Your boss has tasked you with finding a new donor management solution that is the best fit for your organization and fits within the budget constraints. You spent days, perhaps weeks sitting through demos, popping in on some webinars, and reading industry reviews and testimonials.
It is now time to present your findings to leadership, maybe it’s the executive team, but most likely it’s your nonprofit board members. You’ve got your slide deck ready and you’re planning on walking everyone through the research and review process and then present your recommendation for brand new fundraising software.
Whether your nonprofit has used software in the past, or you’re making the jump from spreadsheets to a more modern approach, you must be prepared when pitching new donor management software to answer leadership when they ask these 3 specific questions!
1) Are there organizations similar to ours who are successfully using donor management software?
You could put two or three peer case studies right into your presentation, but sometimes it’s a strategic play to save a few arrows for the cross examination period! Before presentation day, ask the rep of your new donor management vendor of choice to provide you with three nonprofits like yours who are successfully using their software. Best practice is to call those three organizations and hear from them in person just to make sure that the salesperson who passed you those names isn’t leading you on.
When your boss or a board member asks for peer examples, then you’ll be ready to share direct quotes from your conversations and hopefully some compelling statistics as well!
2) Are you willing to be held accountable for the viablity and financial outcome of this investment?
This is a tough question and if you’re not prepared you can immediately discredit yourself with the wrong answer. Don’t get flustered. Your head isn’t really on the chopping block like this board member is trying to indicate. It’s just a fancy way of saying: “Are you sure this is the right call?”
In this moment, trust yourself and the research you’ve done and be bold in your response. Your answer should reaffirm your belief in the product you’re recommending and back it up with one or two more facts or figures as to why it’s the right fit for your organization. The bottom line is, you’re going to be the one putting the fundraising software to work, and it’s success depends on how comfortable you are and how fast you can master it.
3) Can you give us an idea of the benchmarks we’ll be measuring success by?
Answer this question first by saying that the average fundraising growth year-over-year in the industry is around 4%. If you can grow your donations by more than that industry number then you’re doing better than most.
More specifically, expand your answer by saying you’ll be tracking four main metrics. Year-over-year growth in number of donors, number of dollars, gift size, and efficiency. If you haven’t already, share with the board the client performance numbers of your vendor of choice (IF YOUR VOC DOESN’T TRACK THESE METRICS, FIND OUT WHY).