With all the impact you’re looking to create in the world you need to save time and money by investing in the right tools to leave you enough time to focus on what is important: tackling the problem identified. As someone running a social enterprise, you are likely to have some tools to help you become more efficient, effective and sustainable but there are many others you can explore.
Using appropriate tools can help social enterprises better measure and report on their social and environmental impact, save costs and invest resources in areas that have high returns, which can be crucial for attracting customers, funding and investments.
Here are some must-have tools that can serve as a starting point and help save time and money in any social enterprise:
1. Impact measurement and management software
Every social enterprise has the element of ‘social’ and seeks to tackle a problem or improve the community. If you’re looking to succeed in your social enterprise you need an impact measurement and management software to track and measure your social and environmental impact. Impact measurement software helps your team to assess the effectiveness of your existing programs.
You can collect, manage, and report data on your sustainability performance and outcomes, as well as identify areas for improvement. Remember, for your kind of business it’s not just about profit but impact as well. The Bewsys Alleviate Beneficiary Management technology is a great tool you can use to manage the impact of your program where you can easily measure, track and report on impact based on data collected, beneficiary management and delivery of benefits.
The BCorp Assessment tool is another impact measurement and management software that easily measures and manages the social and environmental performance of your enterprise. You can complete your B Impact Assessment by first assessing your impact when you answer questions about specific categories of your business; governance, customers, environment, workers and community. Next, compare your performance from the assessment with other businesses and use the platform to improve your practices over time. You want to make sure you’re practising what you preach by measuring your impact from an outside perspective and improving on your business practices.
2. Project Management & Time Tracking software
You may feel tempted to think you can do without one of these but it is a must-have tool for any social enterprise. Instead of picking up the phone each time you want to assign a task to a team member, invest in collaboration and project management tools such as Asana or Trello to keep track of tasks and deadlines. This way your team is able to save time and work efficiently. The good news is these tools are free and you can sign up with your email within minutes.
Managing projects and time tracking does not have to be a burden. You can assign tasks, monitor the progress of your team and each program with your collaborative or project management.
Invest in collaboration and project management tools to keep track of tasks and deadlines. Time tracking software like Harvest or Toggl can help to monitor and manage time spent on different projects. It generates instantaneous reports, ensures you enjoy hassle-free billing and payment processes, and connections to the technologies your team already uses.
Skip the timesheets and get your team a time tracker that gets the job done for you. Now, you have a simple method for managing projects and monitoring project time.
3. Social media management tools
Today, social media is one of the most powerful tools. It’s time to show the world what your business is all about and the impact you are creating. Join conversations related to the work you do on social media and connect with potential investors.
Social media will help you increase visibility and engagement. Use social media management tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer to manage and schedule social media posts and automate posts. These tools help you to seamlessly integrate all your social media channels together and customize content for each platform. You can reply to direct messages, and analyse how your posts are performing to help influence the kind of content your marketing team creates to target your audience. Using a social media management tool helps you save time as you can schedule content monthly or even quarterly leaving you time to focus on other aspects of your business.
4. Accounting software
If you are working in any social enterprise you need to keep track of your finances and account for the money you are spending. Accounting and financial management software such as Quickbooks or Xero will help you manage finances and track expenses. These tools process invoice and payments, tax deductions and generate reports. A good accounting and financial management software also helps you to easily pay bills, bank reconciliations and manage a payroll system. Although these software are usually paid for, you are entitled to a 30-day trial period. You can encourage your finance team to try this tool out to make their work relatively easier.
Using a financial management software will give you a sense of how your business is performing financially in relation to the goals and objectives you’ve set for yourself.
5. Customer relationship management software
Not only does your job involve building relationships but sustaining and managing interactions with customers and stakeholders. You can use Customer relationship management (CRM) software such as Salesforce or Hubspot to manage customer interactions and data and improve relationships.
It typically includes features such as contact management, sales pipeline tracking, analytics, and automation capabilities to improve customer engagement and retention. Both platforms have a free version of their CRM tools with basic functions. However, if you would like to have many members of your team use the software, you should consider the paid version which comes with extra features and benefits.
With all the data you have to manage on customers, beneficiaries and investors, your best bet is a good CRM to simplify your management process.
6. Communication tools
Running a social enterprise means that your team members have to be in constant communication. Most likely members of different departments are placed on different projects. Communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams will help to facilitate collaboration and communication among team members.
You can easily meet, call, collaborate, and chat anywhere you are directly with an individual or a team.
These tools allow people to communicate in real time, share information, and work together more efficiently, regardless of geographical location. Get rid of the lack of communication and synergy between teams by signing up on one of these today and get your team talking and collaborating.
7. Online survey tools
Collecting data from customers and other stakeholders does not have to be a cumbersome process. Online survey tools allow users to create, distribute and analyze surveys. Online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or Google Forms help you get feedback from customers or stakeholders.
Not only is using this tool cost-effective but the process is more convenient than traditional paper surveys. These tools often provide data analysis features, making it easier to analyze and interpret survey results.
Even if you’re not familiar with surveys and receiving feedback from customers, these tools provide templates that can serve as a guide. This is a great way to know how your customers feel about your product or service and how you can improve on it.
Overall, online survey tools offer many benefits and are an efficient and effective way to collect valuable information from a wide audience.
8. Human resources software
There are several human resources software options available for social enterprises, including BambooHR and Zenefits. These software solutions save you time and effort and can help with managing employee data, tracking time off and benefits, and streamlining HR processes. You’re able to quickly find and hire the best talent to help you achieve your goals. Additionally, you can run payroll, manage benefits enrollment and track hours using a single software. Say goodbye to manual approval and reporting processes so you can focus on growing your employees and improving their experience. It’s important to research and compare different options to find the best fit for your specific human resource needs.
9. Email marketing tools
You shouldn't let your modern communication channels detract you from email marketing, which is one of the most traditional yet powerful strategies for communication. You want to stay in touch with your existing customers, stakeholders and even with potential customers as much as possible.
Create automated emails that are sent out in response to customer behaviour to increase traffic and purchases. Send them customised emails based on their purchasing patterns, survey replies, chat interactions, and support tickets to encourage growth.
Remember to keep your emails relevant. The goal is to connect with stakeholders and not to be a nuisance. With these tools, you are able to make, send, and track emails, promote events, and even access email templates.
Mailchimp and Constant Contact are great email marketing tools that can help create and send email campaigns to customers and supporters.
10. Crowdfunding platforms
Social enterprises just like any other business requires funding to keep creating impact. You can find investors or people passionate about the problem you are trying to solve and willing to support you financially on crowdfunding platforms. These platforms can be used for a variety of purposes, including funding creative projects, supporting charitable causes, and launching new products or businesses. You can raise funds from a large community of investors, typically through small contributions.
Indiegogo and Kickstarter are considered good crowdfunding platforms, especially for social enterprises. These tools also allow you to integrate with other platforms, including Meta and Twitter, to promote your campaign. This way, you’re able to reach more people, raise more funds and create more impact.
Many of these tools will help you streamline operations, increase efficiency, and ultimately save time and money for your social enterprise. You may be feeling overwhelmed especially if you don’t already have these. While you can always refer back to this post at any time, you can start by incorporating one tool at a time. Download the free Ultimate Guide to Digitalise Your Social Enterprise Operations to help you run your social enterprise efficiently.