Many nonprofit organizations do not have a marketing department to help them decide on the right technology for their organization. So, it’s important to prepare questions to ask before meeting with a potential tech vendor.

Purchasing a new technology platform can be time-consuming and mentally exhausting (especially if you don’t speak or understand tech talk). The best approach (no matter the size of your nonprofit organization) is to ask a few of the following questions:

 

Questions to ask internally before meeting with a tech vendor

1. What do we need from the platform?

Work with your internal team to decide what you all need for the new platform. The more stakeholders are involved, the better you understand what your organization needs. Therefore, it will be easier to vet tech vendors. 

 

2. What are our current tech pain points?

Understand the pain points of the existing platform (what’s not working, what’s lacking about the current platform), and discuss that amongst your stakeholders.

 

 

Questions to ask tech vendors

1. How can the platform solve our tech pain points?

Now that you know what you don’t like and do like about the existing platform, use those discussions to create questions for the tech vendor. For example, this platform is hard to use, and many of our stakeholders do not use the platform because it’s not user-friendly. When considering a platform, ask the vendor if they offer a free demo so that you and your team can take it for a test drive before committing to a contract. 

 

2. How many licenses are offered?

Make sure there is no restriction on the number of licenses you can have on the account. Depending on the vendor, they may offer limited seats. If you need more, you’ll need to consider the overall tech budget and how much each additional user license costs.

 

3. How does your organization stay up to date on the latest tech?

Always vet a vendor that is consistently growing and developing their technology. It may be expensive upfront, but you want to go with a vendor that can grow and evolve with your organization.

 

4. Is there added tech support?

If you’re a small organization and don’t have the bandwidth to support ongoing maintenance of the new platform, ask the vendor if they offer tech support for existing clients, or if there is a premium you could sign up for so that you’ll always have tech support when you need it.

 

5. What else can the platform do?

And lastly, depending on the type of tech you need, consider a platform that has multiple uses. For example, if you are looking for a new customer record management system (CRM), consider a robust CRM that offers automation emails, social media integrations, workflow management, forms, website buildout, etc. You can save a lot of time and money this way. 

 

Obviously, these are not all the questions you should ask a tech vendor, but it’s enough to get you and your team started. Even if you don’t know exactly what to ask a tech vendor, you will know if you’re working with a good vendor if they are asking you smart questions that you may struggle with or didn’t even think of. This means that they have experience and know what they are doing–and can be a great solution for your organization. 

Words are cheap. I can’t stress this enough; vendors are salespeople. They will tell you what you want to hear, but the only way to know if their technology will work for your organization is to take it on a test drive. If you feel your nonprofit could benefit from help with implementing and discovering new tech services, contact a member of our MarTech team today to learn more. 

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