Budget season is an exciting and stressful time for nonprofits. On one hand, planning meetings set the course of action for the year and are a good opportunity for board members to get on the same page with the development team. On the other, even the most well-constructed budget can fade away as the year progresses and the operational realities change.

That’s why, as head of development, you need to take advantage of the budget planning window to broach the topic of adding new systems and software to help your organization achieve its goals. Selling the board on a new outside-the-box digital solution may not be easy, especially if senior leadership doesn’t come from a technology background, but you’ll have your clearest opportunity if you can take advantage of the budget planning window to stake your claim.

Know your numbers

Each budget item that requires a new line will come under intense scrutiny. That’s why it’s critical to demonstrate tremendous ROI for the tools you propose. Certain tools, like ones that help attract new donors and secure additional gifts through an efficient online portal, will not only demonstrate ROI as their own entity, but can alter the look of the overall budget by affecting staffing, resources and funding numbers for the better.

Evaluate quality solutions

When evaluating your options for a platform that will help get your organization up to speed, there are a few must haves that any solution you consider should possess:

  • It needs to be easy for donors to give – An online fundraising software is supposed to remove hurdles, not add more of them. Even better, find one that is tested and scientifically-optimized to make sure it’s the easiest for your donors to use.
  • You must have the ability to embed donation forms – Some software providers require sending a donor to their own site to make a gift; however it’s these types of hurdles that cause a donor to give up mid donation. A better solution is a form that allows you to embed it into as many pages on your website as needed, keeping donors on your site with your brand. Simple.
  • Analytics that you can monitor – You want a backend dashboard that gives both snapshot results to measure the results of your campaign and the ability to download your data for further discovery.
  • Integrations should be seamless with your existing systems – Donor data is useless if you can’t attach it to donor records in a customer relationship management (CRM) system or donor management system (DMS). In addition, be sure the patform you’re buying will seamlessly integrate with your existing system (rather than create more work for staff to do it manually).
  • You need to have control – You’ll want to be able to create brand consistency and this includes having the ability to control the look and feel of your forms and giving options. Donors are more likely to commit to a gift when the experience mirrors their other interactions with your organization and enables them to give any amount that works for them.
  • It must incorporate noncash donations – More than 10% of annual charitable giving is given through noncash gifts. If you choose a solution that restricts giving to credit cards and e-checks, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

Show cost savings in other areas

One way to mitigate any push back is to show how your suggestion can ease the burdens on overworked staff and improve donor relations – thereby bringing in more funds. For example, executives may recognize a need for help and look to budget for additional team members in the upcoming year, which can add up to $50,000 annually per new hire. A digital fundraising solution like iDonate comes with the platform tools and fundraising services to help train, coach and if needed, fully outsource campaign execution. The solution can be setup for much less than a new hire, depending on the package chosen, saving you money as well as the time and overhead normally spent when onboarding new employees, as well as take some of the burden off to implement online strategies.

Incremental Changes

In many ways, a digital platform serves as a crucial revenue stream. Your organization can still hold annual events, secure the same sponsorships and court top donors as it always has. However, as technology advances in the world, today’s donors have advanced in how they want to interact with your nonprofit. Online fundraising and digital donation allows nonprofits to communicate with donors they might have missed otherwise, such as with ones who were considering donating before but didn’t have a way to do it on their mobile devices or laptops.  So there’s no need to drastically re-write the expected revenue section of the budget, or re-define every tactic. Once they see the ROI that digital solutions will provide, your board should be convinced.

Many nonprofits are going the way of modernized fundraising. Those that have done it have implemented by first getting executives and board members in sync during budget planning season. The right digital fundraising platform is able to reach potential donors at exactly the right time, in an unobtrusive way, giving them a simple tool with which to trust, engage and donate.

For more information about about evaluating a digital platform of solutions, download our free ebook here.