Are you still using an excel sheet to maintain the records of your donors? In such a case inefficient data management can adversely affect the growth of the nonprofit. When the data input takes place manually it is difficult to update and make changes in the information. Instead of getting exhausted while managing the donor data you can use charity management software.
There are some factors that you must consider before purchasing charity software.
1. A Strategic Start
A charity software package is not only fruitful but also a complex tool. Just buying software won’t assist you in performing the nonprofit’s daily tasks; you also need to know your requirements before making a purchase.
The online charity management software should be able to address your fundraising needs, donation management functions and help you in making the bigger decisions through report and data assessment.
You need to develop a strategy that completely depends on the goals you want to achieve through the charity software. You should prioritize the following questions:
- What are the functions that the system can perform along with storing data?
- Does it fall in your budget?
- What are the support and maintenance activities the software needs for interpretation?
Create a well-thought strategy to buy software by making a wish list with the assistance of the all your staff members.
2. Get Support from all the Departments in the Organization
There are multiple aspects that the charity software will help you deal with especially fundraising. You need to explore all the departments of the organization for getting a feedback as sometimes the members you think will not use the software employ it the most. The software you purchase must address the requirements of the nonprofit universally for delivering the best results.
One solution is to conduct a survey with your development, marketing, and management teams. If you take the pain of collecting information from every employee they will perform the job more effectively as the software will have all the tools needed.
3. Know the Number of People Who will Use the System
Another significant factor to consider is how big your staff is. There are complex systems which can register thousands of members and record unlimited data, but cost you an enormous amount. Why to purchase software that costs you thousands of dollars when you can run the nonprofit effectively on software that would cost a much lower amount?
Most of the vendors will provide you with packages depending on the number of users you will register; therefore, you can definitely find an appropriate one. However, it is also crucial to consider that the software can be updated in the coming years if there is enormous expansion in the number of people working for the nonprofit.
Estimate the number of people working in your staff and then add an extra margin to know the approximate amount.
4. Setup Requirements
Once charity software is installed into the nonprofit’s computer you will have to transfer a huge amount of data in the traditional format to the software. This will always involve the setup; some platforms may not work into your system and you may require purchasing an additional package to handle the compatibility issues of the charity software. Thus, you need to check the set-up requirements.
Also, not all the vendors provide you installation and support services as a consequence the burden of facing technical issues comes on you.
In case this happens you should consider the following two aspects
Compatibility– The software should operate on all the operating systems whether it is Windows, Mac, etc. While taking backups or storing the data it must not hang and also be compatible with the data management system your organization uses. You can ask the vendor to render the functioning of the setup through a demo or presentation once you choose the software.
Support Services– If you do not have an IT department the support services will be one of the most crucial needs of your nonprofit. Gather details on how you will get assistance when there is an issue such as a problem in settings of the software – through a phone call, chat or a technical person.
5. Find Out the Features
The features can differ from one charity software to another. One package may have extraordinary event planning features while the other could be better at task management.
At first you may think that the variability is confusing, but actually, it has a positive impact. The nonprofit can purchase a system which perfectly fits their budget and needs. Most of the nonprofits get the packages that fulfill all their needs through built-in features.
But once you start operating through the church management system you might require some additional elements which need to be integrated.
The conclusion is that you must consider both the in-built features and the ones that can be integrated which depend on –
- Charity’s Website
- Payment Service
- Crowd Funding Plans
- Volunteering Process
- Wealth Screening Tools
- Event Management and Planning Strategies
Integration may sound a great idea but technically it is done only when no solution is left as it is both time-taking and pricey. The integration of a new feature should be smooth and successful without the help of a third party platform that could increase the cost and complexity in future.
The above are some of the most important aspects you can consider before buying charity management software. Some of them will help you know the front end and back end requirements while others will help you evaluate how you can communicate with the staff.