Wednesday, 29 March 2017

When To Invest In New Software For Your NFP

Today, many nonprofits are dealing with increased competition for donations and other fundraising challenges, such as the decrease in the availability of grants due to government budget cuts. This makes it more difficult for treasurers to come before the board and ask for funds to upgrade software.

During difficult financial times, many boards adopt the attitude that if something has been working so far, why pay to fix something that isn't "broken?" Others are reluctant to invest in upgrading the software because they think it will simply be too much of a hassle to learn something new. These beliefs can be shortsighted, however, if the new software will in effect pay for itself by increasing efficiency and security and thereby lowering overall costs.

The following are a few signs that your existing software is costing you more than the cost to upgrade, which should help you to convince board members that this is one investment that's worth the cost to make.

Your Free Software is no Longer Worth the Time and Hassle to Use It

Just because there aren't any upfront costs to obtain the software, doesn't mean that it's wholly free to use. Even free software must be set up and configured properly, and updated periodically to run smoothly.

If your "free" software isn't specific to your field or cause, it may be difficult or impossible to track data that is specific to your nonprofit. Another sign that it's time to upgrade is if your current software is if it requires a lot of manual processes and data entry to be able to track items and produce documents and reports.

If this is the case, that free software is probably costing you more in payroll dollars and staff hours to operate as time goes by than the upfront cost of upgrading your software to one that simplifies and automates most processes and that's designed specifically to meet the needs of a nonprofit.

Continuing to Use Your Current Software Increases Risk of Loss

Using older, out of date software may expose your nonprofit to greater risk of loss than newer technology. Many older systems rely on older operating systems to run, which are, by nature, more vulnerable to hacking since they are no longer subject to frequent security updates designed to patch and fix flaws that thieves and hackers can exploit to enter your nonprofit's systems and steal sensitive financial and demographic information.

Older software can make it more difficult to track transactions and take more time to produce reports that might uncover irregularities that point the way to internal and external theft. Money that has been paid to the nonprofit, or, that the nonprofit has paid others, can slip through the cracks when older, out of date software is used.

Old, out of date software also usually does not allow users to store information in the cloud, which puts your organisation's entire collection of records and databases at risk of loss should something happen to the hard drive, such as a fire, flood or other disaster.

Finding a Solution

When your organisation is ready to invest in new software, there are a number of brands and services on the market. Admin Bandit offers accounting software that is designed specifically with the needs of nonprofit organisations and volunteer treasurers in mind.

Admin Bandit software is reasonably priced, very easy and intuitive to use, and walks treasurers through every step of preparing budgets, reporting, statements, managing GST obligations and producing other necessary documents that every nonprofit needs. Most processes are fully automated once the nonprofit's basic account information has been entered, which takes around 2 minutes or less, increasing ease of use.

The software also connects with the cloud so that it's easy to keep the software updated, which increases the security of your nonprofit's information while also making it simple, stress-free and secure to backup databases and other files.

Finally, board members and other officers of nonprofits have significant fiduciary duties and a responsibility to protect sensitive information collected by the nonprofit, wisely use donations and other assets, and to conduct themselves in an honest and impartial manner. The security flaws found in older, inefficient software makes it more difficult for boards to fulfil their fiduciary obligations.

New software such as Admin Bandit's increases transparency in the organisation while making it easier for boards to have the up-to-date information that they need to make better decisions. Upgrading your software not only reduces the potential for loss, but, makes it simpler to recruit new treasurers and board members when openings arise.