By Sarah Clare
Non-profit organizations have special needs when trying to manage the resources to meet their goals. Unlike for-profit organizations, they primarily rely on a “staff” of volunteers, and the majority of their funding comes from grants and donor funds. Project software must have special characteristics to help non-profits meet their goals.
Here are just a few selection criteria that non-profit organizations can use when choosing the right project management software for them.
Ease of Use
A large staff of volunteers may not have much technical expertise or feel comfortable learning complicated software systems. Any project management software that you choose, must be easy to use and learn. Basecamp is one example of an easy-to-use program that allows you to track projects and tasks in an online system.
Ability to Handle Grant Applications and Monitoring
Grants and donations are the lifeblood of non-profit operations. Without them, the organization would not be able to go on or complete its goals. It is critical that any project software you choose have the ability to handle grant applications and monitoring.
The software program, AwardVision, allows you to monitor your grants, including restrictions on use, tracking in multiple currencies, and creating and managing sub-awards.
Ability to Manage Volunteers
After fundraising, recruiting and managing volunteers is one of the biggest tasks that non-profits face. Project software should make that job easy by allowing you to monitor all your volunteers in one database. Podio is one useful system that allows you to collaborate with your team, monitor tasks and projects, and monitor your recruiting efforts.
Free or Low Cost
Non-profits are always working on a budget, and being at the whim of grants and donations makes it especially important to find ways to cut costs. There are a few options for free or low-cost project management software, like Basecamp, and Huddle. Explore these options to find one with the best features to meet your needs. Cost shouldn’t be the only factor, even though it’s an important one!
Project software can help you to better track your goals, manage the work of your volunteers, manage recruitment, track grant application and expenditures, and much more. It is important to keep these criteria in mind when shopping for project software, including trying to find some free or low-cost options to meet your budget.
What other criteria did you use when selecting project management software for your non-profit? Share your picks in the comments!
Sarah Clare is a writer and researcher for projectmanagementsoftware.com, which offers advice and reviews of project management solutions. She has recently been researching project planning software. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking and scrapbooking.