Your organization may be very tech-savvy, or you may struggle to understand all the new terms and concepts in the industry. That’s okay. Trends come and go, but certain concepts, ideas, and fundamentals remain the same. The following five “tech tips” for nonprofits encompass a broad range of ideas that may impact your organization now or in the future. They’re worth noting and understanding to get the most out of your technology.
Smart Advice: Five Tech Tips for Nonprofits
Tip 1: Don’t Settle for Bad Software!
If you have buyer’s remorse, you’re not alone. According to some reports, 61% of all small and mid-sized businesses feel “buyer’s remorse” about a software purchase made during the past year. Whether it didn’t deliver on its promised benefits, or the support is lackluster, many organizations wish they hadn’t purchased what they did.
What if you’re in the same boat? Do something about it! You can speak with a consultant to see if the platform can be integrated, customized, or adapted to your needs. Perhaps there is a fix for the problem you don’t know about, but someone well-versed in the system knows.
If that doesn’t work, accept that you made a poor choice—and plan for the next purchase. Read reviews, articles about software selection, and more. Speak with other companies in your industry using the system to understand their feedback and reactions.
Tip 2: Evaluate support as well as software.
When purchasing software, many companies go to great lengths to evaluate the system itself. Does it have the functions, reports, and other features needed? That’s important, but equally (and some might say even more importantly), how is the post-purchase support?
After installing and configuring your new system, your team will need training. You’ll have questions. Problems arise, and something isn’t performing as expected. That’s when it becomes critical to have great support behind the product.
Evaluate the vendors and their support team reputations as carefully as you evaluate the software.
Tip 3: Keep up to date with changing technology.
Technology changes every day. Ten years ago, smartphones were becoming commonplace. Today, it is unusual to find someone without one. Ten years from now, the advances we are starting to see today in AI-powered search and automation are likely to be commonplace. What else will come? That remains to be seen, but one thing is sure. You must keep abreast of the changing technology to understand it. You don’t have to be an early adopter of every new tech tool, but understanding what is going on in the world of technology and testing things that make sense for your organization will help you remain relevant and competitive in a world where technology is a driver of change.
Tip 4: Empower a cross-functional team to choose essential software.
It’s tempting to relegate software purchases to IT teams. After all, they are likely to be instrumental during the installation and configuration phase. But it is the people who use the software daily who should be the deciding vote during the selection phase. Software must serve the needs of those using it, and the teams who interact with the software—accounting, finance, operations, sales, marketing, donor relations, and more—are the ones to evaluate the functions and ensure the software provides what they need.
Tip 5: Remain open-minded.
You may have used a particular platform at a previous or another of the many nonprofit accounting platforms available in the marketplace. While it’s great that you have firsthand experience with these systems, perhaps something else better fits what the organization needs.
For example, Sage Intacct offers excellent automations that can save a nonprofit a great deal of time. You may not have seen the most recent version which incorporates payroll, accounting, and other automations to streamline processes and improve efficiency. If you’re unfamiliar with the Sage line of software, becoming familiar with it as part of your exploration process can bring it to the forefront. It’s a powerful package that benefits many nonprofits.
Keep an open mind during the software selection process. Listen to the vendors and the consultants who are advising you. Because they work with many nonprofits, they may know of new software or packages that better serve your organization’s needs. Explore the options thoroughly before making your final selection.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact us for more information.