Modern nonprofit technology has allowed organizations to better connect with supporters online and offline, host gatherings, manage their internal processes, and implement new virtual fundraising strategies. However, with the sheer number of potential software solutions, it can be difficult to know which options are worth incorporating into your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy.
Before investing in new software, your nonprofit should take inventory of your current technology. Assess what platforms, applications, and software solutions you use on a routine basis and if they are assisting you in completing your goals. After this review, you can determine whether it’s necessary to scale up or even invest in an entirely new tool.
To demonstrate the wide range of nonprofit technology currently available, this article will explore eight tools your nonprofit may benefit from adding to (or replacing the one currently in) its technology stack, including:
- Nonprofit CRM
- Advocacy Software
- Text Communication Tools
- Mobile-Friendly CMS
- Event Management Platform
- Board Management Software
- Matching Gift Database
- Course Management Tools
Once your nonprofit has determined which tools to invest in, assessed potential providers, and made a purchase, you will be able to begin the implementation process. For many platforms, such as robust CRMs, it will be necessary to work with a third-party nonprofit consulting firm that has experience implementing the software your nonprofit has elected to purchase. Keep this additional cost in mind as you review the tools below and determine which options can help improve your nonprofit’s current operations.
1. Nonprofit CRM
While your nonprofit almost certainly already has a CRM, it may be necessary to upgrade it as your nonprofit expands. Keep in mind that implementing a new CRM can be a resource and time-intensive process.
If your nonprofit does need to change CRMs, thoroughly research your options before making this investment. This includes researching both CRM platforms themselves and support services such as consultants who can complete the implementation process.
When investing in a new CRM, assess solutions for their features, ability to scale, customization options, and support network. While a robust option that meets these requirements will be an investment, a comprehensive and adaptable solution will likely serve your organization for years to come after initial setup.
For example, Salesforce’s Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) is a popular solution for large nonprofits looking for a high degree of customization in their software. DNL OmniMedia’s guide to Saleforce’s NPSP emphasizes that implementing this solution is a significant undertaking. Nonprofits interested in getting started with NPSP in 2022 will likely only see the system fully up and running in 2023.
2. Advocacy Software
Advocacy campaigns can help nonprofits advance their missions, attract more donors, and provide their current supporters with new engagement opportunities. Digital outreach and messaging has become a major component of modern advocacy campaigns, and nonprofits interested in hosting their own advocacy initiatives should ensure they have the proper tools to facilitate these efforts.
Advocacy software includes a diverse range of tools. Nonprofits should plan out their potential campaign activities before investing in a new advocacy platform. Here are a few types of advocacy software to consider:
- Canvassing tools
- Bill-tracking software
- Searchable database of elected officials
- Petition software
Additionally, advocacy campaigns can benefit from strong communication tools that enable nonprofits to segment their supporters by campaign. This allows nonprofits to create scheduled timelines of when to send out specific messages such as urging supporters to get in touch with their representatives at a specific time.
3. Text Communication Tools
Your nonprofit likely relies on email to stay in touch with supporters. Many nonprofits have also found it increasingly effective to get in touch with supporters through multiple channels, specifically through text messaging.
As most of your supporters will likely have their phone within arms reach most times of day, texting can be an efficient way to get the word out about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, urgent donation initiatives, or any other important message.
Many nonprofit text communication tools also include text-to-give numbers. These are dedicated phone numbers specifically for donations. Supporters text a specific word or phrase determined by your nonprofit to this number along with a donation amount. A donation is then made by the donor via their service provider. The service provider then passes this charge back to the donor where it’ll appear on their regular phone bill.
You can reach out to supporters to encourage them to donate with text-to-giving as well as to solidify your connection with them through routine communication. If you are missing many supporters’ phone numbers, consider investing in an append to help collect this information and launch your next text campaign.
4. Mobile-Friendly CMS
Your content management system system (CMS) is one of your nonprofit’s core tools alongside your CRM. A user-friendly CMS can help your team keep your website updated, free of technical errors, and functional for frontend users.
As part of your digital strategy, take the time to assess the current state of your website. Decide whether it’s helping your nonprofit meet your current goals and identify what improvements could be made. Often, nonprofits will discover that there are many small changes they can make to improve their website. These small changes can include updating outdated links, optimizing images to reduce load times, and checking that all redirect chains are working properly.
When reviewing key pages on your website, try loading them in mobile view. Mobile visitors consist of over half of all internet traffic. Your nonprofit should ensure this audience is able to use your website as easily as desktop visitors.
Many CMSs will automatically create mobile-friendly versions of your web pages. If your nonprofit is currently using a CMS or theme that does not allow your team to optimize how your site looks in mobile, you may need to consider updating your CMS.
5. Event Management Platform
Events are a core part of most nonprofits’ fundraising and outreach strategies. They provide opportunities to connect with supporters face-to-face and deepen the donor’s relationship with your organization. However, hosting an event can also come with its challenges. Even a relatively simply gathering can benefit from a coordinated effort backed by an event management platform.
When planning their fundraising calendar, nonprofits should consider what types of event software they will need. Some events (such as auctions) require specific solutions, while many other events can be planned and hosted with the support of more generalized solutions. For example, nonprofits can host most types of events with a management platform that includes:
- Registration and ticketing
- Volunteer management
- CRM integration
Specific solutions can offer additional features such as prospecting and peer-to-peer tools. Of all of these tools, ensuring that your event software integrates with your CRM is essential. Syncing these two systems prior to your event will allow information to flow freely between systems. This allows you to collect pertinent data about your supporters and leverage it for your event plans.
6. Board Management Software
Recruiting a team of trusted, reliable board members is essential for your nonprofit’s overall strategy. You can improve your board’s ability to communicate, hold productive meetings, and stay organized by investing in a board management platform.
Board management software should include a suite of tools designed to help with boards’ unique responsibilities, such as:
- Agenda building
- Minutes taking
- Document sharing
- Digital signing
When investing in board management software, ensure the solutions you are considering are designed with nonprofit boards in mind. While boards at for-profit organizations will have many of the same responsibilities as nonprofit boards, there are enough distinctions that make it worthwhile to ask providers about their software’s ability to cater to nonprofits.
7. Matching Gift Database
Nonprofits can leverage technology to make their giving processes more efficient and user-friendly. There are also nonprofit solutions designed to increase the potential value of a donation, such as a matching gift database.
360MatchPro explains that matching gift databases are databases that house information on thousands of companies’ corporate matching gift programs. Providing supporters with access to a matching gift database during the giving process allows them to search for whether their employer has a matching gift program and check if they qualify for it.
In greater detail, here are the steps for using a matching gift database during the giving process:
- The donor makes their gift. The matching gift database will be present while supporters make their initial contribution, prompting them to take notice and interact with it after making their gift.
- The donor searches the database for their employer. Donors will be able to enter the name of the company or organization they work for and view their eligibility results. Some matching gift databases will be able to account for variations on company names and common misspellings during the search process to help donors find their employers.
- The donor discovers the next steps. Donors who are eligible for a matching gift will learn how to complete a matching gift request form and submit it to their employer.
Once a supporter completes the matching gift process, your nonprofit will receive a matching donation from their employer. Ensure the matching gift platform you invest in allows your nonprofit to track where donors are in the matching gift application process. This will enable your nonprofit to send reminder messages to encourage donors to complete their matching gift application and thank donors once it’s submitted.
8. Course Management Tools
Diversifying revenue sources has helped nonprofits remain stable even when challenges arise. In addition to donations, grants, and merchandise and ticket sales, nonprofits can expand their offerings with online courses.
Nonprofits interested in providing a service or product that their supporters can buy often look to online courses. Selling online courses can bring nonprofits many benefits including reliable monthly revenue from a subscription-fee model, the ability to spread awareness through course content, and the relatively low time investment after launching the initial round of courses.
Of course, creating your nonprofit’s first set of courses and ensuring you have a process for delivering them can be a challenge. Nonprofits interested in offering online courses should be aware of the various technical solutions they will likely need to invest in, including:
- Course authoring software
- Learning management system
- Registration software
Depending on your courses’ format, you may need to invest in additional software. For example, if your nonprofit intends to hold courses taught in real time (as opposed to recorded lectures that can be taken asynchronously), you will need to consider live streaming and meeting tools.
Modern technology has transformed how nonprofits connect with supporters, manage their internal processes, and otherwise perform day-to-day operations. To ensure that your nonprofit is up-to-date on technology for 2022, assess your current software to identify potential holes in your strategy and how solutions like the eight tools discussed here may be able to help.
We’d like to thank DNL OmniMedia for today’s post.