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nonprofit ourselves, we at TechSoup know what it feels like when your
organization starts to grow. On one hand, you’re able to help more people and expand
the reach of your mission. On the other hand, you suddenly have several next
steps to take, all at the same time, to make sure your growth is sustainable.
Do you need software to manage volunteers and human resources? Does your
organization have a website? How can you grow and track your fundraising
efforts? Making wise and affordable technology investments can help in all of
on the heels of our Software
to Build and Grow Your Nonprofit
blog, we’ve put together this second toolkit based on what fellow nonprofits
told us their biggest concerns were.
resources software can save you time, reduce paperwork, and help you get rid of
paper HR files once and for all. Storing and retrieving your HR information is
made simple with Staff Manager (admin fee: $30) from Atlas
Business Solutions. Customizable tabbed pages show general
employee information, emergency contacts, wages, performance evaluations,
notes, and associated documents — all of which can be customized by
some organizations may be at the point of hiring, others are managing their
growth through the smart use of volunteers. ScheduleAnywhere’s cloud-based
time-tracking program (admin fees: $35 – $55) allows an unlimited number of
custom volunteer schedules, based on locations, positions, shifts, or special
events. Schedules can include specific staffing requirements and built-in
notifications that too few or too many volunteers are scheduled at those times.
Weiner of DoSomething.org encourages
nonprofits to think of their websites as relationship-building vehicles, not
fundraising ones: "Most non-Vegas marriages don’t happen on the first
date, it starts with a reasonable ask and comes after a relationship has been
developed. Having a donate button is fine, but donating as your primary or only
call-to-action is not a reasonable ask to the vast majority of your
nonprofit’s website is the first interaction that many people in the community,
including constituents, donors, and grant makers, have with your organization. You
can build a professional website for your nonprofit without
breaking the bank, but only if you take the time to consider a
few key questions. We have a good collection of articles
at TechSoup to help you navigate these waters.
thing we hear again and again is how organizations pay someone to design and
develop a website for them, and once that site is handed over, the organization
doesn’t have anyone on staff who knows how to use and update it. Don’t let this
happen to you!
TechSoup’s Elliot Harmon has great articles on developing
your first website and how
websites work, full of tips, advice, and in-depth
information to help you make the best choices.
Once you’re educated yourself about what
kind of website best fits your organization, you may or may not need some tools
to make it happen. Content management programs like Windows
SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites (admin fee: $708)
are used for deploying and managing a public-facing website.
might also have a staff member or volunteer developing and updating your
website for you. In that case, be sure to ask for examples of work they’ve done
in the past. If their references check, your organization may have need of software
such as Dreamweaver
CS5.5 ESD (admin fee: $35), a handy HTML editor for design and publication of your website.
management software can help you keep your fundraising efforts in line, ensuring
that each of your constituents gets your message in a way encourages their
support without unintentionally spamming them.
forums are a great resource for discussions and recommendations
for fundraising tools, and TechSoup has a
number of fundraising solutions available for donation.
Check out our
breakdown of donor management tools to help make a more
with the needs of smaller organizations in mind, Sage
ACT! Pro 2012 (admin fee: $35) links donor databases and
contact history to calendars, tasks, project summaries, and appointment schedules.
ACT! offers built-in word processing, mail merge features, and safeguards to
prevent duplicate records.
your website developed and your organization growing, chances are you’re
looking to start accepting online and in-person donations in the form of credit
cards. The world of credit cards is complex, and there are a number of ways to
accept them as payment — some of which require different types of hardware and
software, and relationships with banks. In
this article, we discuss what you need to know.
Once you’ve decided on a strategy, your nonprofit
can access discounted rates for processing credit and debit card payments and
donations in-person or on your website through Dharma Merchant Services. This offering lets your nonprofit or library
access discounted rates, payment terminals, check processing equipment, and
card readers for mobile devices.
Plus: as a
will return 10 percent of the gross annual processing profits from your
merchant account in the form of an annual donation to you. Learn
conferencing and online collaboration solutions are important for staff and
across the state, country, and world. Here in TechSoup’s San
Francisco office, we use audio conferencing every day to talk with people
working remotely, in the Bay Area, plus staff based in New York or Seattle, and
often London or Poland.
Check out TechSoup’s
GreenTech for a great collection of articles, blog posts, and webinars
on telecommuting, online collaboration, on conducting online trainings.
you’re meeting with board members, constituents, or members of other
audio and web conferencing services help simplify collaboration.
Beyond conference calls, nonprofits can use ReadyTalk (admin fee: $45) to
record audio and video for tutorials and educational webinars hosting up to 25
free attendees at a time. For examples of training webinars held on ReadyTalk,
check out the TechSoup
If your organization is looking to
conduct conference calls, webinars, and training, check out Citrix
Online’s remote web conferencing and training services.
These programs make it easier to hold meetings or training sessions by allowing
staff or constituents from around the world call in to your conferences and
audio conferencing service offers basic audio conferencing
services for an unlimited number of participants within the United States and
Canada at a discounted rate of 2.75-cents per minute, per participant ($1.65
per person, per hour). Rates for international callers are based on each
participant's location (see
a list of international rates). For all calls, only your
organization is charged.
in and check your eligibility to see which of the
donations below are available to your organization. All of these donated
software tools can be requested at the same time. Keep in mind that every
donation program at TechSoup has its own rules and restrictions. Some let you
request only one donation, some, like Microsoft, let you request several.
Technology can help your organization manage its growth more sustainably, but
only if you’re doing the legwork to make sure those technology decisions are
smart and informed. There’s no one-size fits all technology solution for
nonprofits and libraries, and it’s important to remember that.
book you might find helpful is Nonprofit
Management 101: a good beginner’s guide to every facet of
running a new nonprofit. This book walks you through topics like fundraising,
managing technology, marketing, finances, advocacy, and working with boards.
remember that you’re part of a larger community: if you have questions, our
community forums are a great place to ask them. And check out our Learning
Center for nonprofit-specific articles, webinars and tool kits to help your
technology planning needs. We know you’re working hard: TechSoup is here to
help along the way.
Patrick Duggan | TechSoup Digital Marketing Manager