Best Nonprofit Software: What’s the right choice for your organization?

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a comparison of the best nonprofit software

There are more than 145 nonprofit software solutions on the market.

Some offer specialized features and cater to only one area of operations. Others offer broader features that your organization can use for many operational functions.

The best nonprofit software for your nonprofit is going to be the one that best fills the needs of your organization.

In this article, we'll try to help you choose the best nonprofit software by explaining the features that matter most to nonprofits, and compare different software choices.

The Best Nonprofit Software Choices

In this article, we’ll be looking at four of the sector’s most established solutions, as well as some cutting-edge software. The lineup includes ApricotRaiser’s Edge NXT, the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) and Salesforce NPSP with Provisio Partner's Birdseye.

Nonprofit Software Features

As all four programs are powerful nonprofit software programs with diverse capabilities. We’ll focus on the seven features that may be most important to your organization:

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Each nonprofit software has its own benefits and unique features. It's all about choosing what's important for your organization.

Donor management

Donor management is important for organizations that receive most of their funding from donors.
 
According to Charity Navigator statistics, individual donations amount to 80% of charitable giving. These donations include annual bequests each year. The remaining 20% comes from foundations and corporations, who donate 15% and five percent each year.
 
It can become a herculean task to keep track of donations and maintain donor communication. But the best nonprofit software program can function as a CRM and help you organize, engage and keep your donors.

Case management

Case management is a priority for organizations who handle individual cases.
 
This feature is best for organizations who need to record details as needed. It’s suited for teams assisting cases such as helping the homeless find employment. Or those who provide legal help to low-income families. Or even groups who rescue abandoned animals and place them with new owners.
 
The best nonprofit software for you would be one that lets you update records and refer to them as needed. This will help you provide the best solution at the right time.

Event management

Event management is important if a large part of your funding comes from events.
 
Fundraising events can include anything from sponsored 5Ks, galas, festivals, and concerts. These types of events can attract a lot of donors. It also involves detailed planning and careful fund management to ensure maximized ROI.
 
A powerful event management feature can keep you organized. It can also provide much-needed transparency around past and upcoming events.

Reporting

Every nonprofit organization needs a good reporting system.
 
It should provide insights into ROIs and how much impact campaigns make. It should also show results of fundraising efforts and other metrics that reflect the organization’s mission.
 
The best-run nonprofits generate periodic reports that help the organization’s decision-making process.
Funders and boards of directors may seek specific information as well, and your reporting system should be able to easily retrieve exactly what it is they need. If your nonprofit needs to meet annual auditing requirements, then the benefits of good reporting are obvious.
As too are nonprofits that send tax receipts to donors. While tax and financial data can be stored in a standalone nonprofit accounting software, it can also be a feature of a comprehensive software program.

Legacy software integration

It is important to maintain access to data when making a transition from one software to the next. What’s more, you also want to get easy access to your files to save time and effort.
 
For this, you must choose a software program that offers quick data imports. It is also best to go for one that integrates well with legacy software. Getting one with this feature eliminates the need for time-consuming manual entries.

Training and support

Proper implementation is as necessary as the software program itself. So if you want the best nonprofit software for your team, you need to consider its training and support features.
 
The software you choose should provide effective training for users. and accessible support for your IT department. When problems occur, it should be easy for your IT staff to take care of installing and running the software.

Cost

In a nonprofit, cost is always a critical factor. Because of this, your investments should be practical and worthwhile.
 
Whichever you choose, the best nonprofit software for you will still depend on which features you think are important.

How They Stack Up

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We're going to compare four nonprofit software programs in our exploration.

Apricot

Apricot focuses on case management.
 
It’s a cloud-based solution that offers mobile access making your data available all the time. It also provides an easy-to-use dashboard and custom forms and fields you can tailor to your needs.
Apricot offers limited donor management features such as identifying information and donation records. It also offers limited event management capabilities but without any transaction capabilities.
 
For reporting, Apricot offers extensive reports for cases, programs, and volunteers. It is also notable that Apricot creator Social Solutions offer ETO, with advanced reporting features.
 
Unfortunately, Apricot doesn’t offer any legacy software integration. But you can import data from other applications and upload it as a .csv file.
 
Apricot also offers two levels of support. A basic package comes with the software, but you can always get an upgrade for advanced support.
 
The costs for Apricot depend on the features you want, as well as the number of users that will be using the program.

Raiser’s Edge NXT

Raiser’s Edge NXT focuses on fundraising.
 
It offers every function you want for donor management and event management. And it also includes the ability to process payments. But, it does not offer case management capabilities.
 
Raiser’s Edge NXT is also cloud-based and lets it scale with your organization. It also offers mobile access via SKY UX .
 
The features include powerful data collection, integrated analytics, and intuitive reporting capabilities. Raiser’s Edge NTX uses intuitive dashboards that give immediate visibility of donor information.
 
This lets you create charts that provide in-depth insights into donor metrics. As a result, it becomes easier to streamline efforts to engage new donors. It also lets you keep and expand existing ones.
 
Raiser’s Edge NXT also integrates well with Financial Edge NXT, a nonprofit accounting software from the same company.
 
It also allows data importing via .csv files. But it doesn’t offer integration with legacy software.
 
Support and costs also depend on the number of users.

Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP)

Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) is a mobile-first platform that uses open source codesIt offers flexibility and a range of powerful out-of-the-box features for non-profits.
You can also extend its capabilities with any app from the Salesforce AppExchange.
 
NPSP provides a 360-degree view of your fundraising efforts.
 
Its features include extensive donor management and event management capabilities. You can also add a payment processing option with a plug-and-play solution.
 
NPSP offers automation to reduce the amount of time your staff spends on repetitive tasks. It also has program implementation and case management capabilities.
 
For reports, it has Salesforce Report Builder that features powerful analytics. It lets you generate powerful reports, from donor engagement to program success rates.
 
NPSP does allow for legacy software integration, although it may require special implementation or an additional add-on.
 
As for training and support, they offer a free online training for platform users through Trailhead. There’s also an online tech support you can take advantage of.
 
You can choose to get NPSP’s Lightning Enterprise Edition for $36 per user per month. Or go for the Lightning Unlimited Edition which costs $72 per user per month. Both plans get billed per year.

Salesforce NPSP with Provisio Partner's Birdseye

Salesforce NPSP with Provisio birdseye has all the NPSP functionalities and much more in the way of case management and reporting.
 
Birdseye has a extensive program and case management capabilities that are custom implemented for your nonprofit. This results in a holistic, bird’s eye view of individuals, families or other types of cases.
 
Salesforce NPSP with Provisio Birdseye also has powerful reporting capabilities. Here you can generate reports about return on impact and financial results. It lets you make data-driven decisions and financial reporting obligations, including auditing requirements.
 
Users can also integrate it with legacy software. This makes it easier to access to your existing data within an effective environment. It also has an ongoing maintenance and support plan.
 
The software comes free as a part of Provisio Partner’s implementation services. Salesforce NPSP licenses are required separately.

Table overview:

Donor Management Yes Yes Yes Yes
Case Management Yes No No Yes
Event Management Yes Yes Yes Yes
Reporting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Legacy Software Integration No No Yes Yes
Training/Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cost TBD TBD Starts at $36 per user per month (billed annually)* Salesforce.org subscirption fees + Birdseye implementation service**

*Free for the first 10 users of registered 501c3 orgs
**There is no additional license fee for Birdseye software

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Which Software Is Right for Your Organization?

So which software should you choose?

  • Apricot is right for you if you are looking for case management software first and foremost.
  • Raiser’s Edge NXT is the right choice for your organization if you only want software for fundraising.
  • You will benefit from choosing Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack if you want a flexible, mobile-first software that you can expand as needed.
  • Salesforce NPSP with Provisio birdseye is right for you if you want a comprehensive human services software with powerful case management and reporting capabilities, as well as additional implementation service.

 

Could your nonprofit benefit from a Birdseye view?

Are you interested in learning more about how Provisio Partners' Birdseye can help your organization? Schedule a 30 minute consultation to find out if we're the right fit for your nonprofit.

Travis Bloomfield

About Travis Bloomfield

Travis Bloomfield is the CEO & Managing Partner at Provisio Partners, where he gets to help human services nonprofits spend more time fulfilling their missions, and less time managing their software.

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