Integrated IT solutions are helping not-for-profit organisations keep a lid on rising operation costs, according to software firm Greentree.
These kinds of solutions can help organisations that need to keep track of complex finances when organising large teams, Greentree says.
For many, the challenges can be more daunting than those faced by businesses many times their size.
"For not-for-profit organisations, the level of services they provide often depends on how far they can make their limited funds stretch," explains Peter Dickinson, CEO of Greentree. “They need the best operational and financial systems to help tackle the complexity of the challenges they face.”
Greentree, which works with a range of not-for-profit organisations around the world, says there are several common 'brick walls' many organisations face as they go about their charitable activities.
Maximising time management
While focus is always on keeping costs low, another important resource to watch is time, Dickinson explains. “Because staff and volunteers are constantly busy, they often have little time to consider faster and more efficient options for getting things done.”
Lack of a central 'point of truth'
Without accurate and up-to-date data on all activities, Dickinson says it can be very difficult to know exactly what is going on within an organisation.
“An integrated IT system can combine data from finance, marketing, HR and other departments into a cohesive whole, ensuring managers have a single point of truth at all times,” he says.
Too much data
“Many not-for-profits work under the assumption that data collection is a good activity,” says Dickinson. “However too much data can be as useless as too little. Many organisations spend considerable time in data collection but then have no way of putting it to good use.”
The burden of legal obligations
While their main focus is on the cause they support, not-for-profits must also report to donors, governments and other authorities. “Proper record keeping and reporting may be a burden, but it's vital,” Dickinson says.
A lack of operational intelligence
Dickinson says having systems within the organisation that are not linked and can't share data has a big impact on the ability of staff to make intelligent decisions. He says such operational intelligence can only come from having integrated IT systems.
"Greentree has considerable experience working with not-for-profit organisations of all sizes," Dickinson says. "In working with them to understand the challenges they face, we have been able to provide them with an integrated solution that helps them overcome these brick walls."