Get 50% Off TILL 2024 | Sign up by 9/30

4 Technology Platforms that New Nonprofits Need to Succeed

By April 3, 2023June 20th, 2023Nonprofit Start-Up Toolkit, Nonprofit Tips
eleo small nonprofit software needs

You’ve started a new nonprofit! It’s an exciting time. You have your 501c3; you have your mission; you have a few volunteers. You’re fired up! You’re ready to take on the world’s problems!

But, let’s take a step back – what happens once those first donors start rolling in? Is your new nonprofit really ready? Are you set up to handle donations and thank you letters and mailings and tax filings? Oftentimes, new nonprofits don’t realize the complexity of creating a successful fundraising strategy. And unfortunately, critical startup components get ignored.

So, what backend software should a new nonprofit have set up before their first donation? There are 4 technology platforms that new nonprofits need to succeed. Take a look below to learn more.

#1 Donor Management Software

When you’re just getting started, it will feel like Excel or Word can handle your donor cataloguing effectively. And, maybe it can… for now. The reality is, these Microsoft solutions were not meant to handle the specific needs of nonprofit organizations. That’s why having donor management software from the beginning is best practice. From communication lists to thank you mailings to events, donor management software is wholly designed for your nonprofit happenings, and will keep you organized, efficient, and accurate.

To help choose the right software for your organization, take a look at this free E-Guide.

#2 Accounting Software 

Two common misconceptions run amuck within new nonprofit organizations. First, is that your nonprofit isn’t a full throttle business. Simply put – nonprofits should be run in the same manner as a for-profit business. And just like for profit businesses, you absolutely need accounting software. You wouldn’t expect a restaurant or hotel to function without such, so your nonprofit shouldn’t either.

The second misconception is that donor management software can replace your need for accounting software. The fact is – you should have both. Accounting software differs from other software in that it focuses solely on the financials of your business. Features within accounting software will not be found in donor management software and are a necessity when it comes to filing your nonprofit 990 tax form.

#3 Payment Processing

The capability to give digital donations continues to be a mainstay of successful fundraising strategy. Whether your donor is giving through an online form or tapping their phone at an event, your nonprofit needs to have an account with a payment processing platform. PayPal and Stripe are huge names in the industry, but be sure to explore options and determine what provider will give you the lowest fees.

Quick Tip – A few helpful questions to ask payment processing companies are: What percentage do you take? Is there an additional flat fee per transaction? And, do you cap total dollar amounts taken per month?

#4 Email Marketing Platform

Strategic communications are a critical piece to successful fundraising. When donors give to a nonprofit, they expect to hear back. Additionally, your new nonprofit should eventually expect to send donors a digital newsletter and other business communications, on a fairly regular basis. Because you will need to communicate with your donors online, it is paramount that your new nonprofit invests in an email marketing platform. Popular options include Constant Contact and Mailchimp. However, many donor management systems are bringing this feature in-house, so it’s a good thing to keep an eye out for this option.


The first year of running a new nonprofit is usually the most trying. Preparation is going to be your key to success. By signing up for and utilizing the software mentioned above, you can alleviate the stress of losing information, develop a strong fundraising strategy, and set yourself up to skillfully raise needed funds to support your mission.

At the same time, we recognize that choosing software isn’t easy. Rest assured – you have resources at your disposal. We highly recommend checking out National Council of Nonprofits. National Council of Nonprofits is itself a nonprofit organization who focuses on providing tools and resources to the nonprofit communities across the US.  You can look up your state’s Nonprofit Association on the Council’s website. You can also ask other nonprofits in your area, and get the 411 on technology platforms that new nonprofits need.