by: Christine Swartzendruber, Chief Technology Officer
Traditionally software has been very expensive. You had to purchase a boxed copy and install it on a server so members of your team could share data and collaborate. The cost of infrastructure could become so high, many nonprofits were unable to get software they needed. Things have changed. With cloud software you don’t need any costly infrastructure, and if you can find an application that works for you that’s affordable, like Argenta, then you can level the playing field with larger organizations. Here are 5 important reasons your nonprofit needs software to manage your mission.
1. To Eliminate Spreadsheets.
Many nonprofits use spreadsheets for storing important information needed to effectively operate their entire organization. Spreadsheets get lost, become outdated or worse, they become corrupt and inaccessible. As a software developer, I’ve learned that the best way to understand what any organization needs is to ask them what they use spreadsheets for. Since this is usually a pain point, we can offer a solution for them fairly easily. When someone who has used spreadsheets starts using an app that automates everything for them, they never want to go back.
2. To Keep A Comprehensive Overview of Their Constituents.
An executive director may attend a conference and meet many potential donors and clients. He or she probably collects several business cards and then they might make a few notes about that contact on the back of the card. Then what? Having one place to store all the information about constituents is a must-have. With software you can enter all the information you have about the individual and then record every interaction you have with them. You can make notes and upload related files all in one easy to find record.
The status of a project is a step in its lifecycle. One project may be assigned, while another is waiting for approval. Obviously it is important to know where a project, a constituent acquisition or an invoice is in its respective lifecycle. If an invoice is overdue, you need to know so you can send a payment reminder to the client. Unless you have a photographic memory or a lot of sticky notes, how will you remember where every instance is in its lifecycle? You won’t, but your software will.
4. To Get Organized.
Some nonprofit managers claim they can run their organization using email and a good calendar program, but they’re missing the bigger picture. With cloud software that has all the tools built in, everything is in one place. You can access your data anytime, from anywhere you have internet access. By being organized and storing everything all in one place you’ll begin to understand your organization in ways you never did before and that will lead to success.
Reports help you understand what’s working for you. What’s the cost of acquiring a customer? What techniques have been effective for converting potential donors to recurring contributors? Data is your most valuable asset, and using software to zone in on what you need to know is priceless. With good software you can extrapolate information to give you a reasonable expectation for future projections based on past performances and past events.
These are only five of many reasons your nonprofit needs a great software app right now. For more information on software that can do all of this and more, check out our newest project here.