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6 Ways Automation Can Streamline Core Nonprofit Operations

Technology PlanningProductivity

By: John Allen, Director of Global SEO at RingCentral.  Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash

It’s no secret that nonprofit organizations face lots of technological challenges. Nonprofits have low budgets. They have to be careful with their finances. They tend to rely on older computers, lots of paperwork, and time consuming data entry. Nonprofits are often looking for new ways to improve their workforce management.  The answer? Automation - in a number of areas. 

Automation might be used more regularly in large, private companies like an e-commerce business. But nonprofits need it just as much. In fact, some might argue that automation is more essential in nonprofit organizations, as it saves time and money. 

The world is going digital, and this shouldn’t pass nonprofits by. Workplace digitalization has been more important than ever during the coronavirus pandemic. With automation, long gone are the days of, “hey, has anyone seen that piece of paper with that donor’s contact information on?” 

Here are six ways automation can streamline core nonprofit operations.  

1. Payroll

Payroll is always difficult. It’s especially challenging in nonprofits where employees are scattered over several locations. Your employees might be working in shift patterns, meaning that they rely on time cards or timesheets. Payroll staff or administrators will then need to check all of these cards or sheets and produce payslips. It’s a time consuming manual task that relies on good levels of concentration. Human error will occur. 

But, if you automate your AP system, it becomes much more streamlined. Payroll software does most of the work. Your staff won’t need to manually check spreadsheets and produce payslips. They simply scan the time cards and the system does the rest.  

2. Managing Donors

Nonprofit organizations rely on donors. Building a strong relationship with donors is essential in raising money. The better your relationship with a donor, the more likely they are to make future donations.

So, it’s important to ensure that communications with donors are as efficient as possible. The last thing you want is to forget to send them a thank you slip or lose track of the amount they donated. 

Document management software will allow you to keep track of your donors in a more streamlined manner. Your document routing workflows will become triggered automatically and you can manage onboarding and user profile creation. All profiles will be online and easily accessible for anyone with permission.  

This means that you’ll have more control over your information, as:

Information is easily accessible;

  • You’ll get reminders to contact donors after a programmed period of time to thank them for their donation;
  • Messages or calls can be fine-tuned depending on who the donor is; and
  • CTI software can help with informed interactions with call data from your cloud call center software. 

3. Digital Marketing 

All organizations use digital marketing or video marketing to spread awareness. A nonprofit will undoubtedly have a website where it gains support and advertises its services. It may also have a shop where funds go to the organization (optimize your ecommerce checkout page). 

But what can automation do to make digital marketing more streamlined? 

  • Message automation allows you to send an email campaign to certain donors in your contact list. 
  • Event planning software helps to plan and promote fundraising events.
  • Corporate philanthropy search tools help donors to find gifts and determine their eligibility. 

4. Data reporting

Nonprofits always use data. Smart data helps you to make decisions about the organization, like how to fundraise or get more donors. 

When the way you access and store data is clunky and difficult to manage, the nonprofit will be, too. So don’t go for any old system. Good automation will analyze data efficiently and the organization will become more streamlined. You can also create the experience consumers expect with better item data. 

Understanding your system is the key. It will have inbuilt operations to make life easier. Nonprofit systems are designed specifically to address the unique needs of these types of organizations. 

5. Volunteer organization

Nonprofit organizations tend to rely on the work of volunteers. Like donors, you need to ensure that you’re communicating effectively with your volunteers and thanking them for their service. A volunteer will be much more likely to stay with the nonprofit if they feel appreciated. 

It’s equally important to ensure that your volunteers are well managed and organized. A volunteer won’t appreciate being given the wrong location or time for their shift. 

Automation ensures that all relevant information is in the right place. Instead of losing sheets of paper with names and times on, you include everything online. So, what automation do you need to ensure a good relationship with your volunteers?  

  • Volunteer management software helps to store contact information, history, and availability. It’s useful in noting down any essential information such as health issues or holidays. 
  • Volunteer scheduling software provides outreach tools to contact your volunteers before an event. It stores all the relevant info and schedules their availability.  

6. Recruitment 

Last but not least, recruitment is something that all companies have issues with. However, nonprofits often find recruitment particularly difficult as it’s so time consuming. You spend time posting the advert, shortlisting applicants, and going through a long interview process. Roles that require less experience, such as a data entry or work from home call center role will have higher numbers of applicants to sieve through. 

Recruitment is especially challenging at the moment. There are less jobs out there, which means more applicants per role. You may also need to do interviews virtually, adding new challenges. 

While there’s no way to avoid speaking to your shortlisted applicants, you can make recruiting easier through automation. It will streamline the process, eliminating any time consuming data entry. It also applies conditional logic into online forms, based on the applicant’s response. This means that you can get to a shortlist quicker and eliminate applicants without relevant experience. 

Go ahead and streamline

It’s understandable that you might be concerned about using automation for your nonprofit. You’ve got into a comfortable rhythm with the way you do things now. 

However, automation will make your nonprofit more streamlined. You’ll get tasks done much quicker and you’ll save time and money. Automation is the way forward.  

About the Author

John Allen, Director, Global SEO at RingCentral, a global UCaaS, VoIP service and contact center software provider. He has over 14 years of experience and an extensive background in building and optimizing digital marketing programs. He has written for websites such as Silver-peak and 3dCart.