Data is the gold standard of today's modern world. It plays a critical role in decision-making for many organizations but is especially helpful for nonprofit organizations.
Adopting a data culture can help nonprofits improve their efficacy and efficiency and better position them to make a lasting impact. Nonprofits are nothing without their mission. They work tirelessly to bring about change and help those in need, but things can get murky when they don't have the right data to make informed decisions. With a systematic, data-driven approach, they can quickly deliver key insights to board members and constituents.
Often underfunded and understaffed, nonprofits struggle financially. They're competing against other organizations for the same limited pool of resources. And when employees manually handle payroll, workforce management, human resources, and other administrative tasks, they waste time, energy, and funding. Switching to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution can help nonprofits access better data and insights, making it easier to demonstrate their worth to the public.
When nonprofits leverage a data-first approach, they reap many benefits, such as:
Data metrics help create definable goals while eliminating the superfluous. Since nonprofit budgets are always tight, a data culture provides an extra layer of protection.
#1 - Efficient Fundraising Efforts
Access to data can help nonprofits improve their funding outcomes. With the right systems in place, organizations can get access to data that helps them better understand factors that influence fundraising initiatives, like:
Often, nonprofits will integrate their ERP system with their CRM. This software helps track all communications with donors while segmenting them based on demographics and interests. This segmentation allows nonprofits to build solid relationships and personalize their fundraising initiatives. Instead of sending a one-size-fits-all fundraising campaign, nonprofits can easily create messaging that will resonate with each sub-group.
When integrated, a CRM and ERP system can provide a holistic view of an organization's operations, enabling staff to manage donor relationships more effectively while streamlining core business processes. This integration can lead to increased efficiency, better communication, and improved outcomes for the nonprofit.
Nonprofits that use data from both systems to understand their fundraising efforts yield the highest outcomes. As a result, organizations can create thoughtful campaigns and add more surplus.
#2 Competitive Advantage
Nonprofits are constantly vying for the same small pool of funding sources. The competition is steep, and proposals for grants aren't always accepted. Most struggle with their success rate and verifiable outcomes. According to The National Center on Charitable Statistics, nonprofits' failure rate is over 30% within the first 10 years. Without quantitative data, funders lack the confidence to provide support. But, with a data culture, nonprofits can weave their success rate into their mission, creating a compelling, stand-out story in an oversaturated space.
#3 Improved Communications
With an ERP system, nonprofits can fix performance issues and inefficient procedures. Inaction and financial mismanagement kill organizations, but a data culture helps build a seamless infrastructure. Nonprofits can use data to communicate more efficiently with directors, volunteers, and board members by sharing important procedures and operations such as:
Nonprofits founded in data culture avoid wasting resources on undesirable programs or initiatives. Without this excessive waste, nonprofits can focus on programs that drive more impact. Moreover, data can help nonprofits streamline manual and redundant processes saving them even more time and money.
Imagine a small 501c3 collecting donations from various sources for different causes, and the organization needs something to automate or streamline donation collection or tracking. They're likely managing multiple lists on multiple platforms and exporting and importing spreadsheets for every donation and donor.
Time is money, and this is not time well spent. Moreover, manual labor alone results in energy depletion and leaves room for errors. With a data culture, nonprofits have a consolidated view of their donors and can easily create cost and labor-saving systems.
#4 Improved reporting
An ERP system allows nonprofits to track and report on important operational metrics easily. These might include:
Form filling and fundraising plans are essential to bringing money into nonprofits, but applying for those much-needed grants requires the right dataset. With an ERP, nonprofits can leverage key insights to clearly define their roadmap and strategic plan one year ahead and five or even ten years.
#5 Greater Credibility
Nonprofits must have an upstanding reputation and always promote transparency and accountability.
With data-driven decision-making, nonprofits can easily communicate their programs' results and impact to their stakeholders. This level of transparency allows nonprofits to build trust with their donors, supporters, and the communities they serve and demonstrate the value of their work.
Data culture helps nonprofits achieve their goals and make a lasting impact. With an ERP, Nonprofits can use data to prioritize their infrastructure by:
Embracing a culture of data guides nonprofits with insightful decision-making so they can continue doing the crucial work of helping others.
Choose An ERP Solution Today To Help Build A Data Culture
An ERP platform can make all the difference in any nonprofit organization's day-to-day operations. And while many solutions are on the market, Sparkrock's innovative ERP software is designed with nonprofit organizations in mind. With Sparkrock 365 and Microsoft, you can access integrated data capabilities, AI, and machine learning to enable organization-wide data connectivity. Contact the Sparkrock 365 team today to learn more about our services and see what our software can do for your nonprofit.
Teacher shortages create more than just an empty classroom. When an educator submits their resignation letter, they create a pressurized system. Staff members who stay have to fill in the void until administrators find a replacement. But what happens when they can't fill the position? According to NPR, there's roughly a shortage of 300,000 teachers and staff across the nation, and only 128,961 public and private K-12 schools - supply needs to meet demand here. When districts can't fill positions, it wreaks havoc on the remaining staff, perpetuating an endless cycle of teacher burnout, absenteeism, and turnover.
It's obvious why burnout in education exists:
People continuously ask how they can support teachers, but it's also important to consider how to support the administration as they navigate this unfamiliar landscape. As administrators take these challenges head-on, it's important for them to stop operating in silos. If district leadership isn't collaborating to address teacher shortages, how can they expect the rest of their schools to do the same?
Every time a teacher resigns from a position, it costs schools anywhere between $20,000 to $30,000 dollars. The amount of time and energy expended just to find a replacement makes the job of filling teaching vacancies that much harder.
Separated systems hinder Human Resources from doing their jobs more effectively, riddling them with unproductive tasks. When HR lacks the functionality to generate reports, they lose the capacity to find qualified candidates.
Teaching candidates are a rare commodity. To keep school districts afloat and prepared, it's vital to have systems that work together.
School administrators keep their entire district and network of staff members operating at high levels. With the guidance of the Superintendent, each administrator oversees their area of specialty. Whether it's the:
…these folks and their systems play a key role in a school district's operations. This is why integrating each separate system enables optimal levels of management and efficiency.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) helps integrate finances, human resources, and payroll systems, to name a few. Here are some of the benefits to your school district:
HR needs help getting to the root cause of staff shortages to keep their teachers engaged. According to McKinsey & Company's quantitative analysis, employees across all industries value "interpersonal relationships and interesting careers." After the novelty of teaching wears off, what can educators do to craft a fulfilling career? HR has the ability to proactively address stagnancy with thoughtful upskilling. Using systems to track qualification and training management, teachers can find new exciting career pathing for greater retention. This helps to quell burnout and maintain engagement.
Education only offers upskilling for teachers if it involves costly schooling. However, the school administration has a large pool of highly talented individuals with special interests and strengths. In need of professional development for your high population of English language learners? Instead of hiring externally to train staff (who have no relationship with the school district), HR can track teachers with ELL students in their classrooms. Then, the Director of Curriculum can pay them to work with the district's ESL teacher and/or supervisor to craft compelling training. With intuitive tracking, HR has the potential to help their staff reignite their passions with career pathways.
HR can save time, especially when it comes to teacher recruitment. In March of 2022, there were 44% of teaching vacancies in public schools, according to National Center for Education Statistics. These vacancies equate to cut-throat competition in filling these holes. And their time could be more productive if HR didn't have to manually input data, extract it, or connect disparate systems. With an ERP, a Director of HR can add, modify, and approve job requisitions to streamline the hiring process. This saves the school district's precious time and resources in finding and, more importantly, placing the right candidate, saving them money long-term.
With high volumes of teaching vacancies across the country, an ERP system helps HR. ERPs create a centralized database of candidate information. This includes current teachers' resumes and qualifications. When it's challenging to fill vacancies, HR has the potential to use its existing staff to alleviate these voids. While not a long-term solution, this database gives HR a sense of relief, especially during times of high turnover. They have a whole pool of current staff members to turn to in these trying times.
A streamlined standard procedure enables a teacher's smooth exit every time a teacher resigns. While administrators want to fill teaching vacancies quickly, they'll need to understand why the employee left in the first place. Otherwise, teacher resignations have more significant potential to repeat themselves.
With an ERP system, HR has the power to improve teacher retention rates. The centralized data, coupled with an exit interview, helps districts with forecasting and long-term planning.
For example, with an ERP, school administrators can generate real-time data on teachers' workloads, schedules, class sizes, and student performance. These metrics help HR, Directors of Curriculum, and superintendents make informed decisions when it comes to offering authentic support and professional development. Backing an exit interview's qualitative data with tangible metrics helps district leaders defend their budgeting proposals during challenging economic times.
Every time a teacher resigns from a position, it leaves a gaping hole.
The director of Human Resources and HR specialists must fill the void as quickly and compliantly as possible.
Before they can even post the teaching vacancy, they need to know the district's codes and policies and how they align with Federal and state regulations. With an ERP, HR has the power to run reports and ensure compliance for every job posting, application, interview, and hire.
Not only that, an ERP system helps bridge communication tools from an IT perspective. HR can share critical personnel information with the Director of Technology to ensure they have access to email, grading portals, and other online resources.
With an ERP, Human Resources can automate contracts, benefits, and payroll. Additionally, ERP software can integrate and streamline document management when districts secure new employment. They can share and save important information and documents, saving many headaches in the future.
District-level management systems create a trickle-down effect in schools. Disorganized, separated systems foster miscommunication, inefficiency, and low morale. When school administrators merge their systems into one source of truth, they're better able to handle the challenges in education with data-driven insights, especially when it comes to curbing teacher turnover.
To help plan your next technology investment, read the in-depth guide to our product, Sparkrock 365 for K-12 Educational Organizations. Let us take you through the benefits of a fully-integrated, single platform for Human Resources, Scheduling, Payroll, and Financial Management and the key features we've built to help K-12s thrive.