Focus On: Software: Are You Plugged In?
Get what you need
Technology only helps if you use the right mix of components, says Michelle Milford, public relations manager at the Texas-based Lance Armstrong Foundation, founded to help improve services for cancer survivors. LAF uses its Web site to recruit volunteers and to seek donations, which “have increased significantly over the past two and a half years” since the foundation began online solicitations, Milford says.
LAF runs its database with a popular software package that connects to the foundation’s Web site. A popular Internet application is used to retrieve information from the database and display it on the Web site. Another package takes care of grant management.
Masaoka is all for new technology, as long as executives understand that it can provide solutions, but it’s not a panacea.
“I try to help people lower their expectations of what they think fundraising software’s going to do for them,” she says. “I still think the market is relatively poor in regard to what the technology actually can do.”
BMC’s Dunion makes a similar point: “There’s always a trade-off made in your decisions. Whenever you choose a new system, you realize there will be a better one down the road. The important thing is to have great customer support and get the most out of the system you have.”
Consultants and experienced users agree that everything depends on the size and budget of the nonprofit, and the functionality of the technology. In other words, be sure you know what you want it to do for you.
“Whatever the use, it’s probably going to be an important part of your operations these days,” Milford says.
David McKenna is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer.