Nonprofits face constant challenges, whether it’s financial, technological, or managerial. To handle all these moving parts, there’s often a lot of administrative work involved. This often requires a great deal of time and resources that could be better spent on other aspects of the organization. As such, it’s critical to invest in nonprofit software that can streamline workflows and get you closer to achieving your philanthropic goals.
But with so many types of nonprofit software available, it can be daunting to find the options that work seamlessly with your organization. Before making a decision, you’ll want to consider factors such as functionality, accessibility, integration, security — and perhaps think outside the box of basic fundraising tools.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of nonprofit software available and how to determine which options will best serve you to meet your goals.
Types of Nonprofit Software
Nonprofit software can fulfill a variety of purposes. For instance, some software solutions help with internal staff collaboration and task management. Others, like accounting software, assist with financial and budgeting needs. And still others, like fundraising software and donor management apps, help with external fundraising efforts.
Depending on the software, it could include constituent relationship management systems (CRMs), accounting and payroll functionality, inventory management, or donation management features. Moreover, some software solutions that aren’t exclusively designed for nonprofits can be quite useful in the field. For example, time tracking software in human capital management (HCM) systems allows volunteers or employees to clock in and out according to the rules you've set, which can be especially helpful if you have a lot of part-time workers and volunteers to manage.
Constituent Relationship Management
When your organization grows, you may find that the simplicity of spreadsheets and email marketing isn't enough to manage constituent interactions. This can lead to data distribution issues where you aren't sure if every member of your team has access to the latest version of the information.
A constituent relationship management (CRM) system, also known as donor management software, tracks and manages an organization's interactions with constituents to engage and retain relationships. In other words, CRMs are to nonprofits what customer relationship management systems are to for-profits.
Whether connecting with past donors, potential donors, volunteers, or members of the public, CRMs can improve communication and facilitate a range of tasks, from following up on donations to acting as a donor database. Functionalities can include membership management, volunteer management, fundraising campaign tracking, fundraising event organizing, and donor relationship management (connecting donors with fundraising campaigns and tracking their progress through the donation process).
A good CRM will include the following features:
- Database of all your constituents
- A way to keep records on activities that you conduct in order to reach out effectively (canvasses, mailings, events)
- A way to keep track of the outcomes of those activities (applications for membership or donations received)
- Ability to integrate with other software solutions, such as email servers and accounting programs for tracking income
Nonprofit organizations face several unique challenges that differentiate them from for-profit businesses. For example, the nonprofit sector is subject to more frequent and unpredictable funding cycles while facing the need to comply with strict regulations and reporting requirements.
To operate efficiently, look for solutions that assist with tracking donations and cash flow during fundraising events, like annual membership drives and auctions, and other expenses, such as payroll and travel.
Nonprofit organizations are also required to comply with local, state, and federal regulations. This means that they need to maintain accurate records of their financial transactions. Accounting software and payroll systems can help meet these requirements by simplifying the process of record keeping and reporting, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing costs.
Many nonprofits deal with a fluctuating workforce and account for labor that is not paid directly by the organization (volunteers, for example). An all-in-one human capital management and payroll solution can remove some of those additional pressures from your accounting department by providing a payroll service that takes into consideration shift differentials, labor allocations, and other benefits enrollment offerings.
Human Capital Management Software
Without the right technology, it's difficult to keep track of all the resources at your disposal. Human capital management software can help you manage your volunteers, paid employees, and other stakeholders while providing you with the information necessary to run a successful organization.
Volunteers are vital resources in any nonprofit, but many organizations struggle to manage them effectively. HCM can help you develop detailed profiles of each volunteer so you can track how much time they spend working or volunteering and what skills they bring to the table. This helps identify potential gaps in your volunteer programs and fill them with people who have specific skills or experience.
ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform is designed to help organizations increase the effectiveness of their workforce and improve overall performance. This HCM solution can help nonprofits with the following functionalities:
- Personnel management tools: Track employee performance and productivity, and take advantage of payroll management services for both employees and contractors.
- Compensation management tools: Analyze employee compensation levels, benefits packages, and performance metrics to determine appropriate compensation levels for each employee.
- Talent management tools: Improve efficiency with an applicant tracking system to better identify top candidates who will be a good fit for the organization.
- Training management tools: Ensure that all employees and volunteers have access to quality training materials at all times.
ContinuumCloud gives you a clear, holistic view of your company so you can proactively identify challenges and opportunities at every step of the way.
As a nonprofit, one of your main activities is organizing fundraising campaigns. Whether it's event management, grant management, or peer fundraising, you can’t run a nonprofit without managing the flow of money that comes in and goes out of your organization.
Fundraising software helps you keep track of donor data and provides information on their contribution history. This way, you can tailor your messaging to current supporters and target people who might be interested in getting involved with your organization.
The best nonprofits have very specific goals for how they want to use their funding — be it building a new facility, providing education opportunities for low-income students, or starting an outreach program to help at-risk communities. Fundraising software helps an organization set fundraising goals, then helps them achieve them. Examples of fundraising software solutions include:
- Crowdfunding platforms
- Online donation platforms
- Online fundraising platforms
To carry out nonprofit fundraising, you’ll need payment processing software that accepts online donations. On your donation pages, offer a wide variety of ways to donate, such as PayPal and digital wallets. You also want to share documentation on how your organization uses donations so donors feel assured that they’re putting money into a good cause.
Inventory management software helps organizations stay within budget by providing a consolidated view of their inventory and a means for tracking sales and expenses.
Many nonprofits rely heavily on individual donations, and employees must be able to keep track of donated items. These items can be clothing, auction items, or even basic supplies like paper and office equipment. Tracking these items can become difficult when you don't have the right software available — you may not know how many of each item you have on hand or where those products are stored.
Inventory management software lets you manage your physical assets (such as equipment, clothes, and supplies) in a database. You can assign each item to a location so that when staff checks their inventory, they know where everything is.
A good inventory management solution will help you perform real-time inventory checks so that you can see what's coming in as well as what's going out as soon as it happens. Having this information readily available can minimize errors and will allow for more informed decisions. Some systems also have automated reports that send updates on a regular basis so there's no need for manual recordkeeping.
Electronic Health Record
For behavioral health and human services organizations, having an electronic health record (EHR) in place is essential. Beyond the basic function of clinical documentation and patient recordkeeping, EHRs can help streamline workflows, manage caseloads, and create a seamless intake and scheduling experience. A fully unified EHR for behavioral health, such as ContinuumCloud’s EHR solution, may also include billing and revenue cycle management to reduce errors and streamline the claims management process.
EHR solutions can also be an important connection point between patients and providers when a patient portal is utilized. This secure system allows patients to access their health records, lab results, medications, and appointments while also provide a secure way for them to ask questions or reach out to providers. This can help reduce no-shows, improve adherence to treatment plans, and promote better engagement and communication for patients.
Patient Engagement Software
In addition to the benefits that a patient portal can provide, patient engagement software takes things a step further in supporting patients, alumni, and families throughout and after treatment. Ideally, this digital tool can augment traditional modes of treatment, providing the support patients need between and after sessions. This means the platform should be easy to use and have a user-friendly interface that helps engage patients and encourages them to use the platform.
At ContinuumCloud, we offer a secure patient engagement app that organizations can use to build a peer support community online in a social media-like platform that offers the added benefits of HIPAA security. This patient engagement app can provide patients with resources, tasks, surveys, and events that help them engage in their treatment and improve their outcomes.
Reach Your Goals With the Right Nonprofit Software
Optimizing your nonprofit isn't just about using available technologies to automate tasks — it's about giving your entire team a workflow that can optimize overall productivity, efficiency, and operations that meet your organization’s unique processes and needs. By choosing the right combination of software solutions, you can streamline and speed up some of the tedious business processes.
No matter what type of nonprofit software it is, there are several important things to look for to ensure you’re choosing a solution that will meet your needs. The following list of features can help you make the right choice for your organization:
- User interface: Any software you choose should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. Ideally, it should be customized to the needs of your organization.
- Data privacy: Privacy, security, and protection for your most sensitive information.
- Reporting tools: Comprehensive reports to track progress and measure the success of programs and activities.
- Collaboration solutions: Tools that allow groups or individuals working on projects or campaigns to communicate with each other effectively and efficiently.
- Support options: Technical support for implementation and troubleshooting.
From CRMs and accounting to HCM, fundraising, and inventory management software, there are plenty of options to keep your organization’s behind-the-scenes functions and public-facing goals on track. To that end, ContinuumCloud’s cloud-based software can help you plan, coordinate, and deliver on your goals while simplifying your administrative tasks.
Our spectrum of solutions includes a unified HCM platform intentionally designed for nonprofits and human services organizations as well as a configurable EHR and patient engagement app. By providing real-time reporting capabilities and an intuitive user interface, ContinuumCloud allows you to focus on your mission without stressing the small stuff.
Contact us today to learn more about how ContinuumCloud can help your nonprofit reach its goals.