Non-Profit Software Solutions: Industry Analysis
Non-profit organizations are held to higher standards of transparency by donors, legislation, and other external funding agents, including the federal government, making competitive bidding a priority practice for their procurement needs. With every move scrutinized and challenged by external stakeholders, these organizations tend to constrain their procurement processes to transparent methods such as open tenders and those published to wider potential suppliers audiences. However, non-profit organizations use less procurement automation (26%) than the US nationwide average (34%), with heavy dependence on manual methods contributing to processing challenges and longer requisition approval cycles.
Non-profit Tech News is one example of a leading information source for nonprofit technology and software news for the US non-profit market. A link to the company's website can be found here.
Most of the general business software companies analyzed in this report, including Microsoft and Dropbox, mainly offer product donations and discounts to non-profit organizations, while non-profit software providers, such as Blackbaud and Abila, offer diversified solutions, including fundraising, grant, and award management solutions.
NON-PROFITS REQUEST FOR SERVICES
- According to Claritum, a spend management and e-procurement systems firm operating in North America and the UK, non-profit organizations are held to higher standards of transparency by donors, legislation, and other external funding agents, including the federal government, making competitive bidding a priority practice for their procurement needs.
- A 2019 survey by Loopio on 500 North American companies indicated that request for proposals (RFPs) generated averagely 41% of sales revenue, with non-profits/government sectors generating the highest percentage (67%), followed by legal services (54%), and supply chain & logistics (52%).
- With every move scrutinized and challenged by external stakeholders, these organizations tend to constrain their procurement processes to transparent methods such as open tenders and those published to wider potential supplier audiences, accompanied by detailed records of procurement activities.
- Additionally, non-profit organizations tend to utilize quite formal processes and distanced negotiations to avoid any appearance of collusion with a supplier, with most instances involving competitive bidding, hence, discouraging long term relationships.
- Non-profit procurement habits also typically include online advertisement of tenders, online call for proposals to many suppliers, online and transparent shortlisting of tenderers, and online supplier evaluation, with records of the decision process and scoring filed away.
- However, a 2017 Levvel Research survey on 400 North American companies across various industries indicated that most organizations use manual-based methods to communicate about purchase orders, with 48% sending orders to suppliers through email and 16% calling suppliers to place orders. The graph below illustrates the responses received.
- Non-profit organizations use less procurement automation (26%) than the US nationwide average (34%), with heavy dependence on manual methods contributing to processing challenges and longer requisition approval cycles.
- The graph below illustrates the results of the survey on average requisition approval times for non-profit organizations compared to other industries.
- The survey also featured the top procurement goals for non-profit organizations to curb challenges such as controlling and gaining visibility into spend, processes, and information. A full 29% of the respondents indicated a need to improve the processes surrounding data accuracy, while 14% indicated cost control and supplier negotiations.
- The graph below illustrates areas of the greatest opportunity for improvement within procurement for non-profit organizations.
- Blackbaud is a cloud software company offering technology solutions for the entire social good community. The company mainly serves nonprofits, education institutions, foundations, healthcare institutions, corporations, and their change agent supporters.
- A link to Blackbaud's software offerings for non-profit organizations can be found here.
- These include:
- Program and mission delivery, including grassroots advocacy, volunteerism, and grantmaking.
- Fundraising and relationship management, including constituent management, grants and major gifts, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer fundraising, online giving, and stewardship.
- Marketing and engagement, including digital marketing, website marketing, direct marketing, multi-channel campaigns, social engagement, grassroots advocacy, and event management.
- Analytics, including benchmarking, prospect research, data health services, direct marketing, social data, predictive and prescriptive analytics, insights and dashboards, and outcomes and impact measurement.
- Payment services, including secure processing, mobile payments, digital wallets, sustained management, and reconciliation.
- Financial management, including planning and budgeting, accounts payable and accounts receivable, endowment management, fund accounting, and grants and endowment management.
- Grant and award management, including grantmaking, scholarships and awards, grantor/grantee collaboration, and reporting for outcomes and impact.
- Blackbaud describes itself as connecting, empowering, and driving more impact on non-profit organizations.
- In their annual report, Blackbaud describes itself as follows: "We believe our solutions compete successfully against general business software as a nonprofit’s needs grow more complex. As a result, we believe we can compete successfully to meet nonprofit-specific requirements, often integrating with general business platforms used for their more generalized operations." Pointing out that general business softwares "do not satisfy the needs of nonprofits from end-to-end as they were not designed to support the specific needs of nonprofits during the original architecture, design, and requirements elicitation phases," Blackbaud notes that the softwares are "not yet capable of meeting market needs without significant customization, often requiring the use of consultants to guide the implementation, without which, leave the adoption of general business software limited to very basic operations and simple needs."
- Examples of non-profit organizations working with Blackbaud include Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, Environmental Defence Fund (EDF), and Save the Manatee.
- Blackbaud's main competitive advantage is the fact that it offers software solutions specifically tailored for non-profit organizations, while competitors such as Microsoft and Dropbox offer their general business softwares at discounted rates or as donations.
- Active Network is a Dallas, Texas-based SaaS technology platform on a mission to make the world a more active place by connecting activity organizers to participants by facilitating registration solutions, secure payment processing, insightful data, and services.
- A link to the company's software offerings for non-profit organizations can be found here.
- These include:
- Membership management, including the management of passes, member tracking, member marketing, access control, photo IDs, and reporting within one system.
- Child Care management, including the streamlining of processes with flexible enrollments, real-time attendance tracking, and child-specific notifications.
- Fundraising management, including the acceptance of online donations and allowing members and donors to set up recurring donations.
- Advanced reporting, including access to numerous memberships, registrations, and reservation reports.
- Point of sale, including touch screen capability and integrated credit card swipe reader.
- Facility reservation, including online facility bookings, and search and calendar tools.
- Online activity registration, including online search, secure payment, registration, and both mobile device and desktop enablement.
- Active Network serves non-profits of all sizes. Examples include the World Young Women's Christian Association (YMCA), Jewish Community Center (JCC), and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
- Active Network describes itself as offering the best software solution for non-profit organizations, stating: "Serving thousands of community organizations, we are confident that our ACTIVE Net solution for non-profit management, registration and website software is the best out there."
- Active Network was acquired by Vista Equity Partners in 2013 and, consequently, delisted from the stock market. Therefore, we could not uncover details about how the company describes its non-profit business in its financial statements since they are not publicly available.
- A link to Microsoft's web page featuring its software offerings for non-profit organizations can be found here. (www.microsoft.com/en-us/nonprofits)
- The company offers Microsoft 365 Business to non-profit organizations for free. On October 1, 2020, Microsoft also announced the launch of Fundraising and Engagement for Dynamics 365 Sales in collaboration with MISSION CRM, a software product for non-profit organizations for uncovering new funding sources and driving fundraising efficiency.
- Other products from Microsoft targeting non-profit organizations include cloud services such as Dynamics 365, Common Data Model, and Microsoft Azure for designing campaigns, engaging with their donors, and managing recurring giving programs and events; capacity building, including free and low-cost digital skills training, courses, and demos; and business partnerships, including Microsoft 365 and Azure delivering infrastructure, productivity and collaboration tools, and migration pieces of training.
- Microsoft describes itself as "committed to delivering relevant, affordable and innovative cloud solutions to help nonprofits tackle the world’s biggest challenges."
- In the company's 2019 annual report, Microsoft describes the nonprofit part of its business as follows: "Finally, more broadly, we’ve expanded our support for the nonprofit sector. We work closely with nonprofit organizations to help them accelerate their organizational transformation with technology, and, in fiscal 2019, Microsoft donated or provided discounted software and services worth more than $1.5 billion via Microsoft Philanthropies."
- Dayton Children's Hospital is an example of a non-profit organization leveraging Microsoft's offerings.
- Microsoft enjoys strong brand equity, having been in business for over 40 years and created a large suite of hardware and software products to the market.
- A link to Intuit's software offerings for non-profit organizations can be found here.
- The company offers discounted accounting and software solutions through its popular QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online softwares, which are offered through TechSoup, a nonprofit technology marketplace.
- Some capabilities of the software include:
- Nonprofit accounting, including expenses automation and tracking.
- Tracking donations and grants, including support, such as fundraising, allocating donor dollars, and automatic syncing with popular fundraising platforms.
- Reporting, including easy consolidation of financial reports for various audiences, such as the board, staff, funders, and the public.
- Integrated tools that enable easy incorporation into other softwares.
- Worth Motorcycle Company, a New York-based non-profit organization is an example of a company using Intuit's non-profit offerings.
- Intuit markets its nonprofit accounting software solution as helping "track donations, invoicing, bookkeeping, and all accounting needs."
- In the company's 2019 annual report, Intuit mentions nonprofits as one of the industries for which its QuickBooks Enterprise and QuickBooks Online Advanced offerings are designed for: "This offering provides industry-specific reports and features for a range of industries, including Contractor, Manufacturing and Wholesale, Nonprofit, and Retail."
- SAP offers non-profit software solutions as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
- The company mainly partners with non-profits in quality education, workforce preparedness, and youth entrepreneurship.
- SAP's solutions entail accelerating nonprofit's abilities to drive sustainable systemic change and social impact by providing technology expertise, skills, and access to markets.
- A link to the company's solutions can be found here.
- SAP has not published on its website or 2019 annual report the names of specific nonprofit organizations utilizing its technology or software solutions. On its website, the company describes the non-profit part of its business as follows: "SAP CSR’s non-profit and social enterprise partners are selected because of their significant impact in areas of quality education and workforce preparedness. We provide unique skills, expertise, products, and financial support to partners that, in turn, accelerate their ability to drive sustainable social impact."
- A link to Salesforce's software offerings for non-profit organizations can be found here.
- These include:
- The Power of Us Program: the program grants eligible nonprofit organizations access to its products and resources to help expand their social good, including 10 donated Salesforce subscriptions and deep discounts on additional subscriptions, products, and services.
- The Nonprofit Success Pack: This is an open-source application that builds upon an industry-standard data architecture, adding pre-built donor management and constituent components, which support nonprofit organizations' programs and outreach.
- Salesforce for Nonprofits, which provides solutions that support case management, grant management, and volunteer management; establish and grow donor relationships; manage the donation cycle from pledge to payment; marketing automation and social intelligence that deliver optimum content to supporters; and insightful data.
- A list of non-profit organizations using Salesforce's non-profit offerings, including their use case insights can be found here. American Red Cross is an example of a US-based organization featured by Salesforce.
- The company markets itself with the message: "Use the power of social, mobile, cloud, and analytics to become a Connected Nonprofit."
- On its 2019 annual report, Salesforce describes its offerings to non-profit organizations as follows: "Over the past 20 years, together with the Salesforce Foundation and Salesforce.org, we’ve given $260 million in grants, nearly 4 million employee volunteer hours, and 40,000 nonprofits and education institutions use our software for free or at a discount."
- Oracle offers software donations, discounts, pro bono services, and capacity building to non-profit organizations through its Oracle NetSuite Social Impact pack.
- A link to an overview of the company's non-profit organization offerings can be found here.
- Apart from base donations, the company also offers various other heavily discounted software solutions, including grant accounting, FASB reporting, and nonprofit budgeting.
- The company works with non-profit organizations of all types. Examples include Michelson Found Animals, Brightpoint Health, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
- Oracle describes its non-profit business mission as "to support the success of nonprofits globally through the power of cloud technology." The company does not reference its non-profit software offerings in its 2018 or 2019 annual reports.
- Dropbox offers product donations, volume discounts, as well as discounts for eligible nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.
- Additionally, the company launched the Dropbox Foundation in 2018 to collaborate with impactful human rights activist organizations globally and offer three main solutions, including unrestricted funding, skills-based volunteering, and product donations.
- A link to an overview of the company's non-profit offerings can be found here.
- The Marcus Graham Project is an example of a US-based non-profit organization using Dropbox's software offerings.
- The company does not reference its non-profit software offerings in its 2018 or 2019 annual reports.
- Abila, based in Texas, US, is one of the leading software and service providers for nonprofit organizations, associations, and government entities.
- A link to the company's software offerings for non-profit organizations can be found here.
- These include:
- True fund accounting: this software solution includes budget progress tracking capabilities, robust reporting functionalities, and human resource management streamlining.
- Association management: Abila provides an enterprise association management software whose offers include member management, fundraising tools, credentialing engine, e-commerce, advanced reporting, and accounting and finance solutions.
- Fundraising/CRM software: this Abila offering includes a fundraising and donor management software coupled with scalable solutions for nonprofits.
- Abila markets itself as "providing leading solutions and services to customers, while advancing their missions." The company is privately held, hence, does not and is not mandated to publicly publish its annual reports. Therefore, we could not uncover details about how the company describes its non-profit business in its financial statements. Additionally, Abila has not publicly published the names of the non-profit organizations it works with.
- Cvent is a SaaS company specializing in event management, meeting, and hospitality technology solutions, whose non-profit organization offerings include a wide range of advanced features focused on their fundraising efforts and other events.
- A link to the company's non-profit organization solutions can be found here.
- The features comprising Cvent's software solutions include sending personalized messages, securely collecting payments, creating email newsletters, building custom event websites, checking in, engaging, and enhancing the experience of attendees, leveraging robust reporting, and collecting post-event feedback.
- Cvent markets its non-profit software products on its website as follows: "Cvent’s platform of event management tools help automate time-consuming tasks, allowing you more flexibility to focus on your organization’s greater mission. That's why thousands of non-profits use our Event Management platform to help their organization achieve its development goals and retain donors year after year."
- The company is privately held, hence, does not and is not mandated to publicly publish its annual reports. Therefore, we could not uncover details about how the company describes its non-profit business in its financial statements. Additionally, Abila has not publicly published the names of the non-profit organizations it works with.