Digital transformation and automation for nonprofits

AUTOMATION FOR NONPROFIT ORGANISATIONS

Successful nonprofits have always focused on good stewardship. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, however, operational efficiency and transparent reporting are more valuable than ever. Yet, many nonprofit leaders say their organisation’s current technology infrastructure hampers their ability to streamline processes, use data to inform decision-making and show evidence of impact. According to a recent Sage Intacct Survey of 300 nonprofit leaders that covered topics such as revenue, software and future fundraising plans, top frustrations include:

  1. A lack of process automation and organisation efficiency
  2. Insufficient real-time visibility into key metrics and performance
  3. Inefficiencies and delays because of siloed systems
  4. Time-consuming manual reporting
  5. Inability to measure outcomes
  6. Reduced mobility and work-from-home capacity because of on-premises technology

Tackling this list can feel daunting, especially as nonprofits struggle with revenue uncertainty, increased demand for services and programs, and other challenges directly related to the pandemic. In an environment of competing priorities and increasing need for financial performance, innovative software solutions make it possible to overcome these challenges and create a stronger return on mission.

IMPROVE EFFICIENCY AND STEWARDSHIP WITH DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION FOR NONPROFITS

Advancements in cloud-based financial management and accounting software make addressing these challenges easier. The right solution empowers your organisation to:

CAPITALISE ON PROCESS AUTOMATION AND ORGANISATION EFFICIENCY

After the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma upgraded its tech infrastructure, they shaved 65% off accounts payable processing time. “That’s like half a head count. But half a head count, when you’re small, is pretty big,” noted David Parrack, the organisation’s director of finance. “We figure that we can provide about four meals for every dollar that’s donated to us. So, if you free up half a person’s time, even a more clerical person, you free up $25,000 — that’s 100,000 meals.” Results like that explain why leaders responding to the Sage Intacct survey ranked automation for nonprofits among the top benefits of next-generation software solutions. Paperless is a high priority, too.

EXAMPLE: Automation streamlines workflow for repetitive tasks such as purchase requisitions or bills that have to be reviewed and signed. Automated distribution and processing reduces human error, keeps documents moving and enables easy identification of bottlenecks. Your staff have more time to work on tasks that require human intellect and attention, increasing each employee’s value and impact.

DELIVER REAL-TIME VISIBILITY AND STREAMLINED REPORTING

When Donna Dickt was recruited as NATCO’s executive director, the organisation was losing money. “Since implementing Sage Intacct, we’ve been solvent every year because our board can now see where we’re doing well and what we need to fix,” Dickt said. “Their whole attitude about the future of the organization changed once they had valuable financial information they could actually make decisions with.” Not surprisingly, when it comes to financial management and accounting software, nonprofit leaders participating in the survey said the ability to automate financial reporting was the most valuable functionality

EXAMPLE: Easy-to-build customised dashboards enable you to see into every department, templated reports with auto-delivery improve speed and accuracy, and integrated systems make source materials immediately available for added context.

BENEFIT FROM INTEGRATED SYSTEM

Survey respondents cited integration as the second most-important functionality they sought from software. The move affects operations and culture, explained Joan Benson, director of nonprofit industry marketing at Sage Intacct. A unified system bridges the gap between development and finance so there are fewer data and operational silos because everyone is seeing everything in real time. Team members get excited because they can actually see where they are having impact; they are able to make proactive decisions to ensure they achieve their commitments. That really starts to change the culture

MEASURE OUTCOMES AND IMPACT

Outcome metrics quantify your organisation’s return on mission using a mix of indicators, data collection, analyses and reporting across multiple dimensions. Tracking and sharing the metrics that define success shows good stewardship and builds confidence in existing and prospective donors, grantors and other supporters. As competition for donations continues, illustrating program/service impact and fiscal accountability is vital. Efficient measurement of outcome metrics is the fourth-most important software feature for survey-takers.

SUPPORT MOBILITY AND WFH

Cloud-based solutions got high marks from survey participants. When we all had to suddenly work from home, nonprofits that were using best-in-class cloud technology had fewer interruptions in maintaining day-to-day work. “What is really nice about Sage Intacct is that we can access it from any computer, at any time, from anywhere without the need to log into our network,” explained Sally Cook, controller for the California Southern Baptist Convention. “This aspect made it very easy to work from home when the shelter in place mandates were issued.”

EXAMPLE: Cloud technology is multitenant and mobile-enabled, so your entire team is working in the same version regardless of where they’re working. Auto-updates ensure everyone benefits from the same functionality. Moving to modern, integrated software solutions allows you and your staff to be more responsive to funding opportunities and constituent/client needs.

EXPERIENCE STRONGER RETURN ON MISSION (ROM)

Uncertainty may become our new normal. Investing now in financial management and accounting software provides your nonprofit with more predictability, efficiency and financial management so you can make better decisions faster and deliver results.“In nonprofits, it’s all about stewardship — creating a streamlined financial organisation so that every dollar you can squeeze out from inefficient processes goes to achieving your mission,” Benson said. “Release your finance team to become the strategic contributors they were meant to be and have more direct influence on the organisation’s outcomes. Everybody wants to see the results and impact of their work. That’s what this technology allows.”

SHARI FREEDMAN, CFO, Room to Read
ABOUT SAGE INTACCT
Sage Intacct is one of the best-in-class cloud financial applications. Specialising in helping nonprofits of all types, Sage Intacct’s modern solution and open APIs streamlines grant, fund, project, and donor accounting – while delivering real-time visibility into the metrics that matter. At Sage Intacct, we help nonprofits strengthen stewardship, build influence, grow funding, and achieve mission success delivered by X3 Consulting.
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