take you several months of consistent use to learn all the ends and outs of your software. If you have an opportunity to “Test Drive” your system before the purchase, check the online documentation, help areas, training videos, & even call the vendor (not the sales rep) to determine the support you may receive. I believe, “how you sell, is how you will likely solve”. That noted, test them.

Industry Expertise: 

Do they understand your process? Does the systems engineer understand your industry? If you are billing members for conferences and books, you need someone who understands how to invoice for multiple services.

Support Software: 

Does your support partner use help desk,support, or project management software ? If they don’t, consider this a “yellow” flag. In other words, this may likely be a sign that they do not believe in providing the best support they can to their customers. At a minimum, they may be setting their support team up for failure by not arming them with the tools they need to succeed in their respective jobs.

Training for their Support Team: 

How often do they train their support team? This includes channel partners who deliver service to the community. This is tough to discern. But, a question or two about how often training transpires for their staff can go a long way in knowing how your experience will be with a software provider. In addition, check out the depth chart.

Per John Wooden, “the main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team”.

Yes, talent can win big games, but a team wins championships. In other words, it’s important that your provider have an established layer of support which they can draw upon to address your specific needs initially and long-term.

At SmartThoughts, we do not implement the software. And, we do not proclaim to be able to solve all the challenges in software. We focus on helping you secure the best possible solution to meet your business objectives. Often times the solution is finding a good support partner.

We believe that ongoing support is critical to realizing the return on investment for your software. To that end, we have aligned ourselves with complimentary business partners who we trust. And, we have developed a vast network of support providers who are experts in Membership Software, Donor Database Software & Social CRM to help ensure your success.

So, if you are looking for a support partner for the software your organization is using now, contact us. We can help. Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Finding a good software service provider is critical to success!