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.

The 5 benefits of Having a Data Culture in Nonprofits

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:

#3 Cost-effective 

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.

It's no secret that the world is shifting to cloud-based software — and nonprofits are no exception. However, implementing a cloud-based ERP solution and using it to its full potential are two very different things. If your nonprofit organization is thinking about making the switch to a cloud-based ERP, read on below on how to maximize your benefits.

Start With the Right Platform

Logically, it all begins with selecting the right cloud-based ERP software to suit your nonprofit specifically. As you explore your options for cloud business software, you'll likely notice that many of these platforms are advertised as being "one-size-fits-all" solutions; in reality, each industry is unique and thus needs an ERP platform that can cater to the nuances of your organization.

Ideally, then, you'll choose an ERP platform that is specifically designed with nonprofits in mind. Sparkrock 365, for example, offers the only SaaS-based ERP software designed precisely for the needs of nonprofit organizations just like yours.

Set Aside Time for Training

One of the biggest mistakes nonprofits make when implementing an ERP platform is simply not setting aside enough time (or resources) for proper training on the new software. It's important to understand that growing accustomed to a cloud-based platform will take some time and adjustment for many. To really get the most out of all the features and benefits your cloud ERP has to offer, you need to make sure that your employees and volunteers are knowledgeable and confident in using the system.

With this in mind, you will need to set aside plenty of time for training on the new platform before it is implemented. From there, ongoing training sessions will continue to provide workers with the support they need to put your nonprofit's ERP solution to work for your cause.

Take Advantage of Analytics

One of the most significant benefits that cloud-based ERP software offers nonprofit organizations is the data analytics and reporting feature. Rather than handling data manually, the right ERP solution for your nonprofit can automatically gather data, generate reports and provide your team with valuable insights that can go on to inform your future decisions. Meanwhile, you'll be freeing up more of your organization's valuable time by not needing to create these reports and analyze these metrics manually.

Of course, you'll only be able to take full advantage of these features if you know how to use them correctly. Take some time to explore your ERP solution's analytics and reporting capabilities. Make sure you know how to define specific parameters, generate reports and understand them so that you can make decisions for your organization with greater confidence.

Eliminate Burdensome Paperwork

Another way a cloud-based ERP platform can help nonprofit organizations is by eliminating the need for time-consuming (and resource-wasting) paperwork. You may already be painfully aware of just how much time is wasted on a regular basis in filling out and filing paperwork related to your cause.

When implemented and used correctly, an ERP platform can help automate and even eliminate the need for some of your paperwork and other manual processes. This, in turn, frees up time and resources to work more productively towards your cause. However, to get the most out of your ERP software, you must understand its workings inside and out so that you can eliminate paperwork and other time-consuming processes.

Collaborate in Real-Time

One of the ways in which ERP solutions are often overlooked (especially in nonprofit organizations) is in the ability to collaborate in real-time with other employees and volunteers. This feature can be extremely powerful, especially in a nonprofit where you may be just one big idea away from changing the world and furthering your mission.

When selecting an ERP platform for your nonprofit, make sure you fully understand how to use the software's real-time collaboration features. From there, make this a major focus of your training before you implement an ERP platform within your organization. When workers understand how they can better collaborate with other employees who share the same vision, they can come up with some truly incredible ideas.

Sparkrock 365 is Here to Help

Getting the most out of an ERP platform for nonprofits isn't as simple as finding the right software and implementing it within your organization. To truly get your money's worth, you need to understand the features your platform has to offer and ensure that your employees are properly trained as well. However, with a bit of time and effort on your part, your nonprofit can begin reaping all the benefits that the right ERP solution has to offer. And when it comes to ERP software specifically designed with nonprofits in mind, Sparkrock 365 is a great choice; reach out today to learn more!

When you manage a Nonprofit organization, you have to be conscious of your time management and budgeting at all times. After all, time is money — and every dollar wasted has a negative impact on your mission.

Unfortunately, if you're still handling your payroll, workforce management, human resources and other administrative tasks manually, your Nonprofit is probably wasting a lot of time and funding. By making the switch to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, you can begin automating many of these tasks while enjoying numerous other benefits.

1. Improve Grant Management

If your nonprofit is like many others, you rely heavily on grants and other funding to continue your operation. Unfortunately, tedious and time-consuming administrative tasks can take valuable time away from managing these. By switching to reliable ERP software, your nonprofit can make better use of its time and free up working hours to apply for more grants while also more accurately tracking current expenditures through automated reporting.

2. Avoid Budgeting Issues

Tracking your organization's spending and keeping a close eye on your budgeting is made easier with ERP software. In fact, an ERP platform even makes it easy to set up alerts so that you are notified when a project goes over budget or when money is spent. By knowing that your organization is sticking to its budget at all times, your nonprofit can more confidently work towards its mission of helping others while utilizing less time tracking spending.

3. Enhance Fund Management

Nonprofits also tend to work with many different funding sources at any given time, complicating things from a budgeting perspective. Keeping track of budgeting and spending through different funding sources can be confusing and time-consuming — and with so many moving parts, there is always a chance of miscalculation or other errors.

With an ERP solution, your Nonprofit can enjoy automated tracking of all your funding and spending — even when it's from multiple sources. You can also take advantage of things like automated reporting and easy management and filtering of different funds to suit your needs.

4. Streamline Reporting

Accurate reporting is a must when you run a Nonprofit organization. Whether you're pitching to a possible donor or are presenting to current contributors, being able to showcase data in an easy-to-interpret manner helps your case. With ERP software, you can enjoy seamless and automated reporting, which saves you time and allows you to present to your donors (and potential donors) with greater confidence.

Different Types of ERP Software Available

Not sure where to begin when it comes to ERP solutions for your Nonprofit organization? There are a couple of main types to choose from: SaaS and cloud-based.

SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms are essentially out-of-the-box solutions that run on the vendor's servers and operate using an internet connection. Many nonprofits enjoy this type of ERP solution due to the low operational expenses, easy scalability and automated upgrades/updates.

With a cloud-based ERP platform, all software is handled through a remote server. This allows users to access the software from just about any device with an internet connection. A cloud-based ERP solution can be a sensible choice for Nonprofits that need quick and easy transfer of data, as well as easy maintenance and predictable long-term costs.

Ultimately, the best ERP solution for your organization will depend on your budget and specific needs. Some solutions are more customizable than others, whereas others may offer steadier long-term costs.

Make the Switch to an ERP Solution Today

An ERP platform can make all the difference in any nonprofit organization’s day-to-day operations. And while there are many solutions to choose from, Sparkrock's innovative ERP software is specifically designed with nonprofit organizations in mind. Reach out to the Sparkrock team today to learn more about our services and see what our software can do for your nonprofit!

Everybody at your nonprofit organization works hard to make the world a better place. And regardless of your mission, all nonprofit organizations have to track things like employees, finances and other crucial data points. The logging, tracking and analysis can be time-consuming and take valuable resources away from your core mission. The good news? Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can free up time and resources within your organization so you can focus more on achieving your goals and less on mundane administrative tasks.

What is Enterprise Resource Planning?

So, what is an ERP system, anyway? Specifically, ERP refers to software and systems that have been specifically designed to manage many of the tedious administrative tasks of an organization. This can include things like finances, budgeting, human resources, payroll, workforce management and more. Ultimately, an ERP solution helps connect different departments and segments of a larger organization to communicate better and improve performance. Meanwhile, these solutions can help to free up valuable time and resources.

The History of Enterprise Resource Planning

While the term was not coined until the 1990s by the Gartner Group, the concept of enterprise resource planning has actually been around since the early 1900s. By 2000, the first cloud-based ERP software solutions were introduced to the market. These platforms were the first to use the internet rather than relying on organizations to have their own on-site servers.

Today, ERP solutions come in the form of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) to suit the changing needs of businesses and organizations across the globe.

Benefits of Enterprise Resource Planning for Nonprofits

There are countless benefits of ERP software, especially as it relates to Nonprofit organizations. Specifically, the right ERP software offers one unified solution for purchasing, reporting, human resources, budgeting and more.

One of the most valuable features of an ERP platform for nonprofit organizations is the seamless and automated reporting. Consider, for example, that many nonprofit organizations are expected to provide detailed reporting to their funders; these reports can be extremely time-consuming to produce and play a major role in future funding for the organization.

An ERP system can automate much of a nonprofit's reporting so that employees can free up their time and resources to handle other work. Meanwhile, you can rest assured that the reports generated by ERP software will be detailed, accurate and ready to present to board members or other funders with confidence. Reporting can also help nonprofits make better-informed decisions about their operations.

Likewise, ERP software can save nonprofit organizations time and money — and while profits are never the focus of these organizations, the reality is that freeing up money to allocate elsewhere can help nonprofits better reach their goals and achieve their missions. An ERP platform can save organizations time and money by cutting back on time-consuming and repetitive data entry. At the same time, automation reduces the chances of human errors and other data entry mistakes that can be costly.

Finally, because ERP software can handle payroll and accounting, nonprofits can help keep employee morale up by ensuring that they are paid the correct amount and in a timely manner. Common payroll and accounting mistakes can be avoided, and employees can always rest assured that they will receive the correct amounts on their checks.

Industries and Applications for Enterprise Resource Planning

No matter what industry your nonprofit operates in, ERP solutions can provide several benefits. Some of the more common industries where ERP solutions are often adopted include:

Meanwhile, the right ERP platform can help to tackle any of the following applications:

Get Started With Enterprise Resource Planning Today

If your nonprofit organization is still disjointed and handling its human resources, payroll and other administrative tasks manually, it's time to explore ERP solutions. Specifically, a platform like Sparkrock 365 streamlines your operations while freeing up time and money. From there, your organization can focus more on what matters most: working towards its mission and making the world a better place. Contact us today to find out more or to get started!

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With Sparkrock 365, you'll have the tools to manage your finances and workforce more efficiently so you can focus on what you do best. Go from paper-based processes to intelligent online workflows, and access the data you need to make a real difference in your community.
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