Hi there – exciting to hear that you’re venturing down the path of purchasing an core tool for your charity! This is always a big milestone to get organized technically, but one that can be more complicated than people realize.
I haven’t personally worked with an “conservation activity management system” but I have worked in various fields where we’ve needed to document certain activities – ie: client or donor information, attendee information from events, revenue sources/streams from events, documents related to events or programs, etc. and there is a whole rathole to fall into when you’re buying any software in this category. There are usually many tools for the job, and some companies who are smart enough to market themselves specifically to charities or certain industries 🙂 when an industry agnostic tool would also work just fine (and sometimes be less expensive.)
The rationale I always advise people to start with when purchasing ANY new technology tool is to consider:
– Big picture: what FUNCTIONS do you need your activity management system to perform for you? (Think of a machine: sort and filter information, house it, make sense of it through dashboards and logic, etc)
– Who will be using the system? (How many people, what are their roles, will it be an internal tool for your employees, an external tool your donors/clients with also use, or both?)
– How advanced of a technology skillset do the people on your team have? (Have they used Microsoft office products before? Have they used a tool like Salesforce or a content management system?)
Start there – then consider what tools exist in the market and how much each roughly costs for the number of licenses you’d want, and THEN build a budget is my advice. Reason being: all the above factors will determine the cost. If you start with a budget and give it to a vendor but don’t have a clear idea of what you need, as with anything you’re more likely to be “up sold”. Similarly, if you have too low of a budget but you do need the extras, you’re not helping yourself by compromising on quality for price.
More than happy to give any other follow-up advice if this is helpful, just email me: Shell.email@example.com