Are you still using Excel spreadsheets to run parts of your nonprofit organization and think you are the only Non-Profit Organization (NPO) out there still doing that?
Well, it just isn’t true. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the United States. We think it is a safe bet, based on the many conversations we have had, that thousands of these NPOs still use spreadsheets for some business process. We have heard of uses that run the gauntlet from running large fundraising events, to tracking the organization’s grant application and reporting process, to running entire client programs on Excel.
And it isn’t your fault! NPOs operate on a shoestring. There are never enough resources to go around. And what resources you have you want to go to your programs, to serve your clients, to achieve your mission.
Excel is the best spreadsheet application out there and was designed for financial operations and data manipulations, which work exceedingly well. But it is not a database product. Using it as such has inherent risks and difficulties. Here are a few you may recognize:
- Data can be easily scrambled through an incomplete sort
- Reports or charts need to be re-run each time the data is updated
- Working on a group project means multiple versions may be floating around
Every NPO needs a true database to manage programs, donors and volunteers. Salesforce is a great database platform for NPOs because, through the generosity of the Salesforce Foundation, the first ten user licenses for a registered 501(c)3 org are free. Additional licenses are available at $360 per year and many applications that offer additional functionality such as email generation and on-line event management, are either free or deeply discounted for non-profits.
Because Salesforce is web-based, the platform is accessible from anywhere, 24/7. We know one Director of Volunteers who sends out an email blast using Salesforce from home in her pajamas to let the volunteers know when the agency is closed for a snow day and then goes back to bed!
You may have wanted to update your Excel-based processes for sometime now but have been so busy doing what you do best (advancing your mission), that this never seems to get to the top of your list. Well, with the end of 2015 approaching, this is a good time to start that project so you are ready to hit the ground running in 2016!
Give Team4Mission a call and we’ll help you start planning for the best move you’ll ever make!