How we address three common onboarding struggles faced by nonprofits investing in technology

Getting started with a new software can come with major struggles - especially when your nonprofit organization is already facing budget restrictions.
Software tools exist that can substantially change the way that nonprofit organizations operate, making their operations much more effective; however, these tools often come with excessive price tags, and are built with a focus on enterprise-grade organizations. Of the common onboarding nightmares related to purchasing new software, the issues that we believe are most relevant to nonprofits starting off with new tools are the following three.

Cookie-Cutter Approach to Onboarding Nonprofits

Many vendors that create software for nonprofit organizations require onboarding and professional services to be paid for. Oftentimes, these charges are being billed, but the software vendor is utilizing a standardized training approach for scalability. Although it makes sense for a software vendor to attempt to build this type of onboarding program, it doesn’t make much sense to buyers if their organization doesn’t fit into the vendor’s ideal customer profile (ICP).
When it comes to most onboarding programs, the approach tends to be lean and repeatable - a “cookie-cutter approach” - which we believe can lead to inefficient and ineffective outcomes. Ideas are rushed, content is cheap, and direction is scattered with little focus on the success of your organization, and majority of the focus put towards repeatable sessions that involve little thought or creativity specific to the organization being onboarded.
At Clarity, we are happy to take a success-centric approach to onboarding new partners. This means that we tailor each and every onboarding experience to the unique needs of the organization partnering with us. This is done by initiating a kickoff meeting to establish exactly what success means to the nonprofit, followed by establishing specific (quantifiable) metrics for analyzing the success of the onboarding. Once success is defined, we obsess over the details to ensure that we create a path to self-sufficiency that is centered around our source of truth, the quantifiable metrics for success that your unique organization has defined.
This doesn’t always happen in one or two hours, and that is okay.
We are focused on success, so we will work with our clients to find their success with them. That’s what partners are for. 🥰

Unrealistic Community Management Expectations

Unrealistic outcomes, over promised solutions, underwhelming support, they all fall into the same bucket - unrealistic expectations by buyers. In the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) day and age, motivation to sell is directly proportional to salary for a lot of folks. With this, solutions can be extended on calls, but roadmaps can’t be adjusted as quick as the reps may make it seem. This often leads to organizations not obtaining the expectations they were made to believe were possible.
With Clarity, keeping expectations reasonable and achievable is a core value. We work to ensure that our platform is built in a way that allows unique use cases to find a home. This goes back to setting expectations, and making them quantifiable, to ensure that there is never confusion around what a successful onboarding means to the nonprofit using our community management software.
If product modifications are needed to reach onboarding expectations, the software vendor is likely doing something wrong. At Clarity we believe in transparency - it’s part of the vision that we hope to provide to nonprofits across the world. Therefore, if we say something we mean it, and we set expectations with realistic timelines. This allows us to be sure that prior to declaring “success”, the expectations around product-organization goals have been met.

Post Sale Abandonment Issues faced by Nonprofits

A lot of software vendors - especially those selling to nonprofits - are small teams with limited funding themselves. Further, it is not uncommon for the vendor to be focused on many different and unrelated verticals. This is often done with the hope that it will allow them to scale at the rate that might attract venture funding, or alternative paths to capital and “glory”. This is beyond sole focus on the nonprofit sector. What they do for nonprofits may just be one small slice of their grandiose vision. With that, your purchase might not mean as much to them as it means to you. Beyond your two hour kick off training, you may be left in the dark to navigate towards success on your own - you might be abandoned.
Clarity takes a three pronged approach to ensuring that post sale there are no abandonment issues, or possibilities. Working with Clarity, we are always just a call away - if you have any questions or concerns, you can reach out to get support at any time. This is the first “prong” of our commitment to success - there is no time limit on what it takes to make sure your organization feels comfortable and successful on the platform.
Additionally - call it “prong two” of the three prong approach - we are constantly rolling out new content to ensure that you have all the tools you need to get started. This starts the second you log in to your organization on Clarity. New users are greeted with a message and walk-through of the platform, performed by one of our founders. This helps you navigate getting started and is led by one of the people behind the mission of Clarity, not some pay-to-film freelancer who may not fully understand the context of the platform and what the vision holds. There are videos for all user types - organizational admin users or donors and beneficiaries - to ensure that anyone and everyone feels confident with getting started. Further to this, you are always able to access our knowledge base. This is updated regularly with articles created from our frequently asked questions and guided by the confusions we hear related to using our platform.
As an example of some of the guides we have embedded into our platform, check out this link to our YouTube video below, which is an example of what a new organization will see when they first log into Clarity:
Organizational Onboarding Information - Getting Started with Clarity
Our third “prong” to ensuring that post sale abandonment issues do not arise goes back to our metrics based commitment to defining and obtaining success. Our time is more valuable working with our users than it is anywhere else. We won’t limit our partners to one or two hour launches. We will, however, limit our chances of churn by being hyper-focused on your nonprofit’s onboarding outcomes and always going the extra mile to ensure satisfaction. If your metrics for success aren’t met, we will keep scheduling time to get you there 👩‍🏫
Choosing the right partner to help you engage with your nonprofit’s community is extremely important. At Clarity, we will always go the extra mile for small, medium, grassroot, or enterprise organizations. Our support and services are not dependent on your size or future contract value potential. It is led by our commitment to bringing powerful tools to the organizations that are changing the world.
If you have any questions about this process, or have experienced a failed onboarding and are exploring other options, reach out to us at [email protected] - we have competitor replacement strategies in place, and can help make sure it isn’t a massive loss to your nonprofit as you navigate away from your first attempt.