One of the greatest benefits of NetSuite is its flexibility. The web-based software offers functionality in numerous areas, including enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, accounting and even e-commerce. The lack of a need for significant amounts of hardware required for an on-site installation also makes NetSuite easier to purchase and use for smaller organizations.
All of these facets of flexibility mean there are many different markets and industries where NetSuite can provide a major benefit. Sometimes overlooked in this conversation is the nonprofit realm, where NetSuite shines as a useful business software system. In short, the platform allows charitable organizations to effectively manage their major operational processes as well as share data between different employees and teams, creating an atmosphere of visibility and access that boosts success.
Constituent relationship management
Instead of more limited software that focuses only on a specific area of operation, such as accounting or constituent relationship management, NetSuite puts all of these major processes into one system. The needs of nonprofits are often much different from private sector businesses, and the presence of nonprofit-specific components in NetSuite help support those unique considerations. One of those areas is constituent relationship management, which blends some unique workflows with components of NetSuite’s for-profit customer relationship management platform that are relevant in all sectors.
Staff in the fundraising department can manage their interactions with contributors and maintain detailed files about past donations, personal preferences, contact information and many other aspects of interaction, just as salespeople using customer relationship management software do. NetSuite itself pointed to the strength of a single set of unified records for constituents, noting that such an approach makes donor development more efficient and increases the ability to personalize such efforts. Just as salespeople see better results when they have better control over client information, nonprofits can realize the same benefits thanks to smarter interactions with constituents.
Obtaining better insight
The influx of information into a nonprofit can be overwhelming at times, when everything from financials to constituent interaction to current activities related to outreach efforts and programs are considered. With NetSuite, nonprofit leaders can turn that stream of data from a negative into a positive, gaining a higher level of visibility and understanding more of what exactly is happening at a nonprofit.
The better availability of information extends to staff members, partners, constituents and vendors as well. NetSuite allows for role-based access to various parts of the system, streamlining the process for users while letting them focus on the areas relevant to them. Limited access to non-relevant data removes the possibility of accidental entry or deletion of information, protecting the system. With this approach, everyone from the nonprofit board down to the newest hires are more informed and better prepared to act.
The combination of CRM and ERP functionality, along with other components such as bookkeeping and ecommerce, into a system designed specifically for nonprofits makes NetSuite a leading choice for these organizations.
More controlled costs
Some ERP and CRM systems carry significant costs commensurate with their complexity and potential. NetSuite’s unique structure allows nonprofits, which often have tight operating budgets, to experience the benefits of such software while making costs more manageable. The software-as-a-service approach means organizations don’t have to worry about having IT professionals consistently on the clock to deal with hardware and software issues. Instead of the large, upfront price tags that aren’t always manageable for nonprofits, the costs of using NetSuite are spread out across the useful life of the system.
Options for nonprofits
NetSuite operates a program specifically for nonprofits where it donates copies of its software to eligible organizations. The company offers a base donation along with discounts on additional users and add ons as well. There are a number of qualifying terms that organizations must meet, which are available from NetSuite on its website. Beyond the strict requirements for the donation, there are also factors of preference that the software maker looks for. These include the current finances of an organization and whether it could afford NetSuite on its own, as well as a focus on automating a single, specific business practice. Goals that are both documentable and achievable have been highlight by NetSuite as a major driver in the selection process.
The ability to discuss the positive impact an organization makes in its community, as well as using metrics to support that assertion, is also important. Another major aspect weighed by NetSuite as part of the application process is whether or not the nonprofit organization has the current capacity to successfully implement and use NetSuite without major changes to operational structure. Another area of consideration is whether the company has a strong grasp of NetSuite’s concepts and can understand how and why it meets their needs.
Nonprofits can review the guidelines in full and apply for a grant by following this link.