CPA Practice Advisor, Mary Girsch-Bock, April 16, 2019
According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS), there are currently more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the U.S. While the vast majority of these organizations are registered as public charities, the number also includes private foundations, chambers of commerce, and civic leagues.
While their missions may vary greatly, one thing these organizations share is the need to manage funds properly. This can include everything from applying for and managing grant funding, to tracking both donors and donations adequately. Membership driven organizations need to be able to track members, invoice members when membership fees are due, and maintain an accurate member list. Those that run programs regularly need to be able to handle event registration and keep track of everyone who has registered.
If that isn’t enough, these same organizations also have to be able to do the things that for-profit organizations do such as process journal entries, pay vendors, record payments, send out invoices, pay employees, and reconcile bank statements.
Many smaller nonprofit organizations make the mistake of thinking that regular accounting software is adequate. And while it’s possible to make it work, the more a nonprofit grows, the greater the need for a system that is designed to track the information that needs to be tracked.
Of course, finding the nonprofit software that is best for your client’s organization can take some time. If the organization has a large number of donors, they’d likely want that capability in any product that they choose. Likewise, if their organizational funding source is primarily from grants, they should be looking for a program that includes the ability to manage multiple grants.
Another issue to look at is deployment options. While some nonprofit software applications can be accessed from anywhere, others are designed to be installed on a desktop or network system. . Of course, cost can also be an issue, particularly for smaller nonprofit organizations with a limited budget.
All of these issues will need to be considered when looking for a software product that will work best for your client’s needs. And the best place to start is by taking a look at the nonprofit reviews that are included in this issue:
The reviewed products vary widely in both cost and functionality, with some of the products best suited for smaller nonprofits that have less stringent needs, while others provide just about every feature and functionality possible.
To make it easier, we looked at specific features and functionality in each of the products listed above, including chart of accounts structure and customization, grant management capability, fundraising and donor management capability, and even whether a mobile app was available. A Features chart accompanies the reviews, allows you to quickly view which features and functionality are found in each product. We also advise readers if a free demo is available, since trying out the product can be extremely useful when in the market for a new software system. Finally, pricing considerations come into play for most nonprofit organizations, since many have a limited budget available, so we’ve made every effort to include product costs in the review.
The bottom line is that nonprofit software can help an organization work more efficiently while they continue their mission to make this world a better place. We hope that the reviews included in this issue help in some way towards finding your client’s organization the product that works best for them.
Financial Technologies & Management provides our software evaluation to help you select the best nonprofit accounting system for you. Also, we sell and implement the industry leading solutions which include MIP Fund Accounting, MIP Advance, AccuFund, and Araize. I would suggest you review our article “why your Nonprofit should consider using Nonprofit Accounting Software?” to start your review. Please contact us before you contact any software vendors for us to best serve your review of Nonprofit Accounting Systems and Software.