UpMetrics Blog

Read the latest expert insights, trends, and best practices around impact measurement and leveraging actionable data to drive meaningful change.

Getting a nonprofit board to approve new technology purchases can often be a challenging, but worthwhile, task. Maybe you found an exciting new tool that will save your team time/effort or will significantly improve how you operate.You’re eager to commit to the investment, but suddenly you’re met with any or all of these familiar hesitations from your board:

  • They’re not convinced about the value or ROI of the tool 
  • They’re generally hesitant to direct funds to administrative tools vs. mission-critical programs
  • There’s no (or not much) budget allocated to this type of technology
  • You’ve tried other tools like this before - and they didn’t make any meaningful impact
  • They’re feeling sticker shock from the price associated with the tool
  • Your organization is on the more traditional side and doesn’t quickly adapt to new tech
  • They assume your current systems are working fine and there’s no need to optimize

So, what do you do? From our experience working with nonprofits, you often have to be creative to get the resources you need. If you’ve found yourself having to make a case to your board to invest in new technology, consider these tips to secure their buy-in:

  • Be clear, concise, and thorough when presenting your case: To make sure that you’re not overwhelming your board with too much information, summarize your findings in a concise and digestible presentation that outlines the problem or challenge at hand, your proposed solution (this new technology), and the positive impact that implementing this kind of tool can provide.  This can include a summary of inefficiencies experienced by your staff which will be solved by this tool, or a comparison of day-to-day life for your staff before and after using this tool.
  • Quantify the Impact/ROI where possible: Being able to tangibly articulate the benefits or improvements the tool will provide goes a long way towards proving the value of the investment and getting buy-in from your board. If you can demonstrate how much time can be saved and put towards other projects, or how much more successful fundraising or grant applications might be from having this tool, you’ll be well-positioned to justify the purchase to your board. 
  • Show that you’ve done your homework: If you have a preferred tool or platform, articulate why you’d like to work with them versus other potential solutions. Include price and feature comparisons, user reviews, and any other information you can find to demonstrate that you evaluated all potential options before deciding to select this particular tool. If you’re already in contact with the technology provider, you can also ask them to provide resources that can help further show their unique value to your board. 
  • Present the tool alongside industry best practices and standards: Maybe you’ve just been to a conference or recently found an article on your community publication - and heard your fellow organizations are seeing significant value with this new tool. Tell your board that keeping up with your peers is important to you, and that you can’t be left behind if you’d like to be considered a leader in your industry. 
  • Timing Matters: Consider the best times to introduce the idea to your board about adopting a new tool. Would it be better to start the discussion when the fiscal year starts, or way before? How long does it typically take for your board to make any major decisions? Getting the timing right could make a big difference in securing buy-in.  
  • Be transparent and acknowledge the risks early and often: Prove that you’re aware of the potential risks associated with adopting this tool, including burdening staff and low/ no ROI. Your board will be comforted by your considerate approach to their concerns, especially if you’ve made time to anticipate the hardest questions they may direct at you. 

Working with any nonprofit board can be daunting, especially when it comes to seeking approval on anything new. Since they’re trained to make difficult decisions to ensure the future success of your organization, you have to create a strong, clear vision that can convince your board of the value of taking action. By being overly considerate, thorough, and transparent, you’ll be well on your way to making a case for that new tool - and forging a stronger relationship with your board for future requests. 

Unlock your organization's impact potential with an Impact Framework
UpMetrics' next generation Impact Measurement and Management platform makes measuring, optimizing, and showcasing your organization's impact easier than ever before.

As part of our IMM Suite's free Starter Plan, we're excited to offer mission-driven organizations no-cost access to our new Impact Framework Builder functionality so that you can define how you're thinking about impact tied to your mission and vision. Click here to register and get started!  

Post by UpMetrics Staff
May 19, 2024