If you are part of a small nonprofit, you have likely reached a point where your current donation software isn’t cutting it anymore. You can’t take part in new fundraising trends or raise funds like larger nonprofits in the area. You may have already started researching new software or are thinking there is no hope.
Once you have decided on the best software for your organization, it will be time to convince your board to fund the change. This is the tricky part, and you will want to be ready. This article will let you know the following –
The following list was made from experience, and we do not want you to make the same mistakes many in your position have made. A big part of the process of presenting new software to your nonprofit board is preparation. Before you do anything, make sure you are ready with all the information necessary. Once you have all the information, you will be able to simplify it enough to make it seem like the obvious choice.
As you prepare to present a new software to your board, remember you are the expert in this situation. You are doing most of the work on the ground and see the daily problems. This gives you a unique perspective. It is your job to convince the board about your expertise and make them comfortable trusting you to make these decisions.
As an expert, you need to know the latest trends in nonprofit fundraising and if they are the best choice for your organization. To back up your arguments on whether to use each trend or not, you need information on your donors. This information may be different than what your board knows, so it is best to keep track of donor data. If your current software does not allow you to do this, you have the first argument for getting a better system.
Your board members have probably done their own research and think they know what the organization needs to fundraise. After you have a good understanding of the trends, you will need to know every aspect of your chosen software. What are the features included in the software? How can they help you improve your fundraising? Will it be difficult to learn? How much time and money will it cost to purchase and train staff and board?
Your organization is different from everyone else. Your donors have their own interests in your organization and follow patterns that you may have picked up. If you have an older donor base, it may be more challenging to get people comfortable donating online or sharing your social media posts. If you want to increase your younger donors, you may want to purchase software that includes more social media and crowdfunding options. Before presenting a new software to your board, make sure you understand how your donors will react to the software changes and how it will increase the success of their current actions.
Any lawyer will tell you they research the opposing lawyer before stepping into the courtroom. They do this because you cannot win an argument against someone you do not understand. When you are presenting new software to your board, you do not have to think about them as the opposition. Still, you should take the lawyers’ advice and understand the interest and concerns of the board members before your presentation.
When researching your board, try to imagine questions specific board members may ask. Do you have board members that focus entirely on short-term costs? Have you run into a board member that seems obsessed with Facebook Live and wants to use it during every event and board meeting? This knowledge will help guide you in creating your presentation.
While you are researching your board, look for members that may be aware of the current software difficulties. Meet with these members one-on-one and see if you can find one or two members to advocate on your behalf. Some board members will react better to other board members making the argument to spend money.
Pro tip: You should take help from the software company to prepare for your presentation. They are a great source when preparing for your presentation because they have worked with several nonprofits like yours. They have already heard all the arguments against their software and can give you the answers to every question.
Finally, when creating your presentation, you will want to make it as clear as possible. It is best practice to use PowerPoint to layout your presentation. Use a different slide for each argument and feature, and do not overwhelm board members with too much text. Remember, you will be there to answer all questions, so the slide should just provide a taste.
Your nonprofit board will never want to spend money, so when planning your presentation, you want to address every aspect of the software and how it can benefit your nonprofit’s fundraising success.
If you have found a more affordable option for your next donation software, you may think your job is done. It is easy to convince a board to spend less, but the cost of the software is only part of the expense and revenue that new donation software can bring to your organization.
Pro tip: Don’t stop with only the price of the software as you speak to your board. In fact, this cost may stop the board from listening if you mention it first. Include several areas of the cost and how they would benefit your nonprofit. Make it a point that your board is aware of them.
In addition to the cost of the actual software, you will want to include the time and cost it will take to train staff and volunteers to use the system. If the system is simple to learn and the transfer of your current donor information is included with the software, the cost of a new system may not seem as high.
After the cost, the most crucial reason for the new donation software is the features it includes. When purchasing donation software, you will want to make sure the system contains online donation processing, along with ways to solicit donations.
When researching new donation software, you will want to look at your current revenue and what you need to continue collecting these funds. If you are a nonprofit that holds several in-person events, event tickets and hand-held credit card readers may be necessary. Other nonprofits may want to focus on crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, and text-to-give campaigns to reach a younger online audience. Most donation software will also include recurring donation options that encourage donors to give consistently.
Either way, your organization will want to make sure your online processing system is safe and includes an easy way to send donation receipts quickly.
Features will mean little to your board members if you can’t explain how they will improve fundraising. When listing the features of a new donation software, you will want to give examples of how this system can bring in more money. Online donations are growing, and more people are comfortable donating online than by mail. When asking your board for online donation software, explain that many people donate online because fraud detection and encryption technology keep their information safe.
Recurring donation and gift matching features can also bring in large amounts of money over time. Discuss how easy these are to use with the new donation software and give your board campaign ideas to capitalize on these features.
Another benefit to online donation software is the savings that come from limiting the mundane projects that normally take up your time. How many hours do you spend inputting cash and checking donations? How many volunteers do you need to collect funds at an event? If you can show where the new donation software can cut costs here, your board will be more likely to approve the purchase.
Good donation software will also include donor management options to keep track of your donors and their gifts. With quality donation management, you can track your donors’ spending habits and see what projects and events interest them. You will be able to create better donation reports for board meetings and give your board more details on how these donors are reacting to each campaign. You may even be able to receive notifications for significant donor anniversaries or donor actions.
Information like this is essential to building stronger relationships with your donors and encouraging them to become long-time supporters of your organization. By explaining to your board how the new donation software can increase long-term and short-term funding for your nonprofit, you can increase their interest in spending more.
The best way to excite your board about new donation software is to show them how it will work. If you can get an advanced screening of the software for your board so they can see the system in action, that will be an excellent first step. Let them try it for themselves.
Pro tip: Arrange a software demo for your board with the software company. That way they can have all their queries and doubts cleared then and there, as well as see how it works and decide.
If you already have a few campaign ideas that can only be done with new donation software, that may be even better. Entice your board with online campaigns that will bring in more young donors. Or show them how many annual donors you can turn into monthly donors with an online recurring donation option.
These ideas will show how well the donation software works and how well you understand the software and how it can benefit the organization.
Online donations are only growing. Your nonprofit will want the best online donation software available. There are many options out there. And you need to make sure that you present the best to your board. It could as well be your one chance to convince your board. So if you think you still need to check out more donation software, we have a list of 10 nonprofit donation software for you.
Donorbox is an affordable, no-contract donation software for nonprofits of every size. Head over to donorbox.org to explore Donorbox product features. To find more nonprofit resources, visit our blog, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest updates and fundraising tips!