Why Software Design Matters For Your Nonprofit

KindfulMarch 28, 2014

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Have you ever considered that your nonprofit software may be limiting your organization’s growth? If your software is time-consuming, convoluted, and not intuitive, then it may be time to consider an upgrade. With all the time and money that’s devoted to using your software, it’s important that you choose an option that works for you—not against you. One way this happens is with your software design.

Design matters. Why? Your time is best spent in front of your supporters—not in running reports and generating lists. Your software design can help you allocate more time to your mission instead of looking at a computer. In this post, we’ll share five questions to consider when it comes to your nonprofit software design.

1. Does Your Software Make Your Donors Feel Secure?

First impressions matter, especially online. That’s where features like donation pages and donation buttons come into play. How? They contribute to an online fundraising experience that feels secure for your donors.

Your donors need to know they can trust you with their sensitive bank information. It’s your organization’s job to establish this trust with your online fundraising systems and payment processor.

What happens when your donors click your donation button on your website? Does it open another website without your organization’s branding? Or does it take them to professionally designed donation page featuring your organization’s branding? Online giving depends on a system that appears trustworthy and reputable.

2. Does Your Software Provide Transparency?

Transparency is an important trust factor for your donors. This is especially true for your regular and recurring givers. Donor accounts are a nonprofit software feature that automatically create donor transparency.

Donor accounts provide a hub for your supporters to see all their touchpoints with your organization. They can keep track of donations, recurring gifts, and event they attended. They can update their card or bank information. And they can access their end-of-year tax summaries whenever they need it.

Well-designed donor accounts make it easy for your donors to get the information they need when they need it. This reinforces trust in their relationship with your organization.

3. Is Your Software Easy To Use?

Nonprofit software isn’t just for your donors. It’s for you too. Whether you are a one-person team, a volunteer-led team, or a fully staffed team, your software needs to be simple and intuitive.

It’s likely that you have several team members using your software. It’s also likely that you have team members come and go. That’s why the best software is designed to be simple—even the first time you open it.

4. Is Your Software Mobile Friendly?

For both donors and nonprofit professionals, accessibility matters. While your software doesn’t necessarily need an iPhone app, it does need to be mobile friendly.

Mobile friendly software powers mobile fundraising. Many of your donors expect an online giving platform that works on their phone. But if your nonprofit software is not mobile optimized, it can frustrate your donors, causing them to bounce off your donation page without completing their donation.

For nonprofit professionals, mobile friendliness is just as important. You won’t always have access to a computer when you need to find a donor’s information. If you’re having a meeting with a supporter and need to brush up on their giving history before you meet them, can you easily access this information on your phone? It could be the difference between securing a major gift…or not.

5. Do Your Team Members And Donors Use Your Software?

Death by a million features. Poor design and layouts. Boring or downright ugly color schemes. These things may seem trivial, but they can make a big difference. It contributes to what one nonprofit professional, Jennifer, calls the “aggravation factor” where it’s impossible to use the software without becoming frustrated.

What good is software if it has features that are hard to find or hard to use? When software is well-designed, it’s a delight to use. The same nonprofit professional told us this about using her nonprofit software:

“When’s the last time you heard someone say they love their donor management system? But I do. It’s gone from something that’s a chore to something that I look forward to doing. Almost every time I want the program to do something, it can do it. It’s almost like it has a brain. It’s almost like it anticipates what you want.”

The best nonprofit software should be so well-designed that your team and donors look forward to using it. To read more about Jennifer’s experience, check out her story about how she found a donor management system she loves.

Read Jennifer’s Story

Schedule a live demo with our partner Bloomerang, and we’ll show you how easy it is to create and automate reports, utilize online and offline fundraising tools, quickly integrate and access all your data, and ultimately create more time to engage your donors.

Filed Under:   Donor Management