Accounting systems for non-profit organizations have the power to push mission-critical objectives to new heights.

Investing in new software is about using modern tools to better manage day-to-day fundraising efforts. But, in the realm of today’s technology, where do you stand to achieve the greatest financial gains?

The State Of Technology Within Non-Profits

In a recent study of fundraising technology trends in non-profit organizations, the main software tools were found to be productivity applications, contributions management software, financial and accounting software and CRM software.

Out of the 142 non-profits surveyed, non-profit accounting software was found to be the third most used technology, with 48% of non-profit organizations using the software to track fundraising efforts and store donor management information.

While tracking technology trends in the non-profit industry is important, what’s more useful to your organization is answering the question: What works?

In the same study, software investments were broken down by revenue growth. The following technologies were ranked by their ability to generate revenue after implementation (percentages represent revenue growth):

  • CRM software (65%)
  • Donor management software (62%)
  • Accounting software (61%)
  • Productivity applications (60%)
  • Web analytics (57%)
  • Call center automation (29%)

Finding The Right Accounting Software For Non-Profits

As you begin searching for new accounting software, you need to consider the size of your non-profit. Are you looking for a smaller non-profit accounting system with basic features, a mid-level system with industry-specific features or a larger non-profit system with robust, industry-centric advanced features?

Determining the full range functionality of your non-profit accounting software is also essential. Below are some examples of available features:

  • General ledger
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable and invoicing
  • Fund accounting
  • Contributions and donor management
  • Constituent information tracking
  • Budgeting, forecasting and planning
  • Multi-user and multi-currency features

Aligning Technology Investments: Making The Final Decision

The biggest piece of advice for any accounting software investment, regardless of industry, is to let your mission and business objectives define your choice. It’s important to plan the initiative out in full. Once the technology switch is in full force, evaluating your efforts is key to keeping your non-profit mission and software objectives on track.

Here are a few key “dont’s” to make sure you stay on track:

  • Don’t use cost as a leading indicator for judging non-profit accounting software options.
  • Don’t pursue your software initiatives solely with upper management’s assistance. Your entire team needs to be involved and turned into allies as the implementation goes into full swing.
  • Don’t pursue non-profit mission-critical software without documenting and streamlining the processes affected by the technology.

The information above is useful for prioritizing your software investments, but it’s not enough to ensure success. The success factor in any software initiative is aligning technology to the needs of your staff and non-profit organization.

As you shop for software, consult with peers in your industry or software professionals with experience specific to non-profits. Learn more about choosing the right accounting software with help from our non-profit accounting software experts.