Choosing the Perfect IT Consulting Partner and Navigating the Nonprofit Tech Landscape
With multiple shifts taking place in the nonprofit technology market, you might find it challenging to make decisions for your organization. How do you sort through all of the recent nonprofit technology vendor news and make successful purchasing decisions? And how do you select the right nonprofit technology implementation partner to help you get up and running successfully once you purchase a new solution?
The answers to these questions are complex, not to mention different for each organization. However, there are some essential approaches every nonprofit can take to make stronger technology decisions.
Here are some of our top tips for assessing and selecting the right technology and software implementation partner for your nonprofit.
Tips for finding the right software for your nonprofit
In today’s nonprofit technology market, you have more choices than perhaps ever before. As your options become more complex, decisions become more complicated as well. The following tips will give you a stronger foundation as you move forward with technology selection:
- Assess your organization’s needs and goals.
Start by creating a list of goals and priorities for your nonprofit’s technology. Defining what your organization is trying to achieve with technology will be helpful when you get to the point of assessing individual products and watching demos. It will be much easier to understand which tools will best meet your organization’s needs if you can assess products in the context of your organization’s goals, not just in terms of individual product features and functionality.
- Put success metrics in place.
Based on your organization’s goals and priorities, define what success for your new software project looks like. Establish key metrics that align with the reasons you are making a technology change, such as increased efficiency around specific processes or improved overall job satisfaction for staff members.
- Establish a decision-making framework.
As you assess new technology, it’s important to gather stakeholder input and consider multiple viewpoints. Ultimately, though, decisions must be made. Create a decision-making process that establishes how decisions will be made, who will contribute to decisions, who will make final decisions, and how final decisions will be communicated to stakeholders.
- Think realistically.
The nonprofit technology market has a lot to offer these days, and product demos can be impressive. So, be sure not to let a dazzling demo persuade you to buy more product than you need and more than you can manage. As you assess various software solutions, be realistic about how long it will take to implement the product and what staff you will need to use, manage, and maintain the solution today and in the future.
- Know that you don’t have to choose just one platform.
Today’s nonprofit technology marketplace includes technology platforms from companies such as Salesforce and Microsoft. While these platforms offer large ecosystems that provide great flexibility, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to choose one platform for everything. For example, you might use Salesforce for program and mission management, Microsoft for your fundraising needs, and a separate application for volunteer management that integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft. It’s all about finding the right mix for your organization’s goals and situation.
Learn more insights about technology decision-making for nonprofits. Read the interactive guide, 2023 Digital Transformation Trends for Nonprofits
Tips for finding the right IT consultant for your nonprofit
Companies like Salesforce and Microsoft that offer large platform-based products typically do not provide professional services. They rely on their partner networks to implement products for their clients. Here are some tips for finding the right IT consultant that matches your organization:
- Ask about business focus and experience.
Often, technology consulting firms for nonprofits focus on certain sizes of nonprofits and/or certain specializations (such as food banks, animal welfare organizations, and higher education institutions). Make sure the implementation partner you choose serves organizations like yours.
- Consider other services offered.
Some technology consulting firms for nonprofits offer more than just product or solution implementation services. For example, some offer technology planning, technology assessment and selection, and change management services. In today’s rapidly evolving nonprofit technology market, these services can be invaluable in helping you make informed technology decisions that serve your organization well for years to come.
Proactive change management can improve team satisfaction with your new technology and reduce risk involved with technology changes. Learn more in The Nonprofit’s Guide to Change Management
- Evaluate the overall fit.
Dig into implementation partners’ culture and values to make sure they align with your organization. Also, confirm that they can deliver the needed services on time and on budget.
Learn more tips for choosing the right software and implementation partner. Watch the webinar, Technology Transformation for Nonprofits: Navigating Software Selection and Implementation Partners
Take the next step with your nonprofit software
There’s no need to struggle in today’s evolving nonprofit technology market. Our team here at Heller Consulting is uniquely positioned to help you make strategic technology decisions and successfully implement the right technology mix for your nonprofit. We have deep knowledge and experience with nonprofit technology, including implementing solutions from Salesforce and Microsoft. We can help you determine which products are right for your organization and help you implement and support the solutions.
Contact us today to learn more and get started.
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