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Completing a Nonprofit Tech Review: 4 Tips for Success

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Technology has revolutionized the nonprofit industry, especially when it comes to fundraising and supporter engagement. Gone are the days of managing donor relationships and tracking financials in complicated spreadsheets. Nonprofit systems like CRMs and online fundraising software bring multiple fundraising, relationship-building, and reporting activities under one roof.

Regularly reviewing your nonprofit tech is important to ensure your systems are robust enough to handle your needs, evaluate how to make the most of your tools, and determine whether you need to invest in any new solutions. Plus, a tech audit can help you gain the greatest return on your technology investment.

In this post, we’ll outline four tips for a successful nonprofit technology review:

  • Assess your current technology tools

  • Determine whether you’re making the most of your current technology

  • Consider supplementing your technology stack with additional functionality

  • Train your team on your technology systems

The nonprofit tech landscape is constantly changing, and new fundraising and relationship management tools hit the market every day. Conducting regular technology reviews keeps your nonprofit ahead of the curve and helps you earn the highest return on investment (ROI) from your solutions.

Assess your current technology tools

The first step of the review process is identifying what’s working well with your technology and what needs improvement. Review each of your current fundraising solutions and identify their strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement.

This will involve reviewing the following commonly-used nonprofit solutions:

  • Your nonprofit CRM, also known as donor management software, allows you to track supporter information to leverage for fundraising and marketing campaigns.

  • Your online fundraising platform allows you to accept and process online donations and collect donor information.

  • Marketing software can include a variety of platforms such as your email marketing system and social media scheduling software.

As you review these tools, keep several points in mind. First, your technology should reduce barriers for your team, not add them. Red flags to identify during the review include areas where your technology slows down your workflow or adds unnecessary extra steps. For example, if you notice that your team uses a lot of functionality workarounds or homespun hacks, that might be a sign that your current systems aren’t functioning as well as they could be.

Second, your technology should be inclusive— it should be easy to use and accessible for everyone on your team, no matter their tech background. It’s especially important that the team members who use your technology every day think that the systems are intuitive and user-friendly.

Third, you should be able to trust that your technology will help you gather accurate, complete data. If you question your reports or notice multiple repeated errors, your technology systems might not work well together.

Determine whether you’re making the most of your current technology

Before replacing one of your current tools or investing in additional fundraising solutions, consider whether there is untapped potential within your existing technology. For example, does your nonprofit CRM already offer a prospect research tool or email marketing functionality? Does your fundraising platform have any added functionality you aren’t taking advantage of?

In this process, don’t be afraid to reach out to your software providers to ask questions and gain insight into new ways to use your tools. Software providers can help you increase your ROI and use your tools to their full potential by ensuring you’re using up-to-date software and that you understand new features. In some cases, this could lead to reducing repetitive functionality and streamlining the number of systems you are using.

If you feel like it’s time to migrate to a different fundraising solution, such as a new CRM, you’ll have to have a larger conversation with your team. You’ll need to carefully consider your budget, research and demo potential options, and make an informed decision. Software migrations can be time-consuming and expensive, so they should generally be considered as a last resort option.

Consider supplementing your technology stack with additional functionality

If you’ve determined you can benefit from incorporating new tech solutions into your existing toolkit, focus on adding tools that help you tackle your nonprofit's fundraising and supporter management challenges. It’s also useful to invest in innovative solutions that help your nonprofit stand out from similar organizations.

Consider the following tools that many nonprofits find useful to add to their technology ecosystems:

  • Give now, pay later. With a give now, pay later tool, donors have more flexibility with their giving options because they can split up their payments over several months rather than having to contribute all at once. With a tool like Givzey, your nonprofit will still receive the full payment upfront, rather than waiting until the donor completes their installments.

  • AI fundraising tools. Artificial intelligence tools help take the guesswork out of asking for donations. With a tool like Fundraise Up, your nonprofit can take advantage of AI-powered machine learning to determine the right suggested giving amounts for each donor. This can help your organization achieve a higher ROI for your fundraising outreach efforts.

  • Prospect research database. Prospect research is the process of identifying potential donors who exhibit a strong likelihood and high capacity to donate. Prospect research tools like DonorSearch can scan your nonprofit’s donor database to identify donors with high wealth levels and affinity for your cause. Then, your nonprofit will have a clear list of prospects to reach out to and build stronger relationships with. Some donor databases integrate directly with prospecting tools, further simplifying your fundraising tech stack.

Alongside your CRM, these additional tools are useful investments to create more streamlined, productive fundraising processes. Bloomerang’s guide to virtual fundraising platforms includes even more tools you might consider adding to your toolkit to improve the functionality of your systems.

Remember: you don’t need multiple tools that offer the same features. Ensure any new software you invest in adds functionality you don’t already have from your existing solutions.

Train your team on your technology systems

Even if your nonprofit’s software tools are user-friendly, it can still be helpful to conduct additional technology training with your team. Training will especially be necessary when you’re bringing new software solutions on board to help your team get up and running faster.

Here are a few sources you can use for your tech training sessions:

  • Resources from your software provider, such as onboarding walk-throughs or tutorial videos.

  • Sessions led by team members with experience using your new solutions.

  • Free online training from other sources like YouTube.

Make sure all team members who will play a role in using your software solutions attend your training sessions.

After implementing new software, your team will need more intensive, hands-on training to understand the inner workings of the platform. Once team members feel comfortable with the new system, meet with your team regularly to gather feedback about what works well with your systems and where they’re hitting roadblocks. This gives team members a chance to voice any issues to ensure they don’t snowball into larger problems.

The evolution of nonprofit technology has paved the way for new strategies for engaging donors and maximizing fundraising potential. Reviewing your tech stack ensures you’re making the right investments and getting the most out of your solutions.

If you’re looking for more information on making the most of your nonprofit technology, check out Bloomerang’s guide to purchasing fundraising software. This resource walks through tips for investing in your first CRM, switching to a new system, demoing new products, and more.

No matter what direction you decide to take your technology, ensure your full team is on the same page before incorporating any major changes. Good luck!

About the Guest Author: Joshua Meyer

Joshua Meyer brings more than 20 years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience to his current role as the VP of Demand Generation for Bloomerang. As a member of the Bloomerang marketing team, Josh manages the organization’s growth marketing efforts. Through his previous roles at the Human Rights Campaign and OneCause, he has a passion for helping to create positive change and helping nonprofits engage new donors and achieve their fundraising goals.

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