Most nonprofits are facing financial pressures in today’s economic environment. It’s in every nonprofit professional’s best interest to find ways to work more efficiently and effectively.
In our work with nonprofits here at Heller Consulting, we’ve found that federated and multi-chapter or affiliate nonprofits (those with a central office and multiple affiliate offices or chapters) can streamline their use of digital marketing software to save money and work more efficiently.
It just sometimes requires a new way of thinking about their technology strategy.
It’s not unusual for a multi-chapter nonprofit to have multiple tools that serve the same purpose, or even have multiple accounts for the same software across the organization. This approach to technology is often focused on meeting the needs of a localized business unit or department.
Tools and accounts often aren’t connected to each other. They typically each require their own administration. Often, they lead to duplicate as well as inconsistent processes and content across the organization. This situation can result in inefficiencies, a lack of cohesive branding and messaging, and mixed experiences for supporters.
If any of this sounds familiar, you can get more bang for your organization’s buck by streamlining roles and responsibilities and using technology that can support the unique needs of multi-level organizations. Consider the following two-pronged approach:
Here are some things to consider as you look for digital marketing software that supports a more efficient technology approach while continuing to support and empower affiliate offices:
Every organization’s governance model and skill sets are different. So, it’s important to be able to deploy and manage access to your software in a way that aligns with your unique Look for the ability to:
Look for solutions that allow you to offer a consistently branded experience for fundraising campaigns and events. This can apply to things like email messages, donation forms, and websites for fundraising events. Look for the ability to:
Determine if the solution allows you to associate constituents (or members, if your organization is membership-based) with the appropriate affiliate office. This will help to ensure your central office and affiliate offices can segment your constituents and target them with the right messages at the right time intervals. For example, Everyaction’s enterprise solution provides functionality for national organizations with association, affiliate, and chapter structures to easily manage data privacy and sharing.
If your organization wants to maintain separate bank accounts for different revenue streams, make sure the tools you consider allow for multiple, separate merchant accounts to align with various donation forms, events, and campaigns as well as various regional or program-specific accounts. For example, Fundraise Up offers the ability to license their product for the central organization and set up sub-accounts that can link to your centralized bank account, have their own account, or have a mix of the two.
Look for software that allows your chapter offices to easily report on their performance while supporting the roll-up of results at a regional, national, or global level. For example, Classy allows you to connect accounts from various offices through a Connected Accounts feature so you can look at aggregate results.
If your organization has offices in markets where there is more than one language spoken, or if you receive donations from out of country, look for tools that support multiple languages and currencies.
The ideas in this article might seem like a lot to consider. But remember that Team Heller has worked with numerous national and multi-chapter nonprofits on technology strategy and implementation projects – helping them centralize their technology systems in a way that works most effectively for both their central and branch offices. We’re ready to help you, too. Contact us today to learn more and get started.