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What To Look For In Nonprofit Software

Author: Adie M.
Nonprofit software

Running a successful nonprofit organization involves juggling multiple departments and activities. There’s much to consider from budgets and fundraising to donor relations and marketing. 

A comprehensive nonprofit software can help you manage your company with ease. It can support you, help streamline activities, and speed up task completion so you can spend your time doing the work that matters.

In this blog, we highlight the main factors to think about when choosing nonprofit software for your NPO.

8 Things To Look For In Nonprofit Software

These are eight features you should factor in when looking for a new nonprofit software. You can use this list to help you select a general software that can aid with overall company operations and day-to-day functionality. 

You can also use it to guide you when selecting a specialized system like auction or fundraising software that serves a specific purpose in your work.

1. Usability

The first thing you want to prioritize when picking software is usability. A complex and difficult-to-use system can become a hindrance to your company instead of a benefit. If your team (staff and volunteers) struggles to use it, it may make processes more difficult and become a problem. 

If your software is also front-facing (like an auction platform, for example), usability for customers and donors should also be a priority. Can they navigate it or find what they need without complicated instructions or confusion?

Go with a simple nonprofit software that is easy to understand and learn.

2. Accessibility

Another aspect of usability to think about is accessibility. Accessibility makes it easier for your team to stay productive and collaborate. Cloud-based systems, for example, make it possible for people to work together online. This is a key part of managing your NPO well, as there are many actors like staff, volunteers, sponsors, etc. that come together to collaborate around your cause.

Online software options also often offer viable and affordable ways to store and organize data. You don’t have to worry about data loss and your staff can access information and collaborate in real-time. They have constantly updated data and information without delay. 

3. Multi-device Functionality

Mobile functionality is another aspect of accessibility that matters, especially when working with volunteers. 

Ensure that your software is usable on all kinds of devices. With good internet or Wi-Fi, team members and volunteers should be able to use your software, no matter the device. This makes it possible to maintain productivity from anywhere at any time.

The same goes for software that customers or donors interact with, too! The more convenient and easy-to-access it is, the higher the chance that they will press that red ‘donate’ button.

Woman on laptop with mobile phone

4. Pricing

What is your budget and is the software a sustainable purchase? The software you want may have all the right features but you just can’t afford the long-term cost of using it. Then, sorry to say it, but it’s just not the right nonprofit software for you.

It’s important to look into all the fees involved in choosing software. This includes setup costs, employee onboarding, maintenance, potential upgrades, and monthly or annual fees. Some software companies may also have varying payment tiers depending on your company size, the number of users, data size, etc.

Dedicate your time to learning the details and uncovering any hidden fees you may have to pay. And, if the software provider offers it, consider a free trial period to test out the system and see if the features are worth it.

5. Scalability

Hand-in-hand with sustainability is scalability. Would the nonprofit software have the capacity to handle company growth? 

With some providers, scaling is as simple as moving to an upgraded payment package with better features. Others may offer unlimited features that you don’t have to pay extra for as you grow like unlimited storage or donor records.

It’s important to go with an option that can grow with you. Switching software later on may interrupt the flow of your operations and confuse your staff and network.

6. Customization

If your nonprofit has unique or particular functionalities that are a must in your software selection, be sure to note these. For example, if auctions are a fundamental part of your fundraising efforts, auction software that allows you to record and track bids for auctions is essential. 

Pick software that makes your existing operations easier and enables you to customize your features so you get exactly what you need.

7. Support

Tech and software don’t come easy to everybody and that might be true for your team, too. Don’t assume that everyone will know how to use the system. Rather opt for a software provider that gives you and your team the support you need. This may include onboarding at the beginning, ongoing training for software updates or upgrades, and online troubleshooting materials.

The provider should also have responsive and ongoing maintenance and technical support available. If something goes wrong, they should be easy to contact for assistance.

8. Security

As a nonprofit, it is more than likely that you work with sensitive data information. This may be information relating directly to your cause, especially if you deal with political, social, or other sensitive issues. It may also be customer and donor data including card and payment information. 

Make sure the software you choose complies with data protection regulations and has high, reliable security and information protection barriers.

Man smiling over laptop

Final Thoughts

Choosing nonprofit software is no casual task. The option you decide on has the potential to transform your company’s productivity, collaborative abilities, and efficiency. It can also impact employee satisfaction and experience.

Similarly, any software you choose for public use has an impact on your donor and network’s engagement. Usability impacts donor experience and overall satisfaction with your organization. The right software makes it easy for people to interact with your nonprofit.

Whether you’re looking for auction, CRM, or payment software, or you need a system to manage your donation website, keep the above factors in mind. We guarantee they’ll help you find the perfect software partner for your needs!