Running a not-for-profit is not for the faint-hearted.
While your core mission may have originated from a desire to solve a specific social problem to improve the circumstances of those less fortunate, as your organisation evolves, a tender heart and an aspiration to make a difference will no longer be enough to reach your growing list of demands.
It takes managerial skills and expert business acumen to nurture the seed of your good cause so it grows into an organisation that reaches hundreds, thousands or even millions of people each year. And, if yours is a mission that aids social improvement, it won’t take long before your original systems and procedures no longer serve the initial purpose for which they were designed.
With a responsibility to donors to set budgets that maximise every cent at the forefront of an executive decision-making process, charities are often under-staffed until every multi-tasking member of the team is stretched to capacity.
What this means is that systems may be reactive rather than deliberate, ultimately suggesting that at some point, you stop working in the most efficient way to achieve targets.
While you’re treading water trying to meet daily objectives, the thought of the time, money and energy required to integrate and upgrade systems can seem so overwhelming that it’s always put off until tomorrow.
Which, as we all know, never comes.
If this sounds familiar, here are six signs it’s time for you to evaluate existing systems and consider upgrading to a multifaceted online tool to increase capacity to connect with your cause and reduce operational costs overall.
1. You rely on volunteers for operations
Your administration systems are so resource-heavy that you couldn’t survive without volunteer support.
Updating donor details, processing donations and research projects are all passed to skilled volunteers without whom, your admin would be unmanageable, and you couldn’t offer a seamless donor experience putting your fundraising income at risk.
2. Customer service is suffering across the board
Returning phone calls to community members who wish to offer support, updating donor details and picking up full donation tins from local businesses are all tasks that often get pushed to the bottom of the ever-growing to-do list.
Neglecting any of these areas inadvertently tells the community – those who keep your organisation running – that they’re not at the top of the list of your priorities.
Regardless of how busy you are, if your customer service is less than 100% perfect, it’s time to review your systems.
Implementing a CRM tool that simplifies processes and keeps your contact obligations on track will provide supporters with a high level of customer service to keep them connected and loyal to your cause with minimal effort from you.
Get this part wrong, however, and you’ll damage your reputation along with your fundraising income.
3. Fundraising programs aren’t evolving
If you’ve had success with a program and developed a tried and tested recipe, that’s only good enough for now. Everyone around you is evolving their systems and fundraising methods, and you must do the same.
Perhaps you’ve got some great ideas stored in your memory bank, but you don’t have the time to implement and test new initiatives.
If you’re failing to find the time to evolve, or maybe you don’t have the technical proficiency required, you must start to streamline systems to avoid donor fatigue which will impact your fundraising results.
4. You’re not utilising data to its full potential
Data is extremely powerful in helping build effective fundraising programs. If you’re capturing data yet you don’t have the time or skillset for analysis to improve the results of your programs or appeals, it’s time to implement systems that can simplify the process to help you achieve your broader mission easily.
5. You spend more time working in your cause than you do on your cause
If you spend most of your time writing reports, implementing appeals and managing day-to-day operations rather than connecting with your purpose and facilitating change, it’s undoubtedly time to implement new systems.
The reality is that when working in a charity, you’re always going to be busy. If you have enough hours in the day to evolve your operations, build efficient and streamlined systems, analyse data while being creative in your fundraising too, the chances are you’re over-staffed and aren’t being responsible with your donations.
SupporterHub is a unique, cutting-edge CRM tool designed to streamline systems, integrate existing programs and make life easier for busy not-for-profit employees without stretching budgets and taking up valuable time.
If you know you need internal support but don’t know where to start, our team of solutions-focussed experts provides technological know-how with a fundraising perspective to simplify processes and increase efficiencies across the organisation.
Contact us today to find out how we can improve your systems and increase your capacity to further achieve your mission, so you can get back to connecting with your cause and making a difference, just like you set out to do.