Software

2013 Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems

Report published October 29, 2013 in Fundraising, Software

Fully updated for 2013 and including all-new reviews and new products, this detailed, impartial report walks through the features that might be useful, summarizes and compares 36 different donor management systems that cost $10,500 or less in the first year, and provides detailed reviews of 11 of them.

This Idealware report was written in partnership with NTEN and sponsored by NPower.

Get the report for free here!

Nonprofit Culture in the Cloud: Key Findings and 9 Case Studies From a Study

Report published September 6, 2012 in NPTech Community, Software, Technology’s Impact

Flickr: marcp_dmozFlickr: marcp_dmoz

Technology aside, it’s clear that the advent of Cloud-based solutions has had an impact on the culture of our work as nonprofits. It’s changed the jobs we do, both within the IT department and in more mission-related positions, and how we’re able to do them. From collaboration to telecommuting and distributed workforces to sharing back office services, it’s changed the way we think about mobility and how we define “the office.”

The idea of Cloud culture is somewhat nebulous. Where do you draw the line between the technology or the benefits it can bring, and cultural changes as a result of that technology?

We asked a number of people—everyone from end users at nonprofits that have implemented Cloud-based solutions to IT people to shared back office service providers to consultants—and got a number of answers.

Shared Back-Offices in the Cloud: Three Models for Organizations to Pool Resources (Findings and Case Studies)

Report published August 21, 2012 in IT Staffing, NPTech Community, Software

Most nonprofits have at least one thing in common, regardless of their missions: they need to provide a secure, reliable technology infrastructure that allows staff to carry out the day-to-day work. But budget and staff constraints often make it a challenge for organizations to find and provide optimal solutions to technology needs—especially smaller ones. 

Regardless of mission, nonprofits often have basic technology needs that overlap, including office productivity software, email platforms, accounting and payroll, data backup, and donor or fundraising databases. If parts of that infrastructure could be consolidated, could they streamline their efficiency and shore up infrastructure while freeing up resources for mission-related activities and staff?

We talked to a few organizations doing just that to see just what functions they’re sharing, and how it works. We identified three possible models for sharing back-office functions, explained in further detail below. You can read the case studies for four of the organizations we talked with in the case studies section of our site.

Out of the Closet, Into the Cloud: Case Studies of Hosted IT Infrastructure (An Overview of a Research Project)

Report published June 8, 2012 in IT Staffing, Software

There’s a lot of buzz about the Cloud being the future of data storage and processing, and more and more Cloud-based options available to users every day, but we wondered to what extent organizations were effectively replacing traditional IT functions and servers with Cloud solutions. Is nonprofit technology moving out of the data closet and into the Cloud?

We set out to find good examples of organizations that had taken staff email, file servers, phone services and other functions that would traditionally be housed onsite and replaced them with applications accessed over the Internet, or with “Cloud applications” like Google Apps, online file sharing or data backup services. To that end, we posted an email to nonprofit technology discussion lists looking for nonprofits willing to share their stories, and contacted a few participants from an NTEN summit on Cloud technologies earlier this year.

The 2012 State of the Nonprofit Cloud Report

Report published March 5, 2012 in Software

In the second half of 2011, when we set out to look at the “State of the Nonprofit Cloud”, we weren’t sure what to expect—and what we found after surveying US nonprofits and conducting follow-up interviews was that it’s somewhat... foggy.

The vast majority of nonprofits we surveyed were using hosted software, but our interviews with staff members revealed that many didn’t even realize those systems could be considered hosted, or “cloud”, solutions.

In addition, many respondents said they were concerned about security for some hosted systems—especially constituent databases—but were comfortably using other hosted systems for equally sensitive information, such as business email.

Download our complete report, "The State of the Nonprofit Cloud: The Results of a Study of Nonprofit Use of Cloud Software".

The 2011 Nonprofit Data Ecosystem Report

Report published December 20, 2011 in Software, Vendor Satisfaction

The data ecosystem is the collection of tools we use to manage all the ways we interact with donors, volunteers, activists, and supporters.

In 2009, NTEN conducted the first Nonprofit Data Ecosystem Survey to find out about the collection of tools the NTEN community uses for their organizational work.We wanted to find out how happy organizations are with each of the tools they use, but also what tools make up their ecosystems, and how happy they are with those ecosystems as well.

We've updated our survey and are happy to provide you with the 2011 results of the Nonrpofit Data Ecosystems Survey:

> Get the 2011 Nonprofit Data Ecosystems Report (Free for Current NTEN Members, $50 for Non-Members - Log In Required to check member status)

We hope that, by broadening our view of the software question, we can acheive two things. First, we hope it gives you a resource for helping you make better software selection decisions. Secondly, we hope it helps software vendors better understand the challenges and needs of our sector so that they can address these issues.

After you read the report, share with us what this report means to you and your organization. We love to hear from you.

> Get the 2011 Nonprofit Data Ecosystems Report (Free for Current NTEN Members, $50 for Non-Members - Log In Required to check member status)

Not a member of NTEN? Join today and get this report for free, plus all the benefits of membership!

2011 Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems Report

Report published June 22, 2011 in Fundraising, Software

Fully updated for 2011 and including all-new reviews and new products, this detailed, impartial report walks through the features that might be useful, summarizes and compares 29 different donor management systems that cost $4000 or less in the first year, and provides detailed reviews of ten of them.

This Idealware report was written in partnership with NTEN and sponsored by Heller Consulting, Community IT Innovators, and Database Designs Associates.

Get the report for free here!

Consumer's Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems

Report published May 20, 2009 in Software

The Consumers Guide provides you the unbiased comparative information you need to narrow down your choices in a fundraising system. The information is divided into two reports—the actual Consumers Guide, which provides summaries and recommendations across all 33 of the systems we reviewed, and the Detailed Reviews, which provide the detailed evaluations of twelve specific systems.

This Idealware report was written in partnership with NTEN, and with generous sponorship by NPower.

> Get the Report!