Essential Nonprofit Software of 2014

As we watch some of our wildest sci-fi fantasies become reality, the potential of technology seems limitless. From fax machines, to email, to smartwatches, technology has transformed the way the world does business.

But with the wealth of business tools and technology available, creating a consideration set for your business can seem like a monumental project. This is especially true for nonprofit organizations with limited financial resources and the need to please stakeholders. Nonprofits have been slow to adopt current tech trends, resulting in a large gap between current and potential uses of IT.

In a survey of over 10,000 nonprofits and charities, 60 percent claimed lack of knowledge is the single greatest barrier to new technological advancement adoption. Technology spending is also reportedly a small portion of nonprofits’ budgets, averaging less than 4.2 percent.

So while foundations can fund or encourage innovation, they often have no means of sustaining financial support for internal innovation. However, low-cost, nonprofit specific software is becoming more popular, thanks in large part to the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Subscription based, nonprofit software grants organizations the opportunity to streamline administrative tasks and allocate resources to focus on direct services or strategic initiatives instead. Let’s examine the best nonprofit software of 2014 and how these solutions can address the unique needs of nonprofit organizations.

Grant Management Software

Nonprofits don’t generally lack vision, ideas, or enthusiasm — the challenge is maintaining sufficient funds for a stable future. The availability of public and government funding is dwindling, which puts nonprofits in direct competition with one another for funding.

And securing these grant funds is a complex process, which is why StreamLink Software created AmpliFund. The platform was created for nonprofits looking to simplify grant management. Amplifund automates numerous activities throughout the grant lifecycle — from research and planning, to applying, to maintaining compliance.

AmpliFund software has helped nonprofits reduce time spent on administrative tasks by as much as 72 percent. Pricing is not fixed, but is instead based on operating budgets and grant funding. After their recent version 4.0 release, the company secured $3.5M to fuel their growth and expand their services to nonprofit organizations.

Fundraising and Donor Relationship Management Systems

Securing repeat donations is another challenge for nonprofits. On average, organizations only retain 27.3 percent of their first-time donors. There are a number of management systems available to make maintaining donor relationships easier.

One company that provides fundraising and donor management software to organizations is DonorPro. Their solutions cover: fundraising, donor database, communications management, analytics, and donation processing. This year, they released two new products to fit the changing needs of nonprofits:

  • DonorPro GO!: a browser-based version of DonorPro CRM that allows users accessibility on any device or desktop
  • FriendRaising 2.0: a peer-to-peer fundraising providing personalized campaign websites.

DonorPro offers consulting, training, and a free resource library to make learning the software easier. They also share nonprofit fundraising best practices on their blog and offer custom pricing tailored to the specific software features your organization needs.

Collaborative Project Management

Like any organization, project management is important to non-profits, too. Ensuring projects stay under budget, on time, and within scope is especially difficult with limited resources. Project management software helps facilitate strategic planning and set priorities that align with the organization’s long term goals.

Producteev is a task management solution that services an unlimited number users and projects. It also provides a private company network where users can comment, set due dates and reminders, track activity, and share files. The newest release for 2014 includes improved calendar functionality, updated task features, and a new iPad app for users on the go.

Accounting and Payroll Tools

Holding over 80 percent of the market share, Quickbooks is the undisputed leader in accounting software. But a big name doesn’t mean you have to pay big bucks: the Quickbooks Online solution has a price range of just $9-$30 per month.

In addition to payroll and accounting, the software includes: real time bank feed updates, scheduled and recurring invoicing, mobile payments, purchase order management, and more. Quickbooks Online features a modern, easy to use interface with detailed financial reports and analytics, as well as a free 30 day trial.

Emerging business technology provides nonprofit organizations with more effective work processes so they can focus on propelling their mission forward. Simply identifying your organization’s struggle is the best place to start. Nonprofit technology is becoming more affordable than ever– don’t let lack of knowledge be the barrier that keeps you from harnessing the benefits.