The 4 Software Features Your Youth and Child Services Nonprofit Needs
- September 23, 2019
Kids can be a lot to keep track of, especially when you’re in the business of setting them up for long-term success. Youth services organizations not only have to keep track of the children they serve, but also donors, volunteers, parents, and other key stakeholders that help their operations run smoothly.
Your software solution should support all of those needs, while also providing you with the insights needed to scale. It should also be able to grow alongside your organization, because the larger that you grow, the more you need software that works with you to support your day-to-day functions.
So, if you’re looking to make the transition from excel sheets and stray documents into a comprehensive software platform, make sure you know what you’re looking for. Here are the 4 essential software features your youth and child services organization needs to make an even greater impact.
1. All-In-One Functionalities
Your software vendor should understand that you need to track multiple aspects of a child’s journey. That can include their home life, their academic performance, their citizenship status — all the details that help you help them to the fullest extent.
A truly comprehensive software solution will also give you a full view of your organization, from your participants to your volunteers, mentors, and donors. Keeping this information “all under one roof” streamlines operations and prevents pesky miscommunications between your team members.
That’s why your software should act as a one-stop-shop. It should include all the key features that are absolutely necessary for your organization to run smoothly. Features that include:
- Donor, volunteer, and participant management
- Registration capabilities
- Activity tracking for participants and sessions
- Progress tracking and assessment capabilities
These features will be crucial as your nonprofit continues to grow. The most critical element of functionality in your software lies in the fact that you can go to a single system and see every relationship that you have with an individual. Your relationships guide your nonprofit, so make it a priority.
2. Data Security
The guaranteed security of the kids and families you serve is a non-negotiable for any software platform you consider. Data should be accessible at a variety of privacy levels, so you don’t have to worry about who has access to sensitive information.
For example, your program volunteers should be able to access your system for attendance tracking, but they shouldn’t have access to donor payment information. A versatile system will let you decide who gets access to what.
Look for software that enables you to create user types to control access to your data. User types are typically based on job role and can be customized to fit your nonprofit. These role-based security profiles ensure that your information is secure and only accessible to those that need it.
3. Alerts and Automation
As your nonprofit continues to grow, it can be hard to keep track of all of your day-to-day tasks. Your software should help ensure nothing slips through the cracks with automated reminder notifications.
Good software will allow you to set alerts to ensure that your staff and volunteers are keeping up with appointments and follow-ups. Great software will allow you to do that, while also automating some processes so you don’t even have to think about it.
Automated messages allow you to take some of the manual lift out of some outreach. For example, automated emails can go out to families whose child has missed two days of a program in a row.
The right software is configurable to your needs. It may seem like it will take a lot of time to customize your software, but think of it as an investment. If you configure it correctly, it can save you and your whole organization a lot of time and money.
4. Reporting Tools
Your software choice should provide you with robust reporting features that are both accurate and searchable. Without these features, it can take you and your team a long time to come up with records for your grant reports and funders. It can also hinder your ability to gauge the success of your programs and services.
A key element of ongoing donor support is showing that your programs produce calculable results. You should be able to report based on location, national data, or based on demographics from specific programs or leaders. Insightful reporting and measurable outcomes keep your donors donating, so it needs to be as easy as possible.
At the end of the day, your software should be as unique as your programs. Take the time to find a vendor that will get you a product that seamlessly blends with your mission. The more use you get out of your software, the more time you can dedicate to the kids you serve