Software solutions are helpful tools when it comes time to collect donations from fundraising or manage volunteers. Your organization may see fit to acquire nonprofit management software to gain complete visibility of daily operations and streamline communication practices. A nonprofit can save a lot of time and money by simplifying fundraising reporting, finances, and donor contact information.

A new software system, however, can be a fairly large investment. To ensure your nonprofit receives the best performance and gets the expected return on investment, you need to ensure implementation goes smoothly and doesn’t bring your organization to a standstill. Here are five best practices for nonprofit software preparation:

1. Develop plans and goals for new technology solutions

You shouldn’t invest in software to “make things better” or “improve volunteer performance.” Acquiring technology solutions based on general goals makes it difficult to measure success. The Nonprofit Answer Guide said companies must begin implementing by creating a formalized plan with clear objectives and expectations.

It’s important to discover where the holes in your current system exist. You should see if you can develop specific metrics for software success. Find out if your organization wants the tech solution to reduce the number of volunteer scheduling complaints or integrate performance between online and phone fundraising efforts.

2. Prepare existing data and systems for integration

A full audit of current systems helps you detect what areas need improvement and which data sets are most important for your organization’s success. When acquiring new infrastructure tools, you must ensure all relevant information is ready for integration. For example, before implementing volunteer management software, collect current schedules and historical data about management techniques.

ERP Cloud News said knowing what information your organization uses and how staff and volunteers currently collect data helps you choose a software solution. You should select a program that works for your current and future needs.

3. Check in with the people who will use the software

Software won’t help your organization if your volunteers and staff don’t use the tools properly. Before acquiring a data system, you should speak with future users about how the solution should help them succeed in their normal tasks, so they see the benefits of implementation and utilization.

Organization staff members and volunteers are a great source of insight into how software can improve daily procedures. Ask your people about what usually slows them down and seek their feedback on possible technology investments.

4. Place a team in charge of implementation

When you meet with volunteers and staff, you should look for people who seem really excited about new software solutions. You’re going to need a team to take charge of implementation. See if you can find a representative from each department who will report implementation progress and communicate concerns.

Your organization might have people specifically in charge of technology, or you can seek outside advice. A best practice is to find a software provider that includes implementation procedures and training as part of its services.