Standard Collaboration Tools Won’t Work for Nonprofits

Andrew VaethNonprofit Collaboration, Nonprofit Tech, Nonprofit Tools

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Your organization probably works with outside constituents, such as board members, volunteers, and partnering agencies. The last time you collaborated on a project, did you ask them to use your software? Maybe it was a highly regarded board portal or a made-for-business team collaboration tool.

If so, how’d that go for you? Did everyone adopt your software seamlessly? Was there value added to your mission? If your organization is like most nonprofits, you likely had had lukewarm results at best.

This is because even the best collaboration tools made for business just don’t work for nonprofits.

Why doesn’t this software work for nonprofits?

The best business-focused collaboration tools on the market are transformative for organizations where:

  • Users live and work in the same application space all day.
  • The tool is a go-to for every project.
  • Learning the tool is mandatory and becomes second nature.

However, nonprofits don’t function this way. Most of your volunteers, board members, committees, and community partners likely have day jobs somewhere else. They don’t use your chosen collaboration tool exclusively, which means they’re not likely to learn it or use it regularly.

Software for nonprofits needs to be different.

You can benefit from team collaboration without forcing a square peg (business software) into a round hole (your nonprofit).

The key is to allow outside team members – the board of directors, committee members, volunteers, and community partners – to interact with your inside team in a way they’re already comfortable with, such as email.

Meanwhile, the inside team members – your organization’s staff – should have access to powerful tools to coordinate, collaborate, and communicate.

Nonprofit software requires the same benefits of standard collaboration tools, but with an interface so simple, valuable outside constituents don’t need to learn anything new. For-profit business tools just don’t have this capability, so they’ll never be right for nonprofits.

Before you invest time and resources into a new collaboration tool, consider software built just for nonprofits.

Considering collaboration software for your organization? Check out our collaboration software purpose-built for nonprofits.


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