Does your staff’s time seem slavishly devoted to chasing the latest grantor’s request for fund-related data? It’s a shame that nonprofit professionals often spend more time managing spreadsheets to allocate funds and project future performance than actually focusing on improving the programs or budget efficiency or increasing awareness of a nonprofit’s mission. It can be an exhausting cycle that traps an organization from moving ahead. And it can be a frustrating disadvantage in the current funding climate, where there is both growing competition to win limited funds and ever-increasing demand for financial evidence of accountability.
Many nonprofits are unaware of the availability of grant management technology that can automate the processes to manage existing grants and provide an edge for winning new ones. Smart organizations that take the time to examine the long-term benefits of technology will see that the right investment can ultimately assist their overall mission and financial position.
Grant technology can mean fast, integrated answers when you need them: Imagine being able to easily check the budget and ensure that funds are fully utilized, and forecast expenditures for remaining periods. What if you could view all activity related to a given grant, including outstanding invoices, and then drill down to the details associated with every transaction?
Instant access to this type of information can improve your relationships with your grant makers and ease the stress of your hardworking team. Missed deadlines, unreturned calls and inaccurate reporting discourage renewed funding, and can open the door for other organizations with similar missions to vie for the grantors’ attentions and funds.
Using grant management technology can help track deadlines, and ensure timely and accurate information. Grant management technology makes it easier to show how you used each dollar, and to project your performance in the next grant year – vital facts for renewing grants.
With a little breathing room from frantic grant-data gathering, your hard working staff can look to the future and can work to secure new funding. Accurate forecasting and measurement help you back up your proposal with the hard data that shows grant makers exactly what you can accomplish with the funds. And when you can precisely track past budgets and results, your organization knows exactly how much it will need in the future, allowing your team to “outbid” grant competitors that aren’t able to demonstrate effectiveness on such a detailed level. In addition, grant management technology can make sure every donation eligible for a match is always found and accounted for so you never miss a match opportunity.
The most important aspect of tapping into technology is intelligently planning for your organization’s future. Having the tools to perform hypothetical budgeting scenarios and planning how to backfill funding if a grant is not renewed, provides your organization with the security of fully understanding your financial status and plan for changes.
Over the last two decades, nonprofits have seen how fundraising technology has streamlined donor communication and improved fundraising results. Now it’s time to apply the same efficiencies and improvements to grants and other financial planning. The investment in the right technology can defray staff costs, diminish headaches and streamline processes to help your team get more done each day. Tapping into this next level of technology helps ensure that nonprofits maximize limited resources, cultivate important relationships and obtain more money to secure the long-term health of their organizations.
If your organization is managing more than three grants, is struggling with timely and accurate reporting or could use some improvement measuring and tracking its success, it’s a good time to start exploring grant management technology solutions.
If you are ready to start the search for grant management technology, start by looking for local accounting consultants who specialize in fund accounting or serving nonprofit organizations (such as Blackman & Sloop, CPAs, P.A.) and/or review www.IdealWare.org, a site dedicated to helping nonprofits make smart software decisions. It will help guide you through the things you will need to consider as well as help you identify systems and technology that may fit your organization’s needs.
Before making a decision, you may also want to check with the Grant Professionals Association (GPA), formerly American Association of Grant Professionals (AAGP), (http://grantprofessionals.org) which provides endorsements of products – including software – that an expert committee studies before making an endorsement decision. Those endorsement decisions are based on objective, reasonable criteria and all potential vendors are considered.
About Blackman & Sloop CPAs, P.A.:
Blackman & Sloop is a full-service CPA firm headquartered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and is actively involved in auditing, taxation, management consulting, financial planning, and related services. The firm directs a large part of its services toward providing management with advice on budgeting, forecasts, projections, financing decisions, financial analysis, and tax developments. The firm also performs review and compilation services and prepares not-for-profit, corporate, individual, estate, retirement plan, and trust tax returns as well as technology consulting services regarding installation and training on QuickBooks. Blackman & Sloop provides services in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, RTP, Hillsborough, Pittsboro, Charlotte, and the rest of North Carolina. To find out more please visit http://www.blackmansloop.com
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