10 Things To Know When Choosing Your Nonprofit’s Software

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Software is an integral part of running any business or organization effectively. It allows your nonprofit to communicate effectively, save files, work faster, and accomplish your mission sooner.

Equally as important is choosing the right software for your nonprofit. Because a lot of nonprofits are on strict budgets, it is imperative to get it right the first time.

Here are 10 things your nonprofit needs to know when choosing the right software, on the right budget, and at the right time.

  1. Choose an exit strategy

    The first, and perhaps most important, thing to consider is how your data is going to be migrated to your new software. How will it be sorted? How much will it cost? What information is important, and what is less important and can be done at a later time?

  2. Define your timeline

    Set a goal and do your best to stick to it. Because a lot of nonprofits are very seasonally busy, choose the time of the year your nonprofit is less busy to set your deadline.

  3. Be prepared to double your timeline

    When setting your deadline, it might be prudent to set it a month or more before when you really want it to be completed. Implementing software or technology of any kind is a difficult and very time consuming process.

  4. Create a ‘dream list’ of features and functions

    Consider what features you know for a fact that you need. Find out if your new software will be compatible with what you already have implemented. Make sure you consider your current infrastructure’s capabilities, requirements, in addition to the user interface.

  5. Consider your employees

    Think about your employees and those whose jobs will be ostensibly impacted by this new software. How receptive are these individuals to change? How well will they adapt to a new system? How much training will be required?

  6. Be inquisitive, and thoughtful

    Ask questions, and ask often. Try reaching out to individuals at other organizations who utilize the safe software to get a feel for the kind of customer support and service you can expect. Get in touch with those not in a sales role within the company whose services you’re leasing.

  7. Understand pros and cons

    Think about what can change and what can not change in your software implementation. By knowing your timeline, what features you want, and the cost, you’ll know what you can give a little on, what you can’t give up,

  8. Know the contract

    Once you’ve made a decision on the software you want to implement, make sure you know the contract in and out. Have multiple people look it over to ensure you did not miss anything in the process.

  9. Communication is, as always, the most important

    Ask questions to the right people, both inside and out of your organization. Once you’ve made that initial purchase of the software, get to know who you will be communicating with inside the provider’s organization to ensure quality communication.

  10. Define a budget

    Software and other tech implementations often come with unforeseen surprises and costs. Ensure your budget has enough room for contingency and emergency funds.

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