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8 questions to ask when evaluating case management software

March 12, 2021
A nonprofit professional points at a monitor on a desk while another leans on her chair as they evaluate case management software.

Investing in technology and systems to accelerate your nonprofit organization’s purpose has never been more important. In fact, investing in the right software solutions is a necessity for most nonprofits. CAF America reported that 44% of social good organizations surveyed needed additional funding for technology that manages donor data, enables nonprofits to market to supporters, and more.

Technology is at the center of any data-driven nonprofit organization, and systems like case management software are crucial to your organization’s and participants’ success. It allows organizations to track and standardize data, report on outcomes, and prove impact better than ever before. 

But not all technology solutions are created equal. So how do you evaluate and decide on the case management software that’s best for you? We’ve compiled a list of eight questions you can ask potential software providers to help you find your perfect match.

1. How would you describe your solution’s core capabilities?

When selecting technology for case management, data collection, and outcomes reporting, it’s essential that your software shows you a top-down view of your organization’s impact on the people you serve. Ensure that the solutions you research have the core capabilities to provide this view.

With the right software at your fingertips, you won’t have to spend hours inputting, organizing, assessing, and reporting your data. Instead, you can apply the time you save delivering more of your programs to your community.

2. What types of data can customers track with your solution?

At the very least, your case management software should allow your organization to see your operations from an end-to-end point of view. That means that you can see data on the entire journey that a program participant goes through from the start of their participation to when they exit. That also means that you can see all the inner workings of each program you’re running, how they are serving your clients, and how they roll up through your organization as a whole. 

Collecting, tracking, and managing nonprofit data are important ways to measure and quantify the good work your organization does for your community. Your data should empower you and your stakeholders to understand how your services affect your program participants. Tracking this data is the only way you can truly understand what’s working overtime, what processes you can improve, and how you can expand your services to better meet your participants’ needs.

3. Is your solution designed specifically for nonprofits?

Technology is a universal language that has the power to unite, change lives, and optimize your organization’s impact. Partnering with a software solution that’s enthusiastic about working with your organization is key because it allows both parties to excel at what they do best while working collaboratively. The shared goal is to serve your community. 

Systems designed for nonprofits have the sector’s unique challenges in mind, ultimately saving you time and resources while also highlighting best practices to empower your participants and prove more impact.

4. How much time is needed to invest in onboarding and implementing your solution?

Established organizations have a lot of important data, often hosted in multiple places. Whether it’s in dated systems, Google Docs, Excel spreadsheets, or maybe even on paper, the amount of data you have will determine how long the implementation process will take.

When shopping for your technology, make sure you’re not just looking for a software provider but a technology partner. As your partner, specialists will be available to assist with data integrations, implementation, training, and more to help you get up and running.

5. Is your solution flexible and easy-to-use?

If you’re like most nonprofits, you have a set of processes and procedures that help keep everything organized and running as smoothly as possible. It is essential to find a case management software solution that allows you to tailor it to your unique workflow as it will help streamline your organization’s management and reporting efficiency.

This flexibility will also benefit your organization as your processes change and develop. Look beyond the short term to find a solution that’s flexible enough to grow with your organization. 

Plus, user-friendly design makes it easy for your team to adopt your technology systems so you can start saving time on data entry and focusing on service delivery right away.

6. How will you ensure your staff are properly trained? Do you offer ongoing training and support?

Your technology systems are only as strong as your staff’s knowledge of how to use them. Fully trained employees are enabled to implement software with ease. And any time the program is updated or a new feature is added, it will take much less time out of an employees’ day to quickly learn and make adjustments if they’ve been properly trained. This ensures their knowledge continues to increase, and they become more valuable over time.

Ask software providers for details on how their training process works and how long it lasts. The knowledge and experience your employees will gain from quality software training will make them more productive at work.

7. Is your solution secure? Can your technology help us to remain compliant?

Secure nonprofit technology ensures that your organization keeps your data safe, secure, and in the right hands at all times. Your biggest responsibility to your clients is to keep their information safe. Along with that, your organization must stay compliant with legal requirements. 

With the right technology partner, your data will be hosted safely using secure, cloud-based technology. 

8. What do we need to budget for our technology investment long-term?

Finding the right case management solution for your nonprofit is essential for advancing your purpose, making it worth the monetary investment. However, it’s still important to budget thoughtfully so that you spend every dollar wisely. Discuss pricing with your software provider to determine how much you’ll need to budget in the long run.

Next steps

The main driver for technology investment is the amount of time, money, and resources you will save to give to your purpose. Technology should make your job easier, which in turn makes service delivery more abundant and effective. Nonprofit technology can also open nonprofits up to more funding, as the data you track helps you prove your impact to potential funders. 

When selecting a technology provider, choose one that knows and understands your purpose and wants to be a part of it. Find a solution that understands that data is powerful and that it must be handled with care and compassion. 

Are you investing in the right nonprofit technology for your organization? Check out our vodcast on choosing new nonprofit technology to select your systems with confidence.

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    Case Management
  • Nonprofits
  • Coordinating social services