Putting IT in Charity
Putting IT in Charity
The right software will provide your organisation with the opportunity to grow, manage operations with ease, and streamline your cost base. In other words, it’s an investment that will greatly benefit your entire organisation. But how do you find the software solution that’s right for you? To aid with confusion, our experts here at Software Advisory Service have put together this handy little e-guide to get you started.
It’s time to profit
With over 160,000 charities and NFPs registered in the UK, it’s safe to say that Britain is constantly working towards making our world a better place.
However, there’s a lot of organising that goes into running a NFP. Many charities employs teams of professional fundraisers, others run departments dedicated to secure legacies, some interact with and register donations from wealthy philanthropists, and others rely fully on teams on the street to sign up new supporters.
All of these processes can both benefit from and be majorly simplified with the right software solution. By implementing a solution that fit your needs, you will be able to grow, manage and communicate with volunteers or employees, and streamline the financial processes.
Solutions like these comes in a variety of types and sizes: grassroot charities will benefit from a small package meant to discreetly handle donor administration, while bigger organisations will benefit more from a fully implemented ERP or CRM system.
Here at Software Advisory Service, we work relentlessly to find ways to support UK charities and NFP, and empowering them with the tools necessary to transform someone’s life.
Key Features to Consider
These days, the software market is flooded with solutions. While the right software can indeed ensure that you will manage your daily operations in both a cost-effective and simple way, choosing the wrong one can end up costing you precious time and money.
Your needs will depend on the type of charity or NFP you run, but we have still listed up some of the most popular applications to consider:
Financial Information Provision: Being a core feature in most accounting software packages, FIP is a necessity for most NFP’s and charities. With this feature, you can easily ensure that funds are budgeted, collected, correctly allocated, tracked through your organisation, and then reported with accuracy and ease. Depending on your organisation, you might also need additional functions such as grant management, budget tracking, payroll, reporting and spend tracking.
Donor and Fundraising Management: A very popular function, this allows you to engage with donors to solicit donations, collect funds, and track and respond accordingly through a range of giving types - recurring, corporate, planned, spontaneous and individual. Extra features related to donor and fundraising management can include campaign management, auctions, online giving, receipt generation, management reporting and custom form creation.
Volunteer Management: For charities, volunteer management is an important feature and many software packages will offer ways for you to personalize interactions with your team of driven volunteers. Added features may include contact management, volunteer history, volunteer availability, events management, scheduling tools, online communication and more.
Marketing Management: Most non-profit management software solutions will offer marketing and outreach functions. This will aid your organisation in delivering customised communication, engagement, and direct marketing activities with personalised content, analytics, management, targeting and archiving available.
CRM system: No software list is complete without a CRM system. This classic software is vital to most organisations, and it is especially popular amongst charities as it allows them to create integrated database structures that can manage and engage with all of their stakeholders, whether those are volunteers, donors, members, other foundations, corporations or alumni. Other added feature can include querying, administration of funds and campaigns, lead generation, donations processing, accounting integration and management reporting.
Event Planning: Depending on the charity you run, it can be wise to keep an eye out for event planning tools.A good software feature will let you manage various events of different size and complexity, as well as features for searchable events calendars or listings, website integration for online registration, automated email communications, payment delivery, attendee lists and so much more.
Grant Management Capabilities: Last but certainly not least, most solutions will also include a feature such as grant management capabilities. With this application, organisations can keep a view of awards and proposals, and then easily allocate funds to the correct groups when they are awarded.
Stop Making These Common Mistakes
Your organisation and your chosen type of software can truly be a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, we see that some organisations are struggling to get the happy ending they are so eagerly dreaming of. In fact, a lot of UK charities and organisations are committing the exact same mistakes when it comes to integrating their software solutions - they are not prepared.
While most organisations eagerly accept and integrate new software solutions, they quickly give it up if they don’t get the immediate results they expected. The secret to a happy marriage is hard work and dedication, and this is also true for your new software. If you find that the full core benefits aren’t being realized for you, then chances are that you’re making one of the following errors:
- Not investing in the necessary infrastructure to allow software integration
- Not fully preparing staff for the use of new software
- Not investing in the right training for staff and volunteers on how to get the most of the system’s full functionality and features
- Failing to fully engage with regulatory, compliance or accounting requirements
- Failing to budget, plan and prepare at a strategic level for growth and changing markets
By working closely with your software provider these mistakes can easily be avoided by a correct needs analysis, systems integration, planned implementation, proper training, and careful management.
Budgeting, compliance and communication are crucial issues when it comes to secure quality delivery for NFP and charities in the UK. In fact, software integration is more important than ever, and we see that many organisations are craving a solution that will streamline their accounting systems, digital marketing, fundraising applications and more. All of which, of course, need to integrate and communicate with each other in the most efficient way possible.
There are plenty of features available that is tailored to NFP and charities, so it’s crucial that you educate yourself and create a list of what you ideally would expect from a new system.
Does this seem like a lot?
No need to worry - give us a call today and let our experts here at Software Advisory Service put the IT in your charity. We offer bespoke advice, and the best part is that it’s completely free of charge. We are here to help you help.
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