Is Apricot
the right fit for my
organization?

What is Apricot?

 

What is Social Solutions Apricot™ software? A nonprofit database software. Who uses it? Why should I consider it for my organization?

You might be asking these questions if Social Solutions Apricot software is on your organization’s shortlist for new nonprofit database software or social work case management software. Apricot software is a great fit for most organizations, but you want to be sure that Apricot is a good fit for your organization.

Let’s explore answers to some of your most pressing questions.

If you are an existing Apricot software user, you might be asking the same questions but through a different lens. Am I leveraging all that Apricot has to offer? How do I get the most from Apricot software? Is Apricot still a good fit? In this post, you’ll learn the various ways you can track data in Apricot software along with a list of Apricot’s best features and why they matter.


Download our free kit for guides, worksheets, and best practices on how to get the most from Apricot software.


What is Social Solutions Apricot software?

Social Solutions Apricot software is custom database software for small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations. Apricot software is an all-in-one nonprofit database platformthat can track and manage any data set, export that data with custom reporting and dashboards, and manage user access with role-based permissions and security.

Who uses Apricot software?

A broad spectrum of organizations uses Apricot software across the public and private sectors. Funders and foundations use Apricot software as well. Apricot software appeals to a diverse set of organizations because it is a flexible database that can track any data set and mold to any program or workflow.

Those are just a few ways that organizations use Apricot software, but Apricot can track nearly any type of data in nearly any type of structure. That’s why Apricot software is used by organizations providing child and family services, domestic violence services, human services, reentry services, senior services, workforce development programs, programs for those with developmental disabilities, as well as nonprofit collaboratives, faith-based organizations, United Way, YMCA, Urban League, Jewish Federation, and YWCA.

Here are some examples of the types of organizations that use Apricot.

  • Direct services including client, family, and case management
  • Attendance and activity tracking for participant, student, and volunteer management
  • Grant application and funding request management
  • Domestic violence services tracking and HMIS data management
  • Donor and constituent tracking for fundraising and grant-seeking activities
  • Project and resource management for special events, projects, and initiatives
  • Account management of community partners, contacts, vendors
  • Human resource management for staff members and contractors
  • Survey response collection and data aggregation
  • Membership management of applications, renewals, activities, and benefits

Why is Apricot great for small, midsize, and growing nonprofits?

Apricot software is a flexible and customizable database software system. There are five core features that make it a great fit for nonprofits of many sizes and across a variety of sectors.

  • 1. Form designer

    Every organization is a little different. The data you collect is unique. Apricot allows unlimited customization of data entry screens so you can capture the data most important to your organization. The Apricot form designer is where Apricot administrators design, build, and manage Apricot data entry screens.

    In Apricot, a form is a single data entry screen. Like a paper-based form, users complete forms and store those forms in electronic records and folders. Apricot is like an electronic filing cabinet. Within the filing cabinet, Apricot houses document folders and within those folders it houses documents. Apricot uses this folder and document vocabulary for system navigation, making it easy for new users to jump right into the software.

    Database administrators love the form designer because of three features.

    • Drag and drop fields – Drag and drop fields to build new forms or add fields to an existing form. Select a field type, drag it into your form, modify the settings, and publish the form.
    • Field options – Apricot comes standard with field types for nearly any data set, including dropdown, number, text, calculation, demographic, radio button, and date fields among others.
    • Unlimited record linking – Correlate data using linking fields so that you can report on complex data structures not available with standard field options. Associate clients to households, assessment outcomes to services, program enrollments to activities, and workshops to attendance records among other use cases.
  • 2. Reports and dashboards

    Apricot has a custom reporting platform designed to create ad hoc reports on the fly. Users and administrators aren’t limited to rigid standard reports in Apricot software. The Apricot report designer is both an export tool and a data analytics tool, incorporating tools like conditional formatting, calculations, grouping, filters, and comparisons.

    New Apricot users should also expect an intuitive reporting experience that makes reporting easy to learn and the data analytics power users will also appreciate Apricot’s robust reporting features

    • Filter-based reports – Use language-based filters to capture the data you want in a report. Although you can write custom SQL queries for your data, most users will find standard filters more than enough for the majority of reports.
    • Drag and drop report properties – Select just the data you want to see for a report by dragging and dropping it into your report. Like the form designer, simply grab a data element and place it in your report structure. Set the properties for the element and you’re report is ready to run.
    • Charts and visualizations – Turn on a chart or graph for any report in Apricot. Set up charts to track progress toward goals, visualize benchmark data, or get a handle on a complex presentation of your data. Pie, bar, line, and a variety of other chart types are all at your disposal.

    Every report can be converted to a dashboard. Set up dashboard views with your favorite charts and graphs and place them on the Apricot home screen for quick-and-easy access.

  • 3. User access and permissions

    Manage data quality, system health, and protected or confidential information with custom user access and permissions.

    User access starts with permissions. Grant access to specific forms and specific actions that users can take on those forms, including view, create, and edit functions. You can also restrict access to specific reports as well.

    Once users have access to certain areas of the database, you can restrict the types of records they see. For example, set up record-level access (RLA) for different sites where your programs operate. Location A can only see records they create and Location B can only see records they create, but neither location can see each other’s records. This feature comes in handy when you have confidentiality among groups of users that share similar data entry screens in Apricot.

    Permissions grant data entry access, but roles grant administrator access. Any user can have partial access to manage the database as an administrator. Users can complete both data entry tasks as well as back-end administrator tasks based on the access you set.

    After you set up permissions and roles for your users, adding new users takes less than a minute. Simply add a username and password and assign them permission sets and roles based on their access profile. The user will get a system email from your database to log in for the first time.

  • 4. Workflow management tools

    Form designer, reporting, and user access settings are three features that most would expect from any new nonprofit database software. Those are standard features that qualify Apricot as a potential option, but Apricot’s workflow management tools can put the system over the top.

    • Record search – Every record you create for any form in Apricot is searchable. Search is customizable using filters, making it easy to find the record you’re looking for. Searches are also saved every time you log into the system (unless you change the search parameters) and are unique to each user’s login. Apricot’s record search is a primary navigation element and it is fast and easy to use.
    • Form logic – Apply conditional logic to any form throughout your Apricot database. Form logic can show or hide fields, collapse data entry sections, require or lock fields, and highlight data entry requirements based on the criteria you set for a form. Form logic streamlines data entry workflows by reducing the on-screen size of a form and it improves data quality.
    • Bulletins and dashboards – Dashboards are a reporting tool primarily, but they become so much more when placed on the Apricot home screen as a bulletin. Build a custom report of records you need to access regularly and you can open them from the Apricot home screen. Add custom button shortcuts, navigation links, and filtered list views to a bulletin and your Apricot home screen becomes a command center of data that can be personalized for each user.
    • Imports – Most organizations have more than one data system. Connect other data sources with Apricot via imports. Apricot makes imports easy. Simply download a pre-defined import template from your Apricot database, copy and paste the external data into the template, and import the data. Apricot will validate the data, check for errors, and you can revert an import if you make a mistake. You can also use imports to update existing data in Apricot software. Batching data entry with imports will save your users a considerable amount of time.
    • Email triggers – Email triggers are an exciting feature. Set up email triggers to send automated email messages after creating a new record or modifying an existing record. This feature is great for notifying case managers of newly assigned cases, notifying administrators of incorrect data entry, notifying managers when actions need to be approved, and notifying referral partners when a new referral is made outside the organization.
  • 5. Secure web forms (website integration)

    Do you use web forms to collect data online?

    Do you use SurveyMonkey, Wufoo, Formstack, or some other software to quickly publish forms and collect responses?

    If you do, Apricot can take the place of those other tools (in most cases).

    Apricot secure web forms are standalone pages and embeddable scripts that integrate with your website to collect data online. Web form users don’t need an Apricot login to complete a web form and their responses go directly into your Apricot database.

    Secure web forms are easy to create and publish. Create a report to go with your secure web form and watch the responses roll in with real time reports and analytics.

    Secure web forms can save your organization time and integrate your Apricot database with referral workflows, data processing and transfers, and collection of responses from clients. What used to be done via fax, mail, or by hand can now be done quickly online.

    Have questions about Apricot software? Let’s talk and see if it is a good fit.

Further reading and other resources

If you are taking a deep dive into Apricot software and completing an intentional search for new nonprofit database software, check out these additional Apricot resources for more information.

What are my best next steps?

If Social Solutions Apricot software makes your shortlist of viable software options, you will need more information to determine if it is a good fit for your organization.

Consider these next steps.

  • Map your data requirements – What are you planning to track and report in Apricot software? Attempt to outline the data you will track in new database software. This map does not need to be perfect. It should be in your own words and it should make sense to you. You will use the outcome of this early data-mapping task to describe your data requirements to a vendor before a demo, a consultant before implementation, and it will help you evaluate options in relation to your specific organization.
  • Sign up for a demo  – A demo will be valuable if you have a vision of what you plan to track and report in Apricot software. Take your data requirements into a demo. Be prepared to ask questions and gather the information you need to complete your Apricot software evaluation. Apricot software demos usually last between 45-60 minutes and depending on the outcome of the first demo you may request an additional session for follow-up questions and topics that weren’t covered in the first demo.
  • Solicit peer reviews and references – Your initial research and the Apricot software demo will provide one perspective on the software. Validate your initial impressions or disprove them by soliciting feedback from peer organizations that use Apricot software. Peer reviews and references are the best way to gather practical, unfiltered information about Apricot software from primary sources. Existing users of Apricot software will understand how to be successful with Apricot, what pitfalls to avoid (if any), and what they wish they would have known when they were in your shoes evaluating Apricot for the first time. Whether the outcome of peer reviews and references are positive or negative, the insight gained will be invaluable.