2 ways nonprofits can plan ahead using management software

Nonprofit management software can help organizations plan for more successful fundraising programs.
Date Published
05/20/2014

Asking a nonprofit management professional to predict the success of a fundraising campaign can be a difficult request. However, an growing number of more powerful software resources for nonprofits make this process less harrowing, and these can give charitable groups more confidence in developing fundraising strategies.

Here are a couple of ways that nonprofits should tackle the planning phase:

1. Take stock of the environment
According to KnowHowNonprofit, an informational arm of the U.K.-based National Council for Voluntary Organizations, planning is crucial for delivering a successful fundraising campaign. In this case, the environment is both literal and figurative. Depending on when and where a charitable group holds a fundraising event, donor turnout can vary dramatically. For instance, if the organization is holding a peer-to-peer fundraising event outdoors in the form of a bicycle race, the weather can ultimately influence participation and the revenue raised through the activity. Should inclement weather delay the fundraiser until a later date, it’s important to have the technological infrastructure in place to make certain all stakeholders are aware of any changes so that they’re not disenfranchised when they show up to an empty venue.

Also, the economic circumstances in the location where the nonprofit holds the event can influence participation. If the community consistently has financial trouble – which is likely a good reason to hold a fundraiser to support them – people may not be able to respond to appeals for donations as strongly as more affluent areas. For this reason, nonprofits should research well ahead of time to get a firm understanding of the demographics of a particular region before holding an event.

2. Look at the costs needed to achieve the goals
The Chronicle of Philanthropy suggested analyzing the “cost per outcome” for a specific campaign can provide a more stable path forward. For instance, multiple variables can influence a program that aims to provide affordable housing for 1,000 homeless individuals in a given area. Among the many factors, organizations will need to look at the number of available units and those under construction, as well as the employment situation of individuals targeted by the program. What’s more, charitable groups need to think about the timeframe, the extent to which volunteers will need to participate and what other partners are necessary to achieve predetermined goals.

This is a data-intensive process which nonprofit management software can help aggregate and organize. Without understanding these costs ahead of time, nonprofits can be surprised by what they experience once they implement the program.

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