How NFP's Can Use Software in Unique Ways
Many people, and small businesses for that matter, hold a false preconception about software. Whether they think it is too complex, or for the technologically adept, or too expensive; far too many organizations overlook what can often be very simple solutions to very common and unnecessary issues. This holds especially true for not-for-profits— and despite common misconceptions, there a variety of cost-efficient and viable solutions that can be implemented in any organization, regardless of size.
Measuring NFP Success
Not-for-Profits, as their name implies, are not driven by the goal of making money and driving profits and it is this lack of profit focus that makes the success of NFP’s difficult to define and more importantly, measure. None of this is to say that NFP’s are not driven to make money, it is simply how the money made is used to drive their mission that helps define their success. Being able to accurately track and allocate sources of income to functional areas is a key component to a nonprofit fulfilling their mission. The second, and arguably most important factor in nonprofits being able to complete their mission, is their ability to communicate that mission to donors and influencers.
An example of a NFP communicating their message exceptionally well, was the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge, which took the world by storm, raising $115 million in the summer of 2014. If a nonprofit organization cannot properly communicate their message, they cannot possibly hope to build a community around their brand.
A great way of improving the effectiveness of an organizations online communication strategy is by using marketing automation software such as Hootsuite or HubSpot. These services can be used to simplify both social media, and email marketing efforts. By implementing marketing automation, nonprofits can ensure leads are tended to, and their message is being communicated across all channels consistently. Nonprofits could use these tools for:
- Event Promotion
- Sharing Content That Offers Value
- Following-Up with Donors, Customers etc.
- Lead Generation
With communication being a primary goal for nonprofits, much of the time that is spent coordinating that communication can be saved by automating it. Automation will allow for the time and effort spent on managing communication channels to be allocated to different areas, increasing productivity, as well as efficiency.
Project Management Software
Another great tool at the disposal of nonprofits is project management software. Examples include ProofHub, Central Desktop, and Goplan. These tools empower nonprofits to efficiently and effectively manage multiple projects simultaneously, while maintaining productive workflow. Many nonprofits often coordinate several projects at once, and with software helping maintaining efficiency, valuable time and financial resources can be retained. Project management software is applicable to many areas that are critical to the success of NFP’s:
- Allocation of Resources
- Expense and Budget Tracking
- Task and Time Management
It is important to remember that not every organization will need all the above functionalities, and they will better benefit from equipping themselves with what is needed, rather than creating unnecessary complexity. If a nonprofit has properly implemented a project management software, they will be better prepared to complete projects on-time and within budget.
Customer Relationship Management Software
Another software solution that offers a variety of benefits for nonprofits is CRM or (Customer Relationship Management) software; examples include Salesforce and Zoho. These tools optimize data collection by centralizing important information regarding customers and clients—or in the case of nonprofits, donors. Properly leveraging sources of funding is integral to the success of an NFP, and CRM enables them to do just that. By keeping accurate record of information crucial to donor relationships, nonprofits can capitalize on and better leverage those relationships that provide the most value. CRM also saves valuable time spent on locating data, information, or documents pertinent to the customer, which in turn increases productivity, and the nonprofits ability to focus its efforts on obtaining more funding.
Volunteer management is an idea relatively unique to nonprofit organizations. Rather than using CRM to centralize data from donors, the software can be used to track data relevant to volunteer parties or individuals. By centralizing and organizing data regarding volunteers, reliability can be ensured by tracking who is accountable for what charity events, and how many people are required to properly run it.
Take CoreUM for example, a software developed by the CoreSolutions team to revolutionize the meeting planning process. Offering users the ability to propose meeting times to any number of respondents, and receive instant notification when responses are received; CoreUM takes the hassle out of deciding event time and locations, while simplifying the coordination of volunteers.
Nonprofits operate differently than other organizations, making their organizational challenges often different as well. With so many options for software on the market today, it is easier than ever for organizations of all sizes to take advantage of the solutions available to them. The key is to not bite off more than you can chew. Unnecessary complexity may pose more challenges than it solves, so when deciding on what solution is right for you, it may be best to consult with a professional.
If you would like to discuss software options for your organization, reach out to us today!
And as always,
Thanks for reading!