Top 5 Tools for Nonprofit Project Managers

Known more for altruistic goals instead of financial gain, nonprofit leaders look for ways to use every single cent they receive for their good works. Many times these are charitable organizations or outfits that want to address a need in the community. There are federal regulations that a group must follow to achieve nonprofit status and the tax implications that go along with it.

Nonprofit organizations can be very large, such as the Make A Wish Foundation, or very small, like a community theater troupe. Regardless, every organization needs to be able to create a business plan, organize tasks, and set project schedules.

Well-known organizations have plenty of financial help, gathering donations from all around the country or receiving large amounts of grant money from public and private institutions. So acquiring high-end project management tools – and hiring the people to operate them – isn’t a big concern.

For smaller nonprofits, however, every penny counts. However, that doesn’t mean these organizations can’t find inexpensive, reliable, and easy to use project management software to assign tasks, track tasks, and facilitate team collaboration. In some cases, these tools can be found for free!

Here is a list of five steps that every project strategy should consider. In many cases, a smaller organization won’t have an individual IT department, marketing team, or community outreach staff. What they will have is a group of dedicated volunteers that may not have any applicable skills at all. With these steps, you’ll be able to devise, communicate, and direct your nonprofit’s goal:

  • Planning
  • Collaborating
  • Training
  • Finding Resources
  • Get Going

Top 5 Tools for Nonprofit Project ManagersPlanning

Available to Office 365 subscribers, Microsoft Planner is just that – an application that allows nonprofit organizations to build a roadmap for their projects. Teams can create plans, assign tasks, share files, and communicate with one another. Planner can be fully connected to other Microsoft products to increase efficiency as well.

Individual users can see their tasks and how they fit into the overall project. Managers can can get a broad view of the project status, or drill down to specific tasks. If there is a change to the plan, interested parties will receive notifications. With Planner, your nonprofit has a handle on its project management.

Collaborating

Designed to act as the hub of communication for an organization, Microsoft Teams allows you to send messages, chat, and hold both audio and video meetings. File sharing is also available when integrated with other Microsoft Suite products, such as Excel or Word.

Teams is currently offered as part of the Office 365 subscription, but an app can be downloaded for free for both Apple and Android devices.

Training

You have the software, and some training manuals, but do the words database, flowchart, and cloud processing sound like a foreign language? It might be time to give Advisicon a call. We have more than 25 years of experience translating project management lingo into something anyone can understand.

Beyond that, we make sure your software and hardware are configured correctly to maximize efficiency. You’ll have the tool you need, and you’ll know how to use them. If you have a question down the road, or growth demands a more extensive operation, we’ll know your system inside and out and show you what you’ll need.

Finding Resources

The process is in place, there are open lines of communications, and everyone is on the same page. Now what? Even with a strong desire to help the community and an outline of how to do it, there’s still a lot to learn. That’s where the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation comes into play. After creating an account, you’ll have access to free resources in several languages.

With resources on grant writing, reaching out to the community, and more, PMIEF is a great starting point for nonprofit project management resources. In addition to working with nonprofits, they work with non-governmental organizations, primary and secondary students, educators, and list several white papers and case studies of their work.

Get Going

As a nonprofit project manager, you already have the drive to put your vision in motion. With the above strategies in place, your organization will have the tools to see that vision through. The processes you’ve put in place will allow you to plan fundraisers, schedule events, and get feet on the ground to reach your goals.

A need in a community often drives smaller nonprofit organizations. This could be feeding the homeless, spearheading recycling programs, or addressing any number of worthy causes. It can be a lot of work, but with the right project management strategy, a nonprofit can create one cohesive unit involving volunteers, management, and board members.

Looking for something more extensive than off-the-shelf solutions? Advisicon has been improving organization business processes for more than 25 years, including creating solutions for nonprofits. We can help guide your nonprofit, no matter if you are a national organization or just starting up.

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Advisicon is a Project, Program & Portfolio Management Company. We transform your organization's project management with a mix of methodology and technology that delivers results. Our team specializes in technology implementations, application and workflow development, training and consulting.
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