When it’s time to choose a new software solution for your organization, the choices can be overwhelming. Not only do you need to pick a product, but you also need to find a company that give you the best product AND has your back. We’ve laid out some tips to help you narrow your choices and find the right company and product for your organization’s unique needs.

1. Organizational Transparency and Stability

You may not mind if the company you choose is a public or private company, but there is one huge benefit of going with a public company: transparency. Public companies are required to release financial reporting, updates about the company’s growth, and recaps of meetings of their board of directors. While this information is often geared towards investors, it can help you determine if you’re choosing a stable company the will continue to grow at a responsible pace.Look for a company that has an investor section on its website and a media room where they provide access to reporting, updates, and board meeting recaps.

2. A Stellar Industry Track Record with Customers Like You

A good way to “kick the tires” of a company you’re considering is to ask the following questions:
  1. What organizations do you currently work with?
  2. Can you supply a list of organizations that are of a similar size to your own organization? What about nonprofits that have similar organizational structures? Do you have customers in the same country and/or region as my organization?
  3. Can you give me a case study or story from an existing customer that had similar needs to your organization?
You wouldn’t hire a new employee without checking their references first, so make sure to do the same for the company you’re considering giving your business to.

3. The Resources of a Large Company with the Support of a Small Company

When considering what company to work with, the right level of customer support is essential. Whether you’re facing a technical glitch or simply have a question, look for a company with a support team that is there to guide you through it all.
Ideally find a company that has the resources of a large company with the support of a small company. No one company is going to be able to do it all, but a good thing to look for is a company that partners with other organizations. Partnering with value-added resellers that provide professional and implementation services expands the amount of support you have access to. Also, a company that strategically partners with a larger trusted organization like Microsoft is ideal. This shows that they are able to connect you with the right resources, and that other companies trust them.

4. Data Security that Maintains and Builds Trust with Your Donors

We probably don’t need to tell you that building and maintaining trust with your donors is both vital to fulfilling your mission in the short-term and in the years to come. Your donor’s data needs to stay secure so supporter’s feel safe making a donation now, setting up recurring gifts, and designating planned gifts and bequests to your organization.
Look for a company that takes data security seriously. If you’re considering a smaller company, look for one that partners with a larger organization that will keep your donor data safe on servers and in the cloud. Microsoft is one of the most secure cloud organizations on the planet, so a company that works within the Microsoft ecosystem is a safe bet.
In addition to data storage, look for a company that focuses on features like: top-notch encryption, multi-factor authentication, and advanced access controls
5. A Robust Knowledge Base

Something vital you should look for is a company that offers a knowledge base full of how-to-videos, product documentation, and product update information. The knowledge base should be as easy to navigate as the product’s user interface. Look for content that is organized not only by product, but by groups of functions, has a section of frequently asked questions, and provides documentation on any new features when they are released.
Bonus points if the company offers free webinars and gives you access to recordings of previous trainings and webinars!

6. Streamlined Efficiency and Workflow Harmony

Let’s be real: if you work for a nonprofit, you probably don’t have a lot of extra time in your day to learn how to use new software. And, even if you’re pretty tech-savvy, you may have coworkers that struggle to navigate a new interface.
Your goal is to find a company that offers a product with an intuitive interface and user-friendly design. The software should seamlessly integrate all your daily processes, including: fund accounting, financial reporting, payroll and HR tasks, donation processing, grant and award management, and so much more.
7. Customization That Speaks Your Language
There are over 1.5 million nonprofits operating in the United States and each one has unique software needs. You’ll want to find a company that offers you a range of flexible customization options within their software. From adjusting workflows to adding specific features, the right solution allows you to mold the software to your organization’s contours, giving you a solution that truly speaks your language.
8. A Suite of Solutions
While you may be looking for only one software solution right now, it’s important to evaluate a company’s entire product offering. Right now you need to replace your ERP system, but what about your CRM system? A company like Sylogist, offers a suite of products made especially for nonprofits. Look for a company that has a suite of solutions geared towards nonprofits. Also, a company that offers solutions built in the same ecosystem, like Microsoft, means you can add on solutions as you go with the assurance that the software speaks the same language and can work together in the future.