As a continuation to my series, 6 Principles to Follow When Selecting Software for Your Not-For-Profit, I would like to remind you to consider resources as part of the decision.
You might ask yourself, what do my resources have to do with selecting software? You need to consider resources from a couple of different vantage points because the truth is, the software is all about resources!
Most Not-For-Profit (NFP) organizations run on limited funds. That means, with minimal dollars to expense on payroll, resources are expected to do a lot with their time. They need to be promoters of the cause, managers of the process, administrators of the paperwork, bookkeepers, volunteer coordinators and whatever else comes across their desk. All in a day’s work, right?
You have to ask what tasks are their biggest time consumers? Can or will the software provide any time relief for the resources you have?
It is hopeful that the answer is yes, however, it won’t be that way day one! Software has a way of providing more than you are used to having, and, like a kid in the candy store, you always want more! Resources start doing more with the software and their time demands never decrease!
Now, what happens if the resource that you have relied upon for the last five years, doing the record keeping manually, has limited knowledge of computer software solutions? The time investment to get that resource trained and comfortable will impact the length of the implementation. A key piece of information you will need to evaluate is the ease of use and user adoption of the solution. How simple is the software to use? What are the training options available to you? Is it a mainstream product familiar to other resources?
In my past blog, Principle #1- Know what you need, we discussed not getting caught in the shiny object syndrome thinking you need every bell and whistle imaginable, with a hefty price tag to follow. Your resources will need to match up to this as well. If you need all the bells and whistles, you may need a tech savvy resource to run it. If you are looking for efficiency, time saving and simple, you may need to evaluate the learning curve anticipated with the solution you choose.
Implementations take resource time. Not just your hired consultant’s time, but your own resources’ time. They will be expected to document and communicate the business process your organization follows, clean up data, populate spreadsheets, train, validate and test. If the resources in your organization are beyond maxed out before you start an implementation, you will have to consider how to backfill the effort to get you up and running.
Selecting software isn’t just about product features and technology. Your resources need to be a key point in your decision. Software can help them be more productive, efficient and even happier but this is a long term impact that doesn’t happen until after the solution is up and running. Resources are your most valuable assets; remember to take care of them along the way!
For more information on selecting software for your NFP, contact BDO Solutions’ NFP specialists or, download this white paper, 7 Software Selection Mistakes that Spell Failure.