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Successful Nonprofit Software Selection Strategy

By Ashley Halligan, Software Advice

The June 14 edition of Tony Martignetti’s Talking Alternative Radio featured the CEOs from both Software Advice (Don Fornes) and NTEN (Amy Sample Ward). This particular episode provides ample advice for nonprofits on two very valuable topics.

Don Fornes outlines considerations and advice for those nonprofits that may be in the research phase of nonprofit software selection. While all companies should be cost-conscious of a software purchase, nonprofits need to be especially conscious of their purchasing choice given limited funds and, often, having to seek board approval before making an investment. Don’s suggestions:

  1. Don’t be romanced by the technology. Identify whether your organization is better off being “high-tech” or “high-touch.” Is technology the answer to your organization’s pain points? Or is a more high-touch approach effective in your type of organization? Generally, high-volume nonprofits tend to need more advanced technology than those that may be lower volume, but require more hands-on, or courting presence.
  2. It’s important to not only look at where you are today, but where you expect your organization to be down the road. Keeping this in mind will help you select a product that’ll scale with your nonprofit’s expected growth, preventing unnecessary investments in software if your organization outgrows the first investment.
  3. Get granular with your needs. Identify your pain point at a very specific level so you can decide whether it’s a software feature that you need, or something that can be addressed in-house. For example, if you have a brilliant grant writer on staff, will grant management software help you.
  4. Keep your plan for implementing a system, and training staff in mind. There are many amazing tools, but without adequate training, these features can become invalid. Furthermore, turnover in the nonprofit sector is higher than other markets. It’s important to remember that training can be an ongoing task if an employee leaves initially trained on a program.

To read more about nonprofit software, and the selection process, visit Salsa’s buyer's guide.

Martignetti’s archived radio shows can be found on iTunes.

Wondering if a CRM is really for you? Read the whitepaper CRMs and Nonprofits: Why You Need One, How to Use One and What to Avoid.

Topics: Supporter Management Advocacy Fundraising