Navigating the decision making process while exploring the variety of options in the nonprofit technology industry can be a daunting task. Every solution that exists has been designed to create value, which can make it difficult to understand what kind of value is the most important to your organization.
When choosing a child sponsorship management software to act as your charity membership or community management system, it is important to consider three main criteria: the accessibility, the data security, and the scalability of the tool.
Where to start when making a decision about Child Sponsorship Software
This article has been written to help organizations navigate the options and start to think about which considerations are most important to their nonprofit organization.
Accessibility Considerations for Child Sponsorship Programs
Accessibility is extremely important.
When we speak of accessibility in this article, we are talking about the accessibility to real and genuine relationships, through moderated communication and technology - i.e. access for funders and receivers to be able to interact with each other, not just the admin of the child sponsorship program.
Most software’s in the nonprofit technology space, actually limit their accessibility by not allowing beneficiaries to be part of the conversations, which ultimately, can lead to reduced transparency for your organization.
In order for all members of your nonprofit community to truly feel engaged with your organization, it is important that everyone can access the information that you share related to them at any point in time - assuming the information is meant for them. This is why utilizing a cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tends to be the most effective solution for international nonprofits. Anyone, from anywhere in the world, will be able to access the content you share for updates related to your nonprofit and child sponsorship correspondence.
Taking this a step further, it is also very important that both the donors, and the beneficiaries, are able to access the information your organization shares related to them when keeping donors updated. This is the only way to truly be transparent across all the users of your system - beneficiaries included.
Technology has opened the world to direct and interactive charitable models, where donors and beneficiaries can leverage technology to communicate directly with extreme transparency. Choosing a partner that does not limit their solution to donor communication and management only, but instead leads with transparency as they create relationships between donors and beneficiaries with direct (moderated) communication avenues, increases the accessibility for all members of a nonprofit’s community.
Creating impact and lasting change is not possible without all individuals (donors, admin, and beneficiaries) feeling connected to the mission of your nonprofit organization. Allowing direct relationships between donors and beneficiaries opens a new avenue for accessibility which facilitates lasting connections that reduce donor churn.
Security and Data Considerations for Child Sponsorship Programs
Data security is of utmost importance when dealing with personal information - especially that of beneficiaries who are not yet adults making their own decisions.
The reality is, most grassroots and/or small/medium sized child sponsorship organizations do not have the ability and/or resources to ensure that they comply with the various standards related to security and Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This is another reason why choosing the right technology partner is important.
Software is always changing. It is a depreciating asset that needs to be maintained. When choosing a software vendor to partner with, understanding their position on security and privacy compliance is extremely important. Many new vendors, including us, have used modern solutions to build their SaaS products. Taking this even further, the solutions that the products are being built on, are provided by some of the largest, and leading, technology companies in the world. Not only do these massive technology firms stay ahead of the always changing security landscape, but they also provide user-friendly solutions for software companies to leverage their expertise and maintain the highest level of data privacy and security in their own software solutions.
Working with vendors that also understand the standards that exist in the software industry, such as HIIPA, CCPA, etc., will position you well for complying to the current rules and regulations. It will also take the responsibility off your shoulders when changes are made by governing agencies to the acceptable methods of modern security and data privacy, since the vendors you partner with will be the ones implementing the solutions into the tools you have invested in for your child sponsorship program.
When it comes to nonprofit community management in particular, security and transparency amongst the members of your community is becoming a serious consideration. It is important that every donor and beneficiary knows exactly what has been shared about them and who it has been shared with.
Your child sponsorship program has likely shared a lot of personal information related to a student. Whether that is their pictures, a birthdate, or even just their first and/or last name; all of this information can lead to identification, which makes it sensitive PII. Utilizing a community management software that opens the direct donor to beneficiary avenue, allows for provisioned and private profiles to be created, which can be edited and managed by the users who own the profiles. If a child sponsorship program decides that when a child turns 18, they can have access to their own profile and continue the relationship on their own, the information that’s been shared about the beneficiary can be analyzed by the person who truly owns that data, the beneficiary themselves. If they decide the information that has been shared is not something they would like to keep public, they can simply remove that content themselves. This allows for the highest level of data security and privacy, as the users become the ones who are in control over what content about them gets shared, and with whom.
Scalability Considerations for Child Sponsorship Programs
Another important consideration when making child sponsorship management decisions, is to consider what the tool will allow your organization to do if it scales (grows very quickly).
A lot of this comes down to pricing models, and being sure that the technology partner you choose will not become unaffordable as you grow. Choosing a partner that is transparent in pricing, and ensures that your goals are always aligned with theirs will be one of the most important discussions you have prior to committing to a solution.
Most pricing models in the SaaS space are subscription based. Some block the amount of admins possible within the platform, making it difficult for your organization to allow more people to help with the administrative work involved in using a system. This might be something worth avoiding if your team of staff intends to grow with the organization’s growth. Others, will charge based on the number of profiles or donors/beneficiaries you have, which can be beneficial as you will follow a “pay-as-you-grow” type scenario that ensures you are always paying the least amount, until you enter into the next bracket, at which point the revenue increase of your organization should cover the additional cost while maintaining your growth margins.
When it comes to pricing, there isn’t necessarily a perfect model, but it is important when determining the model that works for your organization, that you are buying from someone who understands your budget and goals.
An additional scalability consideration that is worth considering is the ease of growth within the platform. Has the child sponsorship software been built in a way that is actually going to make growth easier for your organization?
When making these considerations, it is important to test the functionality out and work with the partner success team prior to committing to an investment, to ensure that the system is designed in a user friendly and elegant way.
Be sure to ask for a free trial, and work with organizations that will be happy to support you through the free trials, as this is one of the only ways to ensure your success prior to investing and pouring time into migrating onto the solution.
Child Sponsorship Programs - we want to hear from you!
If you are ever looking for an unbiased and open conversation about how we can help, be sure to reach out to [email protected]. We live by a set of principles, and selling software to an organization that will not benefit from our solution is not something that we will ever intend to do.
We are also hoping to learn from the child sponsorship nonprofit community, so a quick conversation could lead to new innovation that will work better for your organization - which may be worth the time spent meeting our group who is focused on alleviating poverty through supporting nonprofits, and improving the lives of others globally!