In the course of working with a client, consultants should be able to be direct. In this article, we want to do just that. There is a smarter way to select Database Software for Nonprofits . In order to approach software selection process smarter, we have provided 5 ways to handle the process more efficiently and effectively here.
So, without being to snarky, the process for most nonprofits is typically delegated to a lead staff member who is overwhelmed in their current position and likely not experienced to handle the process successfully.
The person charged with finding the enterprise solution which will address all the needs of the organization (Member, Donor, Accounting, Government Relations, Education, Web Site eCommerce, PCI compliance etc.) doesn’t have the background, time, or buy in from the rest of the organization to address & thoroughly understand all facets involved in finding a “solution” which will completely address the strategy, requirements, and budget of the organization. We see it all too often.
5 Quick Tips For Selecting Database Software for Nonprofits
How you manage your databases, reports, and payroll, as well as any other organizational things you do will greatly determine the success of your non-profit organization. So how do you choose the most beneficial software for your organization? Below you will find 5 factors to keep in mind if you have been tasked with this monumental task of finding the proper database Software for your association or nonprofit:
1) Focus on Strategy
If you are an educational organization, you will need continuing education software, records-keeping capabilities, and other aspects. If you are a fundraising organization, you may need software that can correlate data from previous fundraisers with current efforts, and more. So consider what the objective is first, then carefully choose a database software for nonprofits which will meet these needs.
2) Determine How will automation help
Consider the need for “automation.” Not everyone needs automation, but certain situations call for this, such as an online payment gateway for members, a 24/7 members’ access area, and other automatic processes. You will quickly find that most nonprofit systems will be able to store data (even access can do that), what you need to focus in on is how finding the right solution will improve revenue, decrease costs, improve customer satisfaction, & truly become a tool for your staff to use in their day to day operations. It must be viewed as a “blessing” not a “curse”.
3) Consider your budget
Software can be expensive, so you need to think about what you should spend the most money on. Challenge the budget which your board states is appropriate for this expenditure. If your organization is changing out the enterprise software platform, you need to be realistic about the costs . Don’t rush in and purchase the first software package you come across. Instead, carefully consider the type of setup you need to conduct business the way you need to, and don’t overextend yourself. Software can do you no good if you cannot afford to maintain it.
4) Analyze Key Features
However, not all features are important for the smooth running of your operation. Some are just matters of convenience. Learn to separate the ‘needs’ from the ‘wants’ and don’t buy software just because of the features it offers. Instead focus on what you really need it to do over the long term and purchase on that basis.
5) Integration needs
Most organizations who call us today want to eliminate disparate systems. It’s an awesome goal but in reality, a best of breed system may be worth keeping. Decide if you want to integrate it with staff or not. Some software is “stand alone” and needs little or no human interaction. Others require daily attention from staff members. Decide if the software solution you are considering will require staff to be involved. Also consider the amount of training this might involve, and whether or not you have the manpower to carry this through.
We get it. It’s intimidating to take on a project of finding a solution for the enterprise.
Deciding which database software to use in your non-profit business or organization is not an easy process. There are so many different software packages to choose from. Before you purchase, consider the value of professional software selection services from the experts. We take a holistic approach to helping you find the right software for your type of organization, whether it is member focused, educational in nature, fundraising, government-related, or other.
If you are in a quandary as to which type of software fits your needs, please contact us.