Making the Case for Technology Investments
One of the best ways fundraisers can communicate the benefits of a technology investment to their organization is by demonstrating that it will save time and increase revenue.
In their session “The ROI Question: Demonstrating the Value of Technology to Your Organization” at the NTEN 2007 Nonprofit Technology Conference last month in Washington, D.C., Derek Low and Bill Strathmann, director of operations and CEO, respectively, at Network for Good, shared advice on how to communicate the need for and benefits of technology investments for fundraising initiatives to organization leaders.
First, they recommended creating a business case for the investment that should include the following:
1. Description, which should explain the initiative’s purpose and scope (is it short term or long?) and explain why the initiative is necessary.
2. Business Impact, which should explain the impact it will have, e.g., expected traffic, donations, testing, news worthiness, and earned and contributed revenue.
3. Financial Summary, which is a breakdown of the initiative’s financial components, e.g., financial gains such as earned revenue and contributed revenue, as well as expected costs.
4. Action Plan, which should describe the major activities necessary to complete the initiative.
When articulating ROI to leaders, Low and Strathmann remind fundraisers to know their audience, their organization’s elevator pitch, and the risks and rewards of the investment. They also should keep it simple.
Focus on the reasons why leaders should care. Stress things like mission advancement, revenue enhancement, cost reduction, time savings, quality improvement, risk mitigation and flexibility.
In the end, you will justify the investment to leaders if you can successfully answer this simple question for them: “What is the cost of doing nothing vs. the cost of making an IT investment?”