Selecting Fundraising Software: A Guide to Navigating Board Approval

In today’s data driven world, modern nonprofits are finding that fundraising software is a necessity to complete their mission. Yet justifying the expense for fundraising software to board members can prove challenging.

Determining which software is needed for your organization can prove to be an even greater challenge. There are many different types of fundraising software, including CRM, Event Management, Matching Gift, Donor Research, Online Auction, Mobile Bidding and more. When selecting fundraising software and presenting it to your board, there are a three key steps you should keep in mind:

  1. Conduct a NEEDS Assesment

The first step in selecting fundraising software is to identify your organization’s needs.   It’s important to know that whatever software you choose will fit your nonprofit’s needs now and in the foreseeable future.

Before you dive in and start researching software options, create a list of the common issues your organization is currently facing that software may be able help simplify.

There are several things you may want to consider when creating your list, including:

  • How are you managing donor records?
  • Are you finding challenges with planning fundraising events? Ticketing? Auctions?
  • What kind of data sources are available for donor research?

With this list in mind, you can make a more informed decision about which software is going to help you tackle your greatest challenges.

  1. Prepare Your Presentation

Now that you’ve evaluated your organization’s needs it’s time to start preparing for your presentation to the board. The best way to do this is to consider which question you think your board may ask and what objections they may bring up. They may ask:

  • What are the adoption costs?
  • How long until we start seeing results from this investment?
  • Why is software an improvement from our existing systems?

You know your board better than anyone else, so take the time to think of other questions they may ask and be prepared with thoughtful responses. It will probably be helpful to break down larger questions into smaller ones to make sure you really address the board’s concerns.

  1. Share your Findings with Your Board

Selecting the software is only half the challenge. Presenting your findings in a way that will best answer your board’s questions is essential to make sure your organization makes the right purchasing decision.

As you build your presentation make sure you address likely questions. Add facts, data and comparison charts so your board has a solid understanding of the costs and benefits of both keeping your existing system or purchasing new fundraising software.

Try to schedule one-on-one conversations with key board members before you build your presentation so you know which key points you should highlights and which issues you should avoid.

To make your presentation count, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you’re building a slide deck, focus on one key message per slide.
  • Use graphics and images to illustrate your message. The fewer words per slide the better.
  • Keep it short and simple.

Make sure you take time to practice your presentation beforehand. Have your team review your presentation with you before you present it to your board. If possible have a friendly board member sit in on your practice sessions and provide feedback.

Closing Thoughts

If you think your organization would benefit from fundraising software, it’s imperative that you take strategic approach with your board when securing funds for the investment. As long as you come prepared and provide a thorough presentation, you should be confident they’ll agree with you.

For additional information on purchasing fundraising software, check out BidPal’s guide on Best Practice for Purchasing Online Donation Software.

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