Fundraising software has evolved from being a luxury to an everyday necessity in the nonprofit world. With so many organizations turning to fundraising software to further their fundraising efforts, many want to know how to go about selecting the right software for their organization and how to present the need for fundraising software to their board.
With so many options to choose from, many nonprofits do not know where to start in the selection process. The search should start with making a thorough needs analysis for your organization. Examine your current processes and tools. What’s working? What’s not? In order to get the most out of your fundraising software, you must know what it is you need. Ask yourself the following questions to begin discovering your organization’s unique fundraising software needs:
- What are our current fundraising processes? What do they involve?
- What methods do we use to communicate with potential donors? Direct mail? Email? Fundraising Events?
- How much can we spend on fundraising software?
- What is our organization currently lacking in terms of fundraising?
- How many computers will we need the software for? How many employees will use the software?
- How will fundraising software help further our fundraising efforts?
Once you’ve established your fundraising software needs, it is time to begin looking for the
perfect solution. Research fundraising software options and narrow down the choices to
three or four that specifically meet the needs of your organization. Make a list of the pros
and cons of each and prepare a presentation to submit to your board.
Pitching Fundraising Software to Your Board
While you may understand the benefits of investing in fundraising software, your board may
not. Once you’ve justified the expense to yourself and your boss, you will need to convince
your organization’s board that fundraising software is a worthy investment. Convincing a
board to make the initial investment is not an easy task as most board members will look
at the immediate cost of the software and nothing else. It is your job to convince them that
fundraising software is a solid investment that will strengthen your organization for years to
By discussing the software’s benefits, your board will be more open to the investment. The
following benefits of fundraising software should be presented to your board:
- Fundraising software provides fundraising continuity. It’s a well known fact that turnover rates in the nonprofit world can be high. When an employee leaves, he or she often takes crucial fundraising information with them, leaving the organization with bits and pieces of information. Fundraising software protects organizations from information loss when employees leave, ensuring that the next employee has a solid foundation from which to start. This will save organizations substantial amounts of time, money, and frustration, as well as keep the organization’s fundraising efforts going through the transition.
- Show them the Return on Investment (ROI). Boards like to have facts, so show them the proven ROI for putting an fundraising software system in place. While it may be tempting to focus on the time savings that you as a user will have, redirect your focus on the many ways fundraising software will help you – and them – raise more money for the organization. Be sure you thoroughly research the ROI and calculate it based on your specific organization.
- Consider the long-term costs and cost-savings. Discuss the future goals of the organization and give the board a picture of where you see the organization in four or five years. Show them how fundraising software specifically will support your organization in achieving those goals.
In the end, making the case for fundraising software hinges upon your ability to convince
the board that the software will make their jobs easier and raise more money for the
organization. If you can back up your reasoning with facts, your board should easily be