Have you ever tried to solve a problem with a tool not suited for the issue at hand? Maybe you’ve tried to cut a steak with a wooden spoon only to find out it won’t work. Not all problems are created equal, so it makes sense that not every tool will solve every problem. Specific tasks require specific tools, meaning that leaders should consider nonprofit software when trying to solve their organization’s pain points.
So, why are so many nonprofits trying to use the same tool to do everything?
Nonprofit leaders face complex issues every day. Whether it’s increasing volunteer engagement, diversifying funding sources, tracking case notes, allocating resources, or even making staff feel like their work is impactful, leaders are tasked with resolving these issues in the most effective way. But it can be difficult to tackle them if they don’t have the right guidance or tools at their disposal.
Think about it this way — would you ask your HR Director to weigh in on how to seek and acquire more funding sources? Maybe, but they probably don’t have a full idea of your funding structure. Or does it make sense to utilize a donor tracking platform to track your caseloads? While you can try to, you’d probably run into some pain points when it comes time to pull data and reports.
In my career working with nonprofits, private and independent schools, and other businesses, I have seen, time and time again, clients who decided to take the all-in-one route. I once worked with an organization that debated utilizing a vendor that did “everything.” After reading reviews and soliciting feedback from software developers, they began to realize they were going down a bad path and course corrected to our specialized solution. Organizations often try to solve their problems without the right tools for the job, and then they’re forced to pivot a year or two later when their solution no longer works. Some might stray from these solutions because of inadequate support or because their software is no longer being updated.
Without fail, the main reason people move away from all-in-one systems is because they don’t perform the way they need to for them to completely resolve every pain point. All-in-one software almost never can solve every issue facing your nonprofit. When you first come across it, it’s easy to be drawn in by the fact it can relieve several of your pain points. But, in time, the pain points you still have will be more evident. You can’t expect to solve all your problems with one magic tool — specific tasks require specific tools.
My top recommendation for your nonprofit software search is to take the time to choose the right tools that will help you solve your pain points. Find specialized tools that can work together, are robust, and can change with your mission over time. That way, you get the job done right and spend more time helping your clients.
This is also beneficial to your organization because:
- Your software will be truly integrated, which will help you transfer data in an efficient manner
- Using the right tool helps you accomplish your goals as a unit, as opposed to creating stifling silos
- Your data is all in one place (conceptually, not literally)
- As individual pieces of your software platform change, others won’t be affected
Deciding to find specialized software to implement into your operations is the first step toward your organization becoming data driven and making informed decisions. By selecting the right pieces and approaching your solutions in the right frame of mind, you will not only set your organization up for solving today’s issues, you will position your organization to thrive for years to come.
William Greenwell is a Mission Sales Consultant at Social Solutions. He is a native Austinite who is passionate about helping organizations solve complex issues, with simple solutions.