If you want to lead a nonprofit organization, you’ll need the right tools.
Nonprofit organizations depend on the right CRM systems, email marketing providers, accounting software, and fundraising platforms to amplify their message (while staying on budget). In fact, the right technology platforms can be the difference between hitting your campaign goal and coming up short.
Unfortunately, the nonprofit sector is under constant financial strain, which can disrupt its strategic planning goals. A poll by the Stanford Social Innovation Review showed that more than half—56%, to be exact—of nonprofit organizations planned to cut overhead costs, which can prevent upgrades to the right tools.
Or so you might believe.
Succeeding within nonprofit management and leadership requires finding inventive solutions to age-old problems and arming your staff with the tools essential to their professional development. Fortunately, there are plenty of trusted platforms that come at an affordable price point—even for a nonprofit. Below, we dive into different tools nonprofit professionals need to support their good cause.
4 tools you need for nonprofit management and leadership
Great nonprofit leaders know how to step up in a time of crisis, accomplish their goals on a strapped budget, and listen to their staff.
Delegation is one of the most important leadership skills you can acquire. Therefore, invite teams across departments to speak up and weigh in on which solution(s) will address their needs. Below, we offer a starting point on which platforms are necessary to meet your nonprofit financial, promotional, and operational needs.
Note: Many platforms within this list offer a nonprofit rate, so be sure to factor this into your research.
1. A CRM system 💻
Think of a CRM system as a centralized database on steroids. With the right platform, a CRM system can track donor history, schedule calls and emails with major supporters, keep tallies on vendors, or keep your volunteers organized.
At its core, a CRM will house all the contact information for your partners, volunteers, supporters, NGO staff, and corporate partnerships, allowing you to keep all of your contacts organized in one place.
- HubSpot: HubSpot offers a number of free tools to help your fundraising team stay organized, including live chat, email scheduling, a shared inbox, and contact management.
- Salesforce: Salesforce has consistently been ranked as the #1 CRM platform in existence, with over 150,000 companies using the service. Nonprofits are eligible for 10 free subscriptions to their Power of Us Program, which includes donation management, program management, constituent relationship management, and even accounting—all in one place.
- Track: Track is Givebutter’s completely free built-in CRM system, allowing you to track donors and campaign efforts all in one place. With unlimited contacts, easy migration, activity tracking, and custom filters, it’s the easiest way to keep tabs on your supporters.
- Little Green Light: Little Green Light is a CRM system built exclusively for donor management. It allows you to easily set up tasks and reminders, automate upcoming meetings, record volunteer hours, and—if you're a school or university—manage students, parents, and other alumni.
- Bloomerang: Bloomerang offers a simple, intuitive CRM solution to identify top prospects, launch an email marketing strategy, keep donors engaged, and build easily digestible reports to keep tabs on performance measurement.
2. Accounting 💰
A large piece of nonprofit management and leadership is being able to hit your fundraising goals. In order to keep your budget in line and your financial management in check, you'll need an accounting platform that easily integrates with your fundraising platform. Options include:
- QuickBooks: QuickBooks is one of the most trusted platforms within the nonprofit finance space, offering an intuitive solution to help you track cash flow, donations, invoices, and payments all in one place.
- Sage Intacct: Sage Intacct makes it easy for nonprofit management and leadership to stay on budget, featuring campaign dashboards, workflows for billing approvals, and a number of third-party integrations.
- Xero: If pricing is one of your No. 1 concerns, you may want to consider Xero for your financial needs. Xero offers cloud-based accounting starting at just $5.50 a month, fitting well within any budget.
3. Team collaboration 👯
Nonprofit leadership teams are responsible for ensuring communication flows freely across department lines. To help ignite collaboration and reduce decision-making time between board members, the executive director, program directors, human resources, and other staff, consider using the following tools:
- Slack: With Slack, your team can considerably cut down on unwanted emails through their team chat platforms. Staff can create different channels for different uses, allowing them to easily collaborate on marketing, donor management, or community development.
- Zoom: With more and more teams transitioning to remote work, enabling face-to-face communication is an important factor for any nonprofit leader to consider. Zoom allows your team members to easily connect with vendors, supporters, and each other, no matter where in the world they may be.
- OpenPhone: Being a good leader means being able to respect the mental health, privacy, and boundaries of your employees. OpenPhone is a built-in phone app allowing your staff to use a separate number for work, keeping their personal number private.
- Loom: If you want your employees to easily grow various skill sets, consider Loom. Loom allows your team to quickly record their screens, which increases team collaboration while cutting down on meetings.
4. Email marketing 📬
When it comes to marketing, email automation may be the most lucrative channel at your disposal.
According to Nonprofit Tech for Good, only 69% of nonprofits worldwide publish an email newsletter. While this figure may sound high, know that email has the highest ROI of any digital marketing platform, bringing in $36 for every $1 spent.
Investing in email automation can help increase your social impact, ignite changes to public policy, sway public administration, and keep supporters updated on upcoming fundraising initiatives. Here are a few platforms that can advance your advocacy work:
- Mailchimp: Mailchimp offers an intuitive drag-and-drop editor, hundreds of templates, and pre-designed workflows to help launch your email marketing strategy. Plus, they offer a 15% discount for nonprofit organizations.
- Engage: To effectively communicate with your supporter base, you should seamlessly link your marketing automation and fundraising platforms. Engage by Givebutter allows you to send personalized emails, texts, videos, and more—without ever leaving your fundraising tools.
- Constant Contact: Constant Contact helps you keep supporters engaged by offering branded forms, landing pages, email templates, and even social media posting—all through one platform.
- ThankView: Want to give a special thank you to a corporate sponsor or major gift donor? ThankView allows your team to send personalized thank you videos, deepening your relationship with major supporters.
Choose tools that easily sync with your fundraising platform
One of the most fundamental requirements of all nonprofit management and leadership is learning to support your staff. To help your team do their jobs, you need the right technology.
The right accounting platform, CRM system, marketing automation system, and team collaboration tools can help you hit your campaign goals, increasing the impact factor of your organization.
Fortunately, many of the most trusted platforms available come with a free or discounted rate for registered 501(c) nonprofit organizations.
When choosing new software, pick one that easily integrates with your fundraising platform. Givebutter is an end-to-end solution that provides fundraising, CRM, and email marketing—all in one place. Plus, it seamlessly integrates with thousands of systems (like accounting and team collaboration tools) to help you reach your fundraising goals.
Ready to see how Givebutter can help you reach your campaign goals? Launch your free account today, and be sure to check out Givebutter's list of third-party integrations to find the right tools to fit your needs.
Kylie thrives on supporting others, going above and beyond every task, making everyone’s jobs easier, and cinnamon in her coffee.