Nonprofit employees are well-versed in the fight against the clock. From fundraising to community outreach and serving constituents, there is always something to be done and never enough hours in the day to do it all. Maybe you’ve heard a case management solution can put more hours back in the day or that it can help nonprofits do everything from optimizing case workflow to secure funding by showing how your organization makes an impact. Perhaps you’re ready to dive into a new system, but you’re wondering where to begin?
We hear these queries from new partners every day. That’s why we’ve put together these steps to help you get started on selecting the right case management software for your organization.
No two organizations are the same. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, finding the best case management solution can make you feel like Goldilocks looking for a bed that’s just right.
Before you begin researching solutions, conduct an internal needs assessment to determine the desired features and software capabilities. The information you gather from the evaluation should help you figure out what your organization needs from the software and the specifications of each department.
Most nonprofits want to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of programs, optimize workflows and manage cases and data electronically. But, each solution can help you achieve these objectives in different ways. Always look for a solution with:
It may be tempting to dive into implementation as soon as your nonprofit decides to take its case management solution online, but skimping on sufficient preparation could be counter-productive and costly. Before making any changes to your internal infrastructure, a lot of other things must happen first.
Staff support is extremely important, but sometimes getting buy-in can be a challenge when transitioning to a new case management software. So, what’s the best way to get everyone on board?
You started this evaluation during the internal needs assessment, but the discovery and requirements gathering phase will give you greater and more technical insight into the functionality your organization requires.
For instance, if one of your desired functions includes a drop-down menu, text fields or other customizable features during client intake, you’ll need to do some research to figure out what technical requirements you’re looking for in the new software.
The goal of this phase is to help you manage timelines, resources and budgets. Skipping this step may lead to a lack of communication between teams or incompatibility between your organization and the software.
What will happen when, and who will own what? What can your organization and staff members expect during each phase? Make sure everyone involved is clear on asks and expectations so you can keep the momentum rolling.
One of the most important components of planning is assigning ownership. Instead of viewing the entire project as a company-wide responsibility, break it down into manageable bits. For example, delegate ownership for user-testing to case managers or training to program managers; This creates a sense of responsibility that keeps everyone in check and on track.
The only way your new case management system will be successful is if people use it. Here are some ways your organization can guarantee a seamless and successful transition:
Case management software will help your team save valuable time. This leaves more time in the day to focus on boots-on-the-ground community outreach, proving impact and managing outcomes. The goal of any nonprofit is to help as many people as possible, and having a solid case management solution helps organizations achieve this goal.
In an increasingly technical world, using data to prove your organization’s impact and outcomes is becoming the norm and even a funder requirement. Donors want to know the nonprofits they support will deliver on its mission, and providing data-driven insights from your case management solution is the best way to show donors how you’re reaching your goals.
At its core, case management systems give nonprofits a window into their constituents’ lives through data. And data helps tell a complete story.
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