How do you convince your board of directors to loosen the purse strings for technology purchases?

YOU know you need to retire your off-the-shelf accounting software and upgrade to a true fund accounting system™, for example, but how do you explain this to board members? What tactics and messaging can you employ to convince them of the need and justify the expense?

We posed this scenario to Abila Business Partners who are on the frontlines helping nonprofits, associations, and government entities package and present proposals to their boards, then implement and support Abila software.

Jim Barnthouse, Marketing Director at Zobrio, an Abila Business Partner that provides consultative services to MIP Fund Accounting™ customers, advises leading with the return on investment (ROI) …

Another message that Barnthouse says is resonating with board members is the contention that staff members need the ability to work in the modern world.

“On nonprofit boards, in particular, we’re seeing a lot of young people coming in and understanding the power of things like GoFundMe and Kickstarter. A number of nonprofits are starting to use these crowdfunding approaches, and they’re seeing huge successes,” explains Barnthouse. “If a nonprofit’s system doesn’t work well in these environments, it’s losing out.”

Susan Campbell, Co-Founder and Vice President of Abila Business Partner Soft Trac, also uses ROI as a key influencer with board members:

“Investing in modern true fund accounting™ software can help you streamline processes, automate tasks, and eliminate repetitive ones, which translates into reduced manual reconciliations better ensuring the integrity of your financial data,” says Campbell. “This will allow for growth within your organization without needing to add additional staff, and provide management with real-time access to financial data.

“Additionally, when you outgrow your current solution, you’re unable to meet complex reporting and auditing requirements without manually creating reports in Excel,” she explains. “Implementing a true fund accounting™ system will allow you to create real-time FASB and GASB financial statements directly out of the system without the need for a third-party reporting tool, saving you time and eliminating the risk of costly errors that could occur during manual processes.”

Finally, Campbell makes an excellent point about purchasing SaaS (software as a service).

“For many nonprofits, finding the funds for an initial technology purchase is difficult; however, building in a monthly, ongoing investment into the budget can be easier justified and managed,” says Campbell. “A Web-based subscription option ensures you to have access at anytime, anywhere to the most current technology without the need to continually invest in new hardware.”

How have you justified technology expenses to your board? Tell us in the comment field, below.