We all know that not-for-profit organizations are often stretched financially, and that every dollar counts. This can make it difficult to buy new pencils for the stock room, much less invest in new software systems. However, having outdated or ineffective financial software can be a “penny wise, pound foolish” situation because the money saved by not purchasing new technology can be dwarfed by the financial losses caused by ineffective tools to manage cash flow and expenses.
So how can financial professionals and other executives at nonprofits ask their boards of directors for permission to purchase and install new financial software systems? On one hand, you can go to the local sporting goods store, buy a pair of knee pads, and start groveling at the next board meeting – but that is unlikely to work. Instead, leaders need to have a compelling set of data points that show why new software is needed…and why the existing systems are not adequate for today’s needs.
Of course, all boards are different, but most of them will require the following “evidence” to support an upgrade:
- Proof that the current system is not set up to handle specific kinds of transactions, such as donations through PayPal or social media sites such as Kickstarter. If an organization is using software that more than a few years old, though systems probably weren’t designed for this kind of accounting work.
- Data showing that the current systems are hurting productivity and ultimately cost in the organization money. If you can prove that a new system will save X hours of work a month, which will in turn save X dollars, you are more likely to get a friendly ear.
- Board members are interested in return on investment, see you need to be prepared to show how long it will take before the new system will pay for itself in terms of cost savings, labor savings, and other factors.
In today’s economy, it’s not easy to get approval to make major new purchases, but forward thinking boards need to be ahead of the curve when it comes to managing their assets and expenses. We can even help you put together a package to bring to your board if you’d like. Click here to request more information.