Updated: Jun 16
To be sure, how a 501c3 or 501c6 organization deploys and licenses database software is a critical decision in your nonprofit. In this article, we explore a question which may be applicable to your nonprofit database software licensing.
What Type of Non Profit Software is The Best Fit?
Cloud Based Software vs. On Premise Software
In my train of thought, “Cloud based” software clients could be construed as “renters”. And, conversely “On-premise” clients are conversely a “homeowner” type of client. Without question, “Cloud based” software systems have gained huge popularity in the last several years for 501c3 organizations and associations alike. And, rightfully so! Due to the nature of associations and nonprofits, it’s easy to be allured by the catch phrases and ease of deploying a cloud based solution. You hear it everywhere today, “With a cloud based solution your association can deploy a solution quicker and less ”. And, this is likely true for you too.
The Renter vs. Homeowner Choice
However, a “renter” and a “home owner” are distinctly different in terms of mentality. Apartments/Condos/Duplexes all serve a purpose in our society. And, buying a home is still for many considered an intricate part of achieving “ The American Dream”. Quite frankly, renting is a necessity for many transient individuals/families/students/retirees which need a temporary place to store their property (like your associations data) and provide a safe secure place to call home. For example, an apartment communities are usually very accommodating.
One will likely enjoy a huge expansive swimming pool, workout center, nice club house lounge area at the office, wonderful landscaping and sometimes a nice size park area for kids to play if the property caters to families.
The shared amenities can be quite attractive. The “shared amenities” are not it! There is more to substantiate the allure of going down this path. The renter does not have to worry about costs when the dishwasher breaks (at your kid’s birthday party), the a/c goes out ( in the heat of the summer) or a tornado comes through in the spring to destroy your roof. Finally, a renter usually pays less, signs a one year lease term, & you have way more than you could get if you had to buy.
A home owner is usually in it for the long haul, right? As a home owner you have the choice to make changes to your existing structure (if and when your family needs change) like building a new room for your new little one or modifying an existing space to update it to the new trends, paint a room a different color, or update the outdoors with a nice garden to plant vegetables. And, at the end of the day, you likely will enjoy the build-up of equity.
Obviously, “home owners” have their pitfalls. When it breaks, you fix it. When it needs updating, you buy it. When the taxes come, you pay them.
You get the idea!
Cloud Based Non Profit Software is Renting
For well over a decade now, “Cloud based” software vendors have enjoyed the limelight. As an association executive, it’s important to know if a “Cloud” based database system is really the right choice for your organization. Understanding your nonprofit needs in order to better understand which donor database or membership software system option is best for your company, is warranted. Choosing the right enterprise membership management system is integral to your business.
Here are some benefits of cloud software to chew on:
Keeping member or supporter databases up-to-date can be a daunting task using installed software. When all data or files are stored online (in the cloud) files can be updated and shared remotely and easily. This means, no duplicate member lists or outdated email lists and no need to email or copy files onto USB sticks.
Instead of staff making changes to member contact information or membership status, with cloud solutions, your members and supporters can quickly and easily update their own membership or contact information. In addition, staff or volunteers can update websites and manage event registration remotely and easily.
Cloud software can facilitate easier collaboration. Many cloud systems also allow you to see previous versions, so you don’t need to worry about editors accidentally deleting important information.
Reduced Infrastructure and built-in backup:
Most nonprofits and membership organizations do not have the resources necessary to update their systems and software, often leading to outdated systems, crashing computers and security holes. With cloud-based software or systems, the “burden of maintenance” is shifted to the vendor. Their automatic updates, backup and tech support save time and effort previously required for updates and infrastructure maintenance. In addition, with cloud systems there should be limited downtime since they have back-up servers as well as expert support to manage and minimize service disruptions.
Your Choice in Non Profit Software Option
As of this writing, the decision to “Rent or Buy” is becoming less applicable. But, for some larger more autonomous associations, the question is still pertinent and will be for some time.
Like all decisions, there are many factors involved in finding the best fit. We encourage our clients to review the pros and cons of each option before making your decision. To be clear, we do not believe that one or the other is right for every association today. We can help with understanding your unique needs and determining the “Smart Fit” for your nonprofit.
Please contact us today if you would like more information or would like help in selecting your next apartment or home!