5 Tips for Nonprofits to Spend Less on Software

Software as a service (SaaS) enables vital organizational functions — for instance Slack for internal communication or Google for emailing and collaborating on documents.

These tools empower nonprofits to do more with less by automating tasks, simplifying workflows, and providing access to valuable data in real time.

drawing of two men standing next to a computer that shows a variety of functions

However, the risk of overspending on these tools increases as your organization grows. Without a SaaS management plan, unnecessary expenses can slip through the cracks. In fact, companies can waste up to 30 percent of their SaaS expenditure due to poor management.

Fortunately, if you follow the tips below, your SaaS spend waste can be zero.

1. Check for Duplicate or Overlapping Subscriptions

New team members may not know what tools you already have. That can result in multiple subscriptions for similar tools. For example, a new graphic designer may purchase Sketch or Illustrator for a project when you are already paying for Illustrator.

You can prevent this by keeping a tracker that records your nonprofit's subscriptions, the person responsible for each tool, the cost, and the billing timeline.

Many organizations achieve this with a spreadsheet like the one pictured below, although this can be messy and tedious to keep up. SaaS management platforms offer significantly more control, an improved user experience, and operational benefits beyond the typical spreadsheet process most companies painstakingly follow. The crucial point here is just to start tracking.

spreadsheet listing details of 13 tools or licenses

2. Cancel Unused Subscriptions

People often stop using SaaS tools without canceling because of a change in strategy or simple forgetfulness. This may leave you paying for unused tools.

Make sure you check with team members to see if their tools are providing value to their role. By doing so, you can also discover opportunities to downgrade subscription plans and save more money — no need to pay for features your team is not using.

3. Correctly Manage Subscriptions When Employees Leave

It is easy to overlook the software handoff process when somebody leaves the team. This may leave you paying for a tool nobody is using or paying for a tool that a former employee is now using at another organization.

You can prevent this by handing off ownership of that person's subscriptions to another team member or canceling it altogether as part of the offboarding process.

4. Keep Track of Free Trials

Many SaaS vendors offer a free product trial but first ask for your credit card information. They happily charge you for the subscription indefinitely if you don't remember to return to their platform to cancel the trial before it ends. With the busy workload at a nonprofit, it isn't hard to forget to cancel a free trial and get charged.

Set a clear timeline for the relevant team members to try the product and make an adoption decision before the trial ends. Setting reminders for yourself helps, too. However, this relies on setting a new procedure with the team, which takes time and energy.

The simplest way to ensure that you are never charged for a "free" trial again is to use NachoNacho's virtual credit cards. You can create a secure virtual card in seconds and set it to expire before the end of the trial. This way, the vendor will not be able to charge you when the trial ends. If you decide you like the product, you can easily extend the expiration date.

5. Use a SaaS Management Software

Managing your organization's SaaS applications can be labor-intensive and tedious. Since spreadsheets are not built specifically for this purpose, they lack critical features and workflows necessary for complete, effortless control of your subscriptions.

SaaS management platforms give you complete visibility and control of all your subscriptions, including relevant information such as renewal dates and ownership in your team.

With this information, you can easily avoid paying for duplicate subscriptions and unused tools while tracking how much you spend on SaaS.

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