Charities are currently facing one of the most difficult times in recent memory. Increased pressure to deliver value for money has now been exacerbated with the difficulties that Covid-19 has thrown up across the UK. While the full impact is still not known, it is safe to assume that many charities will be missing out on donations as well as having less access to apply for funding and grants. There is also disruption to both staff and volunteer access as well as increased risk for supported persons.
So, what can charities do internally to boost their efficiency?
By ensuring that the following three areas are being utilised effectively in their business systems, they can look to build towards working more efficiently.
Tracking Donor Records
Any charity who has customer relationship management (CRM) software should ensure they are tracking donor records in it. This means knowing exactly who is donating, when they are donating, and what messaging is resonating with them.
It is worth tracking this type of information for two distinct reasons. First, you can continue to refine and tailor marketing messages to donors by seeing what they engage with. CRMs can track what marketing emails are opened as well as what parts people engage with. Use this information to build picture of what potential donors want to see and hear about from your charity.
Secondly, you can track donations for individuals over time. Look at this information at different levels, so is there a group trend where donations spike in a certain month of the year? Or individuals who donate regularly on a certain day? Understanding these small and large trends are vital in being more efficient in fundraising efforts and donor engagement. Combine this with the improved messaging and you will deliver the right message at the right time to boost donation potential.
Onboard New Starts
The functionality of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is massive. A well implemented system provides opportunity for efficiency improvements in many areas of the business.
However, one key area an ERP system can help with is the onboarding of new staff members. By containing all relevant material in one place, it is much easier to access and ensures that steps are followed in the right order. The benefits here are a reduction in onboarding costs as well as improving the overall experience for new starters, who can get integrated and productive in less time than previously possible. You also ensure that every new start has the same level of training and that it is delivered in the same way every time.
Not only does this save time and money immediately, but also ensures that all staff are working in the same way and delivering the same level of service, boosting the experience of those using your charities services.
The last decade has seen financial transparency become a hot issue within the charity sector. A series of scandals by a small number of bad actors has had a massive impact on all charities. Accessing funding and grants now requires an extra level of scrutiny that has forced those applying to ensure they have a much better understanding of how money is spent within their charity.
This is where a well set up ERP system can really shine. By ensuring all financial information is stored in the ERP system and not in disparate systems or offline forms and spreadsheets. It is then much easier to put together accurate reports on expenditure and how funding is being used. The time that can be saved by using only one system is massive and not relying on paper-based ways of working ensures that errors are kept to a minimum. Efficient use of financial systems is key for charities to be able to understand how they spend funding and find ways they can continue to improve.
There are so many benefits of having robust business systems in place, but it is often difficult to ensure all are being fully utilised. That is why charities should be looking at what functions they are currently using and considering if efficiency improvements are possible by optimising the use of existing systems.
Want to read more about how business systems can improve efficiency? Then check out our other article looking at how business systems can deliver a better service.