There was a time in Japan, not all that long ago, when accountability for one’s actions often meant a rather messy and excruciating end via ritual self-disembowelment. Seppuku, or Hara-Kiri, as it is more commonly known in the West, was the ultimate way to take responsibility for one’s actions and restoring honour to one’s self and family.
Fortunately, such gruesome measures are no longer a reality in Japan, or anywhere else. However, the notion of accountability has never been more firmly entrenched in the public consciousness. You only need look at global shockwaves caused by accusations of grossly inappropriate conduct by people such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken and an exponentially growing number of others, for testimony that nobody in any sphere is free to act with impunity.
Accountability in NFP Sector
Anyone that has spent time in the Not for Profit sector will be able to attest that the requirement for accountability is even more acute than most other fields. When members of the public are trusting you to direct their hard-earned cash to the designated cause, the level of scrutiny is understandably intense. With this microscope fixed firmly on your operations, the need for fiscal transparency and traceability in every aspect of your organisation is extreme.
Having said that, as an NFP, your primary objective is fundraising and donor management, right? You don’t want to be spending precious time and resources crunching numbers and producing endless reports when you could be devoting that energy and those funds to helping the people or cause that your organisation serves. Therein lies the perennial frustration. Donors, regulatory bodies, trustees and others are understandably pretty keen to see that as much as possible out of every dollar ends up in the hands of those who need it. These same entities are the ones demanding reams of reports, facts and figures that are sucking your resources.
Meanwhile, competition for the charitable dollar has never been fiercer. More NFPs are clambering over each other to gain a slice of a diminishing pie, as households’ budgets are continuously squeezed. This is particularly the case in NFPs working in disability service. The introduction of the NDIS has turned the funding model on its head and organisations are now competing for that funding in much the same way as for-profit companies compete for customers.
All this adds up to quite the conundrum. Juggling priorities is part and parcel of the NFP experience, so anything that can help keep those balls flying smoothly through the air will be a great asset. Business Intelligence systems might at first blush seem oxymoronic to the NFP world. However, today they are just as much of a necessity as for private corporations – if not more so. Many organisations might feel that the cost of implementing BI software is prohibitive and an unacceptable use of donor resources. Think again. The question is not whether you can justify the outlay, but whether you can justify continuing to operate without it. Consider the following:
● BI systems, when installed and configured professionally can provide you with instantaneous, real-time, accurate information in report format about all financial and operational aspects of your organisation. Your staff will be free to spend their time on what really matters, while you’ll save the cost of all the time that would otherwise have been devoted to collating the data and generating reports.
● With all that information at your fingertips, regulatory compliance and oversight become infinitely less complicated. The ability to pull up accurate, up-to-the-minute information and present it in a clear and understandable fashion with minimum fuss is precisely what you need to maintain full transparency at all times.
● NFPs are not excused from the need to continuously refine and improve their processes. In fact, the pressure to improve donation to administrative cost ratios is mounting considerably as the donating public, fueled by media coverage, turn up the heat on organisations that they perceive as channelling too small a percentage of their received funds to the target beneficiaries. BI systems take the mountain of incoming raw data and convert it into information that can be used to identify improvements that can ultimately lead to enhanced efficiency and productivity.
● A well-managed NFP is a more attractive proposition for prospective donors. People have far more confidence giving to organisations that they know are run efficiently, professionally and direct the highest proportion of funds raised to their target. A quality BI system will help you achieve those goals.
A Profitable Endeavour
Endeavour Solutions has been helping Not For Profits streamline their operations and gain efficiencies that make a palpable impact on their KPIs. With all these benefits, your NFP can expect to see a return on investment from its BI system in short time, and enjoy the benefits for years to come.
To find out how we can support you in your important work, get in touch today for an obligation free consultation.