There are about 1.5 million registered non-profit organizations in the U.S. alone. And while we often refer to non-profits (and the good they achieve) collectively, the truth is that non-profit organizations compete with each other for talent, donations, sponsors, members and volunteers.
Competition is intensifying. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, over the recent decade, non-profit organizations and public charities in the U.S. have increased by 30% and 60% respectively. For grant makers and individual contributors, there are a seemingly endless amount of options to choose from when considering where to contribute donations and volunteer time.
To stay viable in an increasingly competitive landscape, more of today’s non-profit organizations are focusing on credibility and scale of operations. And today, the success of organizations in the non-profit sector hinges on their ability to manage operations efficiently. Read on to discover how enhanced expense management for non-profits can increase credibility, efficiency and scalability.
Today’s non-profits are subjected to increasing governance in the form of regulatory and compliance requirements. These organizations must meet strict demands in order to maintain their non-profit status, meaning financial activity is far more stringent than your average for-profit firm. Because financial reports are made public and are subject to scrutiny, non-profits of all sizes are forced to behave like publicly traded companies.
With a capable expense management solution, non-profit organizations can easily meet even the most stringent reporting requirements. Organizational leaders can use real-time insights to ensure expenses are kept in check and corrections can be identified (and made) before they negatively affect the organization’s public image.
The same goes for compliance. Failing to meet compliance standards can be devastating for non-profits, which is why more organizations are taking a preventative approach and are using enhanced expense management to improve internal auditing capabilities. In an era when private groups analyze the efficiency of non-profits and make their findings available to the public, NPOs can ill-afford to miss insights that can damage credibility.
Recently, many non-profits have seen a reduction in federal funding while simultaneously experiencing an increase for demand. Doing more with less isn’t just a goal; it’s a necessity.
According to the State of the Nonprofit Sector: 2014 Survey by Nonprofit Finance Fund, non-profit organizations are focused on reducing the amount of time it takes to perform administrative activities. In fact, 40% of the survey respondents have upgraded their computer software or hardware to increase organizational efficiency. As the report states, “These kinds of investments free up staff to directly service clients and make the best use of their core expertise in community-based work.”
Image credit: nonprofitfinancefund.org
More non-profit organizations are also moving to the cloud as a means of reducing administrative costs and securing sensitive data. Cloud-based expense management allows non-profits to increase efficiency by decreasing the administrative overload required to manage expenses. A move to the cloud also increases access to data, timely insights and advantageous workflow capabilities, including mobile expense management.
Achieving long-term financial sustainability is still the primary goal for many non-profits. Many organizations must focus on acquiring new resources and maximizing the return from existing resources, and most organizations simply cannot afford to continually invest in new technology and training as the organization evolves.
Scalability and ease-of-use are among the top considerations as non-profits evaluate whether technology can facilitate organizational goals. In other words, future costs must be predictable and new users must be able to use existing solutions without extensive training. On the Nonprofit Hub blog, Marc Koenig recently encouraged non-profit organizations to “upgrade a technology you use every day.” In the post, Marc explains that it’s important for non-profit organizations to perform everyday tasks correctly rather than cheaply.
Using cloud-based expense management, organizations can add new users in minutes and can give employees 24/7 access to the specific insights and workflow capabilities they need to perform their jobs better. As the organization changes, the expense management solution can be easily modified to evolve with the organization, without the need for additional software, hardware, implementation, training or investment. Plus, the organization can use the expense management solution to control costs proactively, meaning greater control over what appears on publicly accessible reports.
Uncertainty is a fact of life for non-profit organizations. But as economic conditions and funding sources will continue to fluctuate, non-profits can use technology to better control the organization’s credibility, efficiency and scalability in the years to come.
See how your non-profit organization can reduce uncertainty with enhanced expense management. Register for a free 30 day Concur Expense test drive today.