If you’ve ever directed the IT department for an association or nonprofit, you know that budgets can be tight. Fundraising is a continuous initiative in the nonprofit sector. Nonetheless, information technology is one of your association’s most powerful and cost-effective tools for doing more with less. So, the next time your treasurer is drowning in red ink and calling, “Help!” just reach for one of these five software solutions and throw your association a rope:
1. A Killer Member Database on the Cloud
Spreadsheets and emails are woefully inefficient methods of tracking your membership, so most associations rely on some sort of member database software. However, local installs or custom SQLs take time, on-site server space, manual maintenance and upgrades, and more work to ensure maximum uptime.
Go to the cloud to save the day. A neatly packaged, cloud-based SaaS solution saves you money, reduces labor, and adds flexibility. Mid-to-large sized professional and trade associations love robust online AMS software solutions like iMIS and Personify. These platforms are comprehensive and cater exactly to your needs, but could be unwieldy for organizations that are short on internal resources or have simple needs.
Smaller associations or orgs with relatively straightforward member interactions can get a lot of mileage out of a standard CRM system (think Salesforce or CiviCRM) for much less money, and supplement it with an online event management tool.
If your budget is a goose egg, the HubSpot CRM is totally free forever, powerful, highly-rated, and flush with useful integrations.
2. Job Board Software
Membership dues and event registration fees can only get an association so far. Usually, revenue is supplemented with grants and other fundraising efforts. Running an online job board is a fantastic way to boost revenue while providing a specialized benefit to your members.
It works like this: you host an industry-relevant job board on your association website to attract applicants and employers. Employers pay a fee to post jobs to your association’s job board, and dues-paying members gain exclusive access to the job listings.
Submission management systems like OpenWater can handle job applications easily with custom web forms, while employers can be given access to review the applications through their portal. As an added bonus, OpenWater is also a perfect software solution for accepting and reviewing conference abstracts, running scholarship or awards programs, accepting donations, and a litany of other association-related tasks.
3. A Mobile-Friendly Donation Platform
If all you’re looking for is a simple tool to collect donations, make a mobile solution your first stop. Mobile-friendly donation software tools like Snowball are perfect for a world in which people are glued to their smartphones. Tools like Snowball make it easy for donors to send you money in just two clicks via your website, an email button, or in a text message. Unique features like the ability to set a recurring gift or create a donation button make it a great alternative to PayPal in the association space.
Other tools, like Bloomerang, even have a free-to-use tier for small nonprofits but are still scalable as you grow.
4. Web-Based Crowdfunding Software
Need some software solutions for a fundraiser? Bonfire provides nonprofits and charitable organizations with a web-based builder to create t-shirts, which you can then sell on their crowdfunding platform. T-shirt fundraisers are perfect for one-time events, but they are also a fun and flexible option to use as part of a more significant portion of your fundraising strategy.
And it’s free! You pay nothing upfront and take home 100% of the profits from these custom shirts when the campaign is over. There’s even an option for donors to add a donation to the listed price of the t-shirt.