Wait, what is ERP?
ERP is enterprise resource planning. It’s a management software that allows small, medium or large enterprises to manage and automate back office functions.
What does that have to do with me?
Well, increasing operational efficiency and better managing all your information is essential.
But few nonprofits have the resources to invest in efficiency and organization. That’s challenging.
Nonprofits also have a lot of data to manage. That’s difficult without a streamlined system to help sort and classify that info.
This is where an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution can come in handy. ERP software provides a unified database for all your organization’s information. That could be compliance, employee performance, product or service orders, or anything else your nonprofit manages.
But, limited resources may have you wondering if an ERP solution is worth it for your company. Short answer: Yes, it is.
An ERP solution offers a variety of benefits to boost efficiency and help you provide the best services possible with less hassle.
Some of those benefits include:
Improved compliance and security
Tracking the various state and federal rules your organization needs to comply with is a tall order. It’s easy for things to slip through the cracks when compliance concerns are being handled manually. And regulations can change quickly.
With an ERP solution, you can automate compliance. Most ERP systems integrate your back-office operations with the appropriate regulatory rules. So you’re never caught off guard.
ERP vendors also regularly update when different laws and regulations change. That takes the guesswork out of the equation. Using an ERP solution means your compliance officers can focus on bigger picture issues without getting sidetracked by minor changes to regs.
Along with compliance, ERP solutions can also improve your organization’s security. Many ERPs have built-in firewalls and strict data access to keep your information safe.
More transparent grants management
Managing your grants is a critical activity of a nonprofit. Anything that makes that process easier and more efficient is welcome.
You know transparency is essential for showing donors and stakeholders where the money is going. An ERP system can provide it. Donors can see exactly what they’re donating to and the impact it has. That information may encourage more donations.
An ERP solution allows your organization to track and report what money goes where with one integrated system. That improves transparency and helps budget management. You’ll be able to see how much money you’re spending and compare it to the planned budget.
Do multiple staff members review your financial information manually to create reports? An ERP can do that so staff can focus on other tasks instead.
With workers spending less time on unnecessary tasks, they’ll also be happier in their roles. That means a more positive environment in your office.
Another plus? Mistakes due to human error will decrease, since a software solution controls all the details of reporting.
Remote work is becoming more popular. More staffers use their cellphones for work activities. So your organization needs to become more flexible.
ERP systems make it easier for workers to get the information they need while they’re on the go. If your ERP is properly integrated, anyone from any department can use it to work remotely.
Most ERP solutions have one centralized database, making it easy for authenticated users to access it from any device or location. Many also have mobile apps, allowing for quick and easy access via workers’ smartphones.
This is especially helpful when deadlines come into play. There’s no way to predict if an emergency could take someone away from the office when a deadline is looming. But with a sophisticated ERP system, they can access what they need to do their jobs.
Streamlined fundraising contacts
Fundraising contacts are a nonprofit’s lifeblood, but organizing and keeping track of them is complicated. You likely already have a database for storing this info. But with an ERP system, you can combine that database with your other systems for a one-stop shop.
Depending on the ERP, you can add donors as contacts, making it simple to reach out and thank them for their contributions. It can also help you improve your current thank-you program.
Having all this information in one place can also help with online fundraising. It can help you automate most of the minor tasks that online fundraising requires.
You can also integrate the donation and its source into your overall budget so you have a deeper understanding of your finances.
One last option: You can use the ERP to note how you spent the donation or grant, streamlining the reporting process and increasing transparency for stakeholders.
Enhanced events management
Managing time and resources when planning events isn’t easy, but an ERP system can help. The system can track each element of the event and what resources will be used where.
You can also estimate how much the event will cost and use that information to budget appropriately.
Even more importantly, the ERP can show how much money the event generated. This provides valuable guidance for how to handle future events.
An ERP solution can offer a variety of benefits to nonprofit organizations. Look for one with the features that work best for your nonprofit and will help streamline your processes.
An ERP may seem like a significant investment. But the data and increased information you gain goes a long way toward helping your nonprofit grow, and you’ll see results fast.
Guest Author: Kelsy Ketchum
Kelsy Ketchum is an editor for Better Buys, helping companies find and select the right software solution. She also writes about medical coding, human resources and safety compliance.