According to Technology for Change, demos can be monotonous and sometimes provide little information towards helping you decide if the software is a good fit for your nonprofit. Rather than sitting through a "one size fits all" demo, take charge and make the most out of this demonstration.
The vendor might actually be offering a great product, but it's up to you to identify how the technology could benefit your organization.
Request a custom demo
For smaller software investments, this might not be necessary (i.e., applications), however for a long term, big tech investment, a custom demo or consultation is very reasonable. Nonprofits have few resources allocated toward technology so emphasizing a demo that highlights particular features will make it easier for you to compare those specific features with similar software and offerings.
Align to goals
Does this software fill a need for your nonprofit? And not just, "we need a CRM." I'm talking about specific goals and capabilities your nonprofit would like to access in order to improve overall performance. Assessing the critical needs and minor needs will help nonprofit execs evaluate and compare software.
Technology for Change recommends having at least 2 people participate in a software demonstration--and if you are comparing software, make sure the same 2 people sit in on all demonstrations. Later on, the 2 participants should catch up and compare notes. One person might have noticed a feature that fills a need no one realized it could or both participants might have come to the same conclusions!