WHETHER your focus for 2023 is improving communications with donors, financial process efficiency or service delivery, it’s certain that technology is going to play a large role. However, not all systems are equal and siloed software creates duplication, errors and a lot of wasted time.
Integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems with their intuitive functionality and innovative Customer Relationship Management (CRM) features drive productivity, give senior teams a holistic view and help to improve every donor and volunteer interaction thanks to built-in analytics and AI.
The need for feeling like a valued supporter and having a personalised connection to a chosen charity is greater than ever, and up-to-the-minute technology provides the answer. Ahead of a new year full of opportunity, we explore the features that non-profit organisations should demand from their software for a positive 2023.
It should be in its support period
This might sound odd, but a lot of organisations continue to use software after the end of the system’s development and support period. There are huge risks to security and compliance and no new features will ever become available, while a broken system can be a disaster. The stop for Sage Line 500 and Sage 1000 is fast approaching, for example, and a number of on-premise Microsoft AX and CRM products are well out of support. Getting rid of legacy, on-premise software removes enormous outgoings associated with server requirements, which are usually much higher than the cloud software subscription fee.
Can be integrated with external software
The ideal situation is for all your data to sit within one solution for a truthful, real-time view but there are ways to achieve this even with disparate systems. In-house developed software or best-in-class systems you can’t bear to part with can connect with clever APIs. If your solution doesn’t support this, it really should in 2023.
You can execute moments-based marketing
‘Moments-based’ marketing that is personalised, real-time and predictive is crucial for a modern approach and a CRM – or DRM (Donor Relationship Management) – the solution should be empowering non-profits to explore real-time journeys and identify key moments in prospective or current supporters’ experience journeys.
Have intelligent conversations
Conversation intelligence tools can drive analytics and data-led insights via extractions from call recordings, as well as assist with training. When your solution also captures target audience interactions across multiple channels, you can track performance, successful tactics and sentiment from calls.
Leverage data and AI
If you can’t target current and prospective supporters through turbo-charged personalisation, driven by creative and smart technology, listen to this. Up-to-the-minute cloud software offers suggestions on channels, timing and content based on past success, and the targets’ profiles, which are also created from a mixture of data and artificial intelligence.
Have ultimate visibility
Board members and leaders can better make informed strategic decisions when the solution is integrated, as they can track performance, and identify pipeline risks and opportunities, from a 360-view. Personalised or departmental dashboards should present data in a digestible way – in real-time – while also allowing users to simply click through to any broad or granular level. Plus, any software worth the investment in 2023 should have a variety of out-of-the-box reports with the capability to customise and have automated creation, approval alert and distribution functionality. Ultimate visibility also means ultimate efficiency.
Dial up the automation
So many manual financial processes are time-consuming and often frustrating, therefore a real barrier for finance teams to thrive and focus on tasks with the greatest benefit to the charity. Whether income or outgoings – across any number of revenue and service delivery streams – a solution fit for 2023 should be able to automatically read and recognise documents as well as process and reconcile payments. Why wouldn’t you want speed and accuracy across crucial back-office functions?
If your software is missing any of these features, it’s likely your not-for-profit organisation is missing countless opportunities to attract new donors and volunteers, spot opportunities that are driven by truthful data and create efficiencies in time-consuming manual processes. Don’t let the challenging landscape of 2023 get in the way of your goals, let technology help you achieve them.
Ian Robertson is the Sales and Marketing Director of BrightBridge, a UK-based technology consultancy offering Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions. Ian has over 30 years of experience in ERP and CRM implementations. Prior to forming BrightBridge, Ian worked for a major US IT corporation, where he acquired a depth of knowledge around time-saving efficiencies through technological integration and automation.