Implementing new software for your nonprofit organization is an overwhelming task and one you may be putting off. After all, selecting the right software, learning everything about it, and training people on how to use it is not a simple or easy project. However, using an out of date platform or one that is too simplistic and doesn’t offer any features can cost time and money in the long run – something your nonprofit organization doesn’t have enough of as it is, most likely.
Fortunately, with the right steps, software implementation for your nonprofit organization can be easier than you think. To help you get started, we’re sharing 4 steps to get the most out of your new software.
Choosing the Right Software
Your success starts with knowing why you need software and choosing the right one. For example, let’s say you’re currently doing all your accounting and bookkeeping on an Excel spreadsheet. This outdated method may work, but attempting to properly forecast revenue, budget funds, and separate fund accounting is nearly impossible and there are no automated features that save you time, so everything is manually added. Having dedicated accounting software is an excellent investment that will improve accuracy, save time, and make operations smoother.
Now that the purchase is justified, you need to develop criteria for selecting the software. This can include:
- Features you need that will solve the problems you currently have
- Whether it’s installed or cloud-based
- Initial investment and cost of training
Again, using the example of accounting software, are you looking for a platform that allows you to create in-depth budgets, forecasts, and reports for your board of directors, or do you need integrated HR management (or both)? Do you need something that allows several people in the organization to access or will only one person be working within the platform?
Once you know what you need, it will be easier to narrow down your purchase.
Assign One Person to Be the Software Champion
While having several people involved in the decision-making process makes sense, especially if it’s software that will be used company-wide or by several people, we recommend having one person become the “champion.” They will be the internal expert who learns the ins and outs of the software and will be able to train others how to use it. This may be your organization’s accountant, if it’s accounting software, or it may be a member of your IT department if it’s a universal platform that most people will be using, like a CSM.
Troubleshoot Before There’s a Problem
Before launching the new platform, make sure you, or the software champion, is aware of the current challenges a department is facing before the software goes live. Will the new software aid with these challenges or will it compound any existing issues?
It may be beneficial to solve any challenges surrounding current processes before a new software implementation begins, so the department is more set up for success.
For example, if you’re looking at new accounting and bookkeeping software that streamlines daily tasks and saves time with a comprehensive financial management system, but the department is understaffed, consider hiring temporary, part-time assistance to help the department get caught up while they learn the new software.
Invest in Software Implementation Training and Consulting Services
One of the most effective steps to ensure successful software implementation for your nonprofit organization is to work with someone who specializes in the software to provide one-on-one consulting, training, and guidance. Having someone who can sit down with you to discuss in detail exactly how to implement the software, go beyond the basics to use every part of it so you get the most value for your money, and create a training program for volunteers and workers can be the difference between a successful implementation and a failed one.
Again, using the accounting software example, at Capital Business Solutions, we partner a single consultant to our clients’ organizations to assist them through the entire implementation process, starting with needs assessment and installation through training and company-wide launch. By investing in this support up front, organizations are spared the struggle of feeling like their software purchase was a waste of time and money.
Talk to a Nonprofit Accounting Software Consultant Today
If you’re considering accounting software for your nonprofit organization, we can help! We have a team of experts on hand to assess your needs and connect you with the right software solutions that will save you time, improve operations, and increase revenue. To learn more, call us at (843) 971-9061 or fill out the form below.