The One Tool/Strategy Nonprofits Wish They Implemented Sooner

Nonprofit leaders and Blue Avocado readers answer: “What is one tool or strategy you wish your nonprofit had implemented sooner?”

The One Tool/Strategy Nonprofits Wish They Implemented Sooner
4 mins read

We recently asked the Blue Avocado community, “What is one tool or strategy you wish your nonprofit had implemented sooner?”

Here’s a summary of some of the best answers we received:

Early Struggles with Donor Management

I wish we’d been better at tracking the details on the donors sooner: How they know about our organization (knowing a board member, advisor, volunteer, intern, one or more of the above, etc.), special interests, any key preferences or pet peeves.

During the first few years, our donor management system was too cumbersome to be managed by a steady stream of well-meaning volunteers who kept reinventing the wheels of how everything should be done — with the result being that our compliance was erratic.

The game-changer was signing up for Network for Good. However, the board was so used to everything being done “for free” that the very reasonably priced service of donations and donor management all in one was perceived as an extraordinary amount of money. (It wasn’t).

Now it’s just one of the bills we pay every year.

Anita Smart from Natic Esperanza

Streamlining Bill Pay and Boosting Audit Readiness

QuickBooks® Online and These systems increased our efficiency with reviewing, approving, and paying bills. is a great resource for document retention, especially during our annual audit.

Jaye Jones Elliott from Dorchester Habitat for Humanity, Inc.

The Power of Recurring Giving

A tool we wish our nonprofit would have implemented faster is a donation platform called Fundraise Up. Although our charity had no prior affiliation with Fundraise Up, we have found that the software is the most innovative, forward-thinking donation platform on the market.

It uses machine learning/AI to increase donor conversion, maximize revenue, and power our monthly giving program, The Dream Club.

Strategically, The Dream Club provides sustainability via monthly funding we can count on, and we’ve recommended that nearly every other charity develop a recurring giving program to maximize donor value and, more importantly, impact.

It’s among the best ways to strengthen the foundation for your charity.

Ryan Almusawi from Dream: Success

Appointments = Efficiency for a Food Pantry

We serve folks with food and housing insecurity and, in our food work, we operate the largest food pantry in our county. Post-COVID, we implemented an appointment schedule using PantrySoft to serve more people in less time than when we would have open hours on a first-come basis.

Our food accesses by folks has increased by over 30% since implementing the “access by appointment” mode and has been easier for us to staff and manage since implementing PantrySoft — with decreased admin time to report the counts and amounts to funders.

Jeff Guyett from Community Action Center

Note: The opinions and product/service recommendations expressed above are solely those of the participants and do not necessarily represent those of Blue Avocado.

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Blue Avocado is an online magazine fueled by a monthly newsletter designed to provide practical, tactical tips and tools to nonprofit leaders. A small but mighty team of committed social sector leaders produces the publication, enlisting content from a wide range of practitioners, funders, and experts.

Articles on Blue Avocado do not provide legal representation or legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for advice or legal counsel. Blue Avocado provides space for the nonprofit sector to express new ideas. Views represented in Blue Avocado do not necessarily express the opinion of the publication or its publisher.

One thought on “The One Tool/Strategy Nonprofits Wish They Implemented Sooner

  1. My clients love the needs matrix. When they discover it in a training or retreat and try it, they often tell me later that knowing exactly what skillsets and demographics they need on the board or in the volunteer base helps them with recruiting and also with retention. When people come into a volunteer situation where everybody knows what’s needed and expected, they stay engaged and stay longer.

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