Along with the rise of digital philanthropy comes the increased need for non-profits to start using software to manage projects, drive global change, and stay connected. There’s plenty of options out there from complete solutions like project management software to specialized platforms for task management, accounting, image editing, file storage, time tracking, and more. And the costs are minimal. Several project management tools actually offer considerable discounts for non-profits provided you’re solely using the software for this purpose. G Suite is also free for NGOs. Chances are the software you want to use already has an offer for you.
Besides the free options and discounts, here are 5 notable benefits of using project management software to manage your NGO projects:
Better planning and monitoring of your duties
If you’ve got a simple project to work on, chances are the old Excel will work for you. Once you’ve got multiple resources, volunteers, sponsors, funds, and timelines to deal with, you’ll need a stronger software for project management. These let you create task lists with just a few clicks, automatically calculate and adjust schedules starting with the information you provide, and get a snapshot view of work through dedicated dashboards and reporting options. All this to help you save time, focus on your final mission, and redirect your focus towards doing more good rather than just admin work.
Collaborate in real-time
A project management app lets you delegate tasks to your volunteers or employees. Different people are able to work on the same task and communicate in real-time via message boards, live chats, or simply through comments. This will save you time when you need to talk about any updates and their progress without having to call yet another meeting. Also, everyone involved in a task will get instantly notified so changes can be implemented without delay.
Provide the necessary information for your stakeholders
Besides your team, connecting any stakeholder to the project information they need is crucial for the success of your mission. Choosing to work with a digital collaboration tool like Slack or project management solution such as Paymo will facilitate communication among the team and other external collaborators. Both of these channels offer support in sending regular project updates regarding funds, costs, budgets, goals, progress, or any other key details that could help you keep the support of your donors and maybe even score a new sponsorship. Plus, they’re a great chance for you to provide transparency and gain their trust.
Stay within deadline
Most project management tools provide at least some kind of details related to the project’s deadlines. Whether it’s a basic calendar feature to let you schedule events or a full-featured time tracking option, both are easy to implement and provide several opportunities for improving your projects and getting better results on your missions. A time tracking feature is particularly helpful for time-sensitive causes. Say you need to organize a fundraising campaign and have a strict deadline that just can’t be postponed. Tracking your time and analyzing your time reports will help you increase productivity, spot timeline issues, see if anyone is struggling with their duties, stay aligned with your goals, and identify non-essential tasks you might be wasting time on.
Keep all files in a single place
Legal paperwork, approval letters, guidelines, lots of piles of paper that need to be stored somewhere. Whether you choose a basic cloud storage tool or project management software that comes with a file storage and organization feature, these options will offer a centralized place for you to keep all docs that are crucial for your project. Having them all in an accessible location will also make it easier for your team members to find them even if we’re talking about a promotional flyer you made 5 months ago.
Listed above are just some of the most common benefits of using project management software to handle an NGO project. Regardless of the choice you make, if you’re a volunteer or even if you’re paid to do this job, you’re likely doing it out of passion so a digital tool will only ease your work and help you focus on what matters instead. Taking advantage of these opportunities on time will help you prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution that’s likely to digitize everything and make it almost impossible to conduct a successful project without the help of tech. Some argue this era has already started so acting now towards that change is a fair decision.