In their efforts to deliver on their mission, not-for-profit organizations struggle to gain meaningful insights from enterprise and donor data. This is a necessity for interpreting trends, exploiting opportunities and responding to challenges — including changing donor demographics; an evolution in fundraising models (e.g., peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, microdonating); the increasing influence of social media and mobile computing; advancements in cloud computing and other technology; shrinking budgets; the need to achieve operational efficiency; and greater demands for transparency in reporting to constituents, donors and the board. Technology enablement in not-for-profit organizations is imperative to stay competitive and thrive.
The overarching imperative to technology improvement is to cut through informational silos, connect information sources and systems, and utilize appropriate data to gain meaningful insights that will guide reporting, measure progress, manage day-to-day operations and make evidence-based strategic decisions. Solving these challenges requires the collaboration of management and the IT department in deploying an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Not-for-profits need to move more rapidly to leverage the benefits of a well-connected ERP system.
However, with maintenance of existing disparate legacy systems, security concerns, and financial and regulatory reporting always on the front burner, IT can find itself low on capacity and skill to take on ERP. In addition, these competing priorities can leave little room in the budget for an ERP initiative. Enhanced capabilities are particularly vital now to improve constituent outcomes through delivery of more complete information that can drive better-informed decision-making and constituent reporting, and to identify, target, communicate and engage with the right donor population
With increasing numbers of uses and users, there is a need to move to a more datacentric, user-focused, social, collaborative and mobile-friendly processing environment. Organizational leaders are both challenged by and inspired to leverage the technology at their disposal to meet expectations to measure — and, as necessary, improve — program/service delivery; fundraising effectiveness; budgeting and forecasting cash flow; financial, constituent and board-level reporting; and operational efficiency. Fortunately, ERP’s emerging functionality can help meet such expectations.
Leaders are taking advantage of the benefits of agile software development methodologies; advances in data integration, analysis and reporting techniques — and cloud computing.
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Manager, Advisory Services, Not-for-Profit and Higher Education Practices
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