Helpful Tips for Evaluating Philanthropic Software
By: Cyndi McAtee, Product Direct, RenPSG (IPA Professional Advisor Member)
Throughout my tenure working for nonprofit organizations from Indiana to Hawaii, there was always a constant; limited resources. All nonprofits, no matter their size, are constantly evaluating new practices to more effectively use donor dollars to achieve their mission.
Technology can be a tremendous tool for your staff to gain efficiencies especially for programs who need donor access. However, evaluating software correctly to be certain it will meet the needs of your donors and staff can be an overwhelming process. Below are a few key questions to consider when evaluating a new product for your team:
1.) Is the software platform donor focused?
All foundations know their most important assets are their donors. A technology partner who doesn’t keep the donor experience top of mind, is no partner. Since no two foundations are alike, a great donor experience starts with a simple, clean engaging platform. Also, with more and more donors giving on the go, an effective platform needs to be mobile responsive for phone and tablet users.
2.) Can our team effectively use the software?
The other day I heard someone say, “useful is the new cool.” At the end of the day, software needs to help your staff serve your donor base, not inhibit their work. Questions to consider when determining how ‘useful’ a software platform is:
- Does the software integrate with your accounting system?
- What reporting capabilities are available?
- Is the software able to grow as my foundation grows?
- Do they have a development team dedicated to the future of the product?
- What ongoing support does the software offer after implementation?
3.) How well does the technology partner understand philanthropy?
In 2016, RenPSG processed 120,000 grants and disbursements totaling more than $772 million for our full administration clients. Sharing the best practices and lessons we learn with our stand-alone software users, provides tremendous value to our clients. A great partner wants your organization to be successful which includes sharing their knowledge and expertise as well as connecting you with like-minded clients who can share their best practices. RenPSG shares planned giving best practices and resources at no cost in our Knowledge Base.
4.) How is the software platform preparing for the future?
Philanthropy is changing and so are donors. Donors today have different expectations of how they want to interact with charities as well as a desire for greater insight as to how their charitable dollars are used. Your technology partner needs to embrace this contemporary philanthropic mindset to empower your foundation to reach your donors in new innovative ways. Examples include:
- Custom content areas for news or to educate your donors
- Donor circles to connect like-minded individuals
- Giving opportunities to share the programs and initiatives important to your mission
If you are interested in learning more about next generation philanthropic software, join the conversation at DFX Social Impact.
Cyndi McAtee is the Product Director for RenPSG, the largest independent philanthropic solutions provider in North America. With 30 years of industry leadership, RenPSG offers an expansive suite of technology-enabled business services and a dedicated client experience team. Prior to joining RenPSG, Cyndi spent her career in the nonprofit industry serving in roles from marketing, communication, development and finally as a nonprofit administrator. As Product Director, Cyndi coordinates the business, design and development of DFX, RenPSG’s next generation philanthropic platform.