For many organizations seeking nonprofit technology, the perfect nonprofit database can seem like Bigfoot or the Lochness monster. You know that hundreds of people have gone before you but none of them have been able to hunt it down and you're not even sure it exists.
The reason why finding a nonprofit database is so difficult is because each operation is unique making it unprofitable for software providers to make a 'one size fits all' solution. For example when you write a business management program for a dentists clinic you have the opportunity to sell that system to hundreds (if not thousands) of companies with virtually identical requirements. But how do you write a system that can assist a Cancer Awareness Foundation and meet the needs of an Abused Animal Shelter? To put it simply, you can't. So what you should be looking for in a nonprofit database is flexibility rather than a ready made solution.
So flexibility? What are you actually looking for? Databases are built in a myriad of ways but for the sake of simplicity we'll split them into two categories; old world and new generation.
Your old world databases are usually your big name Customer Relationship Management providers. They are built on old slow moving frame works. To change anything in these systems is costly, if you change too much you can potentially break the program and then you have to pay for the provider to search out resolve the bugs your customization created as they appear.
New generation databases are built on a much lighter framework and have been engineered to be as flexible as possible. The best of these systems are based on modules which can be compared to lego pieces. You use the same blocks to build house, a train station or church. A module based system gives you the freedom to use the parts that support your operational requirements and leave out the parts that don't. And if there is a crucial piece missing they can often create it for you at a low cost and it just slots into the system.
Obviously your new generation providers are your best choice to get a nonprofit database to meet the needs of your program (or programs if you have more than one). However potential is not enough. You should further qualify any suppliers by their ability to understand your unique needs because without this understanding how can they engineer a system to meet your requirements?
An added step in your search for a nonprofit database you should look for a technology supplier who specializes in the Nonprofit sector or has a dedicated not for profit consulting department. Nonprofit technology specialists will spend a considerable amount of time understanding your operation (usually by interviewing your team from board members, managers, staff and all the way down to stake holders). Using this information (and their own experience) they will design a system to remove bottle necks and enhance your programs. I've seen some databases that have had such a dramatic effect that the organization has been able to drop at least one bookkeeper and allocate the resources of one full time team member to enhancing their primary programs instead. Another clever consultant devised a system that allowed two related yet separate charities to share staff, giving them the ability to monitor that staff members performance against both organizations without compromising any of their sensitive client information.
In the end you can have a nonprofit database which is a help rather than a hindrance. Don't bother with the readymade solutions. Instead find a new generation provider with a flexible system and the nonprofit expertise to engineer a database that will enhance your day to day operations and more.
Article Source: http://www.abcarticledirectory.com
Not for Profit Systems Provides specialized Nonprofit Database Solutions and Technology Consulting to the Non Profit Sector. To Find out more go to: www.notforprofitsystems.com
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