Nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in addressing societal challenges, as well as improving the lives of vulnerable individuals and families. To effectively manage your operations and deliver impactful programs, your organization likely relies on dedicated participant (often referred to as case) management processes and software. The right software solution can streamline processes, enhance data management, optimize participant services, and ultimately produce positive outcomes in the communities you serve. But not all case management software was designed with the goal of providing person-centered services or tracking client outcomes across multiple programs.
The History and Evolution of Nonprofit Case Management Software
Nonprofit case management software was first developed in the late 1990s in response to a mandate by government funders that required nonprofit organizations to collect client data as a condition of receiving government funding. With time, private and community foundations also began to require data collection from their grantees. At first, the entire focus of case management software was maintaining compliance with funding sources. Funders wanted to know how many people had received services relative to how much money they had invested. Many nonprofits built home-grown databases in Microsoft Access or other legacy, on-premise software to maintain funder compliance. However, they continued to use paper intake forms and progress reports for their clients.
In 2011, the Stanford Social Innovation Review published an article about the idea of Collective Impact. Over the following years, innovative nonprofit leaders realized that the most effective way to help individuals, families, and communities was to manage to outcomes and to work together. Nonprofit providers wanted to deliver the right assortment of services to help each individual progress on specific goals. And funders wanted to know how individuals and communities were better off as a result of their investments.
Whole communities came together to create social collaboratives that help individuals thrive. The time was right for collective impact, but the available software did not provide nonprofit leaders the insights needed to understand the outcomes and impact of their programs on an individual and aggregate level while also enabling funders to understand the impact of their investment. A whole new version of nonprofit case management software was needed to meet the needs of the modern nonprofit ecosystem.
What Nonprofits Need Out of Their Case Management Software Today
Today’s nonprofits need a case management software system designed not only to track, manage, and report on the variety of services needed to help individuals and families move from crisis to thriving, but also give you insights into how they are better off as a result. Modern nonprofit case management software also tracks an individual’s services across multiple programs, breaking down data silos and giving staff visibility into all interactions with a client.
Access to accurate and comprehensive data enables frontline staff to gain deeper insights into their client's unique needs and barriers. By collecting relevant information about clients' backgrounds, socioeconomic status, health conditions, and family dynamics, caseworkers can tailor interventions to address specific issues effectively. This targeted approach increases the chances of success and ensures that limited resources can be used to create the maximum impact.
Measuring Outcomes and Impact
In addition to delivering person-centered services, today’s nonprofit leaders need case management software designed to help you measure the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of your programs and organization as a whole. What was once only possible for those who had big budgets for data scientists and third-party evaluators is now an integrated piece of case management software, giving you insights into your organization’s impact. This quick access to actionable data will enable you to change more lives than ever before.
Selecting the right nonprofit case management software vendor requires careful consideration and a systematic evaluation process. Choosing the right software solution is an investment in your organization's ability to deliver meaningful services, streamline processes, and drive positive social impact.
SureImpact offers person-centered case management, outcomes and impact management, dashboards, and analytics, enabling staff to track and measure activities and outcomes for their clients, while providing leadership with powerful insights into program and organization performance and social impact. For more information, check out our SureImpact Case Management interactive tour.