Best Practices

Project Management Software for Nonprofits

Jonathan Friedman
January 13, 2021
Project Management Software for Nonprofits

71% of executives understand that employee engagement and retention is key to their success. However, a whopping 80% of employees don't feel engaged at work. This is a giant chasm that must be closed if you're going to see success at your nonprofit. The right tools can provide you with what you need to close this gap and give your team what they need to feel like they've completed a job well done. You need the best project management software for nonprofits on the market.

Don't worry if you don't know how to find the best one, we've got you covered. We'll show you what to look for and how to use it to create the right foundation for your team to start completing your projects on time and under budget.

Below is everything we will cover. Feel free to skip ahead.


Who needs a project management system?

If you find yourself not completing all your projects, you need a better system to manage what needs to get done. As your nonprofit grows, you need a better approach to track what needs to get done next and by whom.

Leaders across every industry find themselves mismanaging projects. This leads to missed deadlines and inflated budgets. As a nonprofit, any time or money you waste not getting your projects done means fewer people you can help at the end of the day. So stop missing deadlines and blowing up your budget with mismanaged projects.

You started your nonprofit to help people. But you can help a lot more people when you set up a system for getting more of the right things done. And a good Project Management (PM) system can do this for you and your team.

Why do nonprofits need project management software?

As more organizations find themselves working these days remotely, it can be hard to know what everyone is supposed to be working on at any given moment. The right software can provide transparency in any project, no matter how large or small. It would help if you had a way to see what your team is working on and where the bottlenecks might be in the workflow.

So, if your team is spending too much time managing emails and meetings instead of their tasks and roles, then you need a project management system and software to manage it all. Additionally, you can stop spending so much time analyzing the data and reports your employees are giving you. Or worse, if you're spending too much time tracking down your team members to find out what they've completed or not, then you need a better system.

The best project management software will allow you and your nonprofit to see what everyone is doing and what still needs to be done. This will enable your teammates to decide their work schedule without waiting for you to tell them what to do next.

When your team has this level of autonomy, you will see better workflow and efficiency. It will also give you the freedom to get your work done rather than micromanaging your team.

How to choose the best project management software for your nonprofit

First, you need to take the time to determine where your bottleneck is happening in your current projects. Do you find yourself with more ideas than you can complete? And do you see yourself jumping into every new idea you come up with? Then it would help if you had a better way to store and flesh out your ideas before launching them.

Or, perhaps you find yourself getting half-way through a project only to realize you don't have enough resources to complete it. These different kinds of bottlenecks have other solutions, so you need to know your problem before finding the answer.

Once you know what you're looking for, you're ready to find the best software for nonprofits and your new PM system. Some key features you should be looking for include:

So stop reacting to every new crisis and continually feeling like you're spending all your time putting out fires. With the right system in place, you will be proactive and plan your entire project from start to finish.

Additionally, your team will understand the goal and scope of each project and their part in completing it. Now you're ready to learn the foundations for creating this new system.

Foundations for your project management software

The best software program in the world won't solve your problems if your team doesn't know how to plan and implement your projects properly. There are five stages to building the right PM system; these are: 

1. Launch

Many people get a great idea and immediately get to work starting it. However, without the right foundation, you will likely either not succeed, or it will take much longer than necessary. This is why it's vital you take the time to launch each campaign to ensure timely success properly.

First, you must define your goals and establish what it is you want to accomplish. Too many leaders jump into their ideas without first mapping out the concept and showing their team the end goal.

Second, you need to begin your research to know exactly what resources will be required to accomplish your goals. You will lay out the timeline so that everyone can see at a glance when each milestone should be reached. When you take the time to launch correctly, you ensure that your result will be what you wanted. 

2. Plan

Whether you use SMART goals or CLEAR goals doesn't matter. Instead, what does matter is that you take the time to sit down and plan your project before jumping right in. A good plan will give detailed directions like a good roadmap for your team to follow.

It would be best if you defined each project's exact scope so that everyone understands when the project is done. Additionally, determine the resources needed to complete the project, so you don't find yourself mid-way and out of money or time. Resources can include the budget as well as the human capital needed to complete each project.

Every plan will utilize resources, whether it's time, money, or people. You need to know what resources your project will need, so you don't find yourself going over budget or missing the deadline again. Once you have the budget, timeline, supplies, and team outlined for your project, it's time to get started.

3. Implement

Too many people jump into new projects at this stage rather than taking the time to map out the first two stages. However, without the initiation and planning stages, you will most assuredly either not complete your project or exceed your budget and miss your deadlines.

Stop falling into the trap of feeling like you need to get to work immediately without taking the time to map out the first two steps. And you will see this third step will have much more success.

This is the grind stage, you and your team might feel like you spend months in this stage, and that's okay. With the right roadmap outlined above, everyone will know what they're supposed to be working on each day and continue to move the needle forward towards completion.

4. Monitor and track

This fourth step can be confusing as to who should be completing it and when. However, when you've trained your team, and everyone understands the process, this step should be done by everyone all the time.

As the leader, you also need to ensure that you're monitoring and tracking the process continually. However, this shouldn't take more than a minute to see exactly where your team is in the process with the right project management software for nonprofits.

However, your team should also see at a glance in the software where their progress is. Additionally, they should monitor their tasks and budget to ensure they don't fall into the trap of scope creep or budget busters.

5. Close it down

Projects are not functional core activities. These are larger, extended operations or undertakings that your team implements for a set amount of time. However, once it's done, you need to close it down and move on.

Again, if you skipped the first step and didn't have a clear goal outlined, then it might be easy to misunderstand when it's time to close it down. Or, you might fall into the trap of allowing one project to multiply into three more and feel like you never completed the first.

This is why having a central software program that clearly shows everyone on your team what the end goal is and the plan to get there. Then everyone also knows when they've completed a job well done.

So, now you're ready to give your team the boost in morale they need knowing their hard work is paying off. And you're ready to create the system that will increase everyone's productivity. You're ready to bring clarity and collaboration to your team so they can feel good at the end of the day that their work is helping people at your nonprofit.

Give your team a boost with the best project management software for nonprofits: TrueNxus

TrueNxus understands the benefits of project management for nonprofits. Our collaboration platform is built so that your entire nonprofit can work as a cross-functional team. It has everything that you need to change the way your nonprofit operates.

For your nonprofit to realize project management benefits, you need a tool that helps with:

Here's a look at some of TrueNxus's features:

1. Multiple views

Personalized views illustration

People require different ways to visualize work across time. Not only that, but each individual specializes in a specific domain, and as such, each thinks about work differently. To ensure successful planning and execution, you need a tool that provides personalized views that make sense to everyone involved. These views need to be in sync as well.

TrueNxus provides you with the following views:

List

Plan screenshot

A list is a table that allows you to manage your nonprofit projects easily. You can organize your project work into groups such as workstreams or any logical way to categorize tasks.

Timeline

Product roadmap or project timeline screenshot

With TrueNxus's Timeline, a Gantt-chart like view, you can visualize your project plans across time. It lets you understand how all of the work fits together. You can make updates to the project plans through an interactive interface.

3. Automated project status reports

Automated project status reports illustration

We understand that each cross-functional team member is busy balancing multiple priorities, from your day-to-day responsibilities to various programs and projects. Therefore, TrueNxus successfully tracks projects by automatically analyzing the project's status in real-time.

4. My Work

View all of your work in one place

Another essential thing for everyone involved in project management for nonprofits is understanding what you're on the hook for delivering. With TrueNxus, you can view every task and every dependency vital to you, across every project, in one location, ensuring success.

5. Dependencies

Dependencies

Additionally, we know that you don't want to let your peers down or be let down. You can ensure the successful delivery of programs and projects through collaboration and documenting task dependencies. By doing so, you can be accountable when others are reliant on you. You can understand dependent tasks, change implications, and adjust course as needed.

6. Automated notifications

Automated workflows - notifications

No matter your role in any project, you can also successfully execute work by leveraging project management software for nonprofits that notify you when changes occur. With TrueNxus's 20+ out-of-the-box automated notifications, you will have the transparency you need to stay in-the-know.

7. Comments

Cross-functional team collaboration - comments

Additionally, the entire nonprofit can ensure project plans are successful by collaborating directly in the app. With TrueNxus, you can communicate with colleagues, clients, consultants, and contractors in one place.

8. Project charter

Charter illustration

Lastly, you can leverage OKR and create a project charter. You can ensure the successful execution of projects by documenting and aligning the project's objectives, benefits, and risks from the very beginning. TrueNxus is the only project management software for nonprofits that has a project charter directly in the app.

Conclusion

Now you know how the right project management software for nonprofits can mean the difference between completing your projects successfully. You now have the tools and the system that can ensure your nonprofit can stop wasting time and money and instead have those valuable resources available for those you're helping.

If you're ready to get started with the best software program that teams like yours use every day to get more done, then try our free 14-day trial so you can see for yourself.