How Nonprofits Can Simplify Common Business Processes to Focus on What Really Matters


Perhaps more than any other industry, nonprofits need to focus on their “people work” and less on paperwork. It takes a lot of time and energy to uphold the nonprofit’s mission, and challenges can arise when the majority of that time and energy is sunk in administrative duties — especially repetitive, manual, and paper-based tasks. Nonprofit business processes keep the organization humming along, to be sure, but they often overshadow the uplifting and even critical work that helps address many of our local, national, and global problems. 

McKinsey estimates that at least one-third of workday activities could be automated for about 60% of all occupations. For nonprofit staff, spending less time on the drudgery of administrative work could help them avoid burnout, a problem that affects a full 50% of nonprofit workers and contributes to employee turnover. With time earned back, workers can focus on the higher-value tasks that truly align with the organization’s mission — a mission that likely attracted them to work for the organization in the first place. 

Simplifying common nonprofit business processes can go a long way toward easing the administrative burdens that plague the industry. Using human capital management (HCM) technology that includes workflow automation functionality is a great place to start.

HCM technology for nonprofit process improvement

With every passing year, nonprofit organizations contend with shrinking and increasingly uncertain budgets as donations ebb and flow and grants become more competitive. That makes it harder to conduct the functional, unique, and often complex work within the organization as effectively — including grant and fund tracking, paid employee and volunteer staffing, auditing, payroll, and tax compliance. 

The daily tasks that are necessary to function require a high level of attention and accuracy, but can easily overwhelm resource-strapped teams, leading to an increase in errors that puts compliance with employment laws and grant requirements alike at risk. Without the right workflow management systems in place, nonprofits struggle to manage daily work and could be less equipped to deliver on their valuable promises.  

An HCM solution improves the business and people-based operations of nonprofits by simplifying and streamlining the processes that are essential to their survival and success. HCM technology helps nonprofits:

  • Track grants more easily. With effective grant tracking, nonprofits can make more efficient use of their limited budgets and resources. By tracking paid and volunteer labor hours against projects and grants, nonprofits can ensure accurate and compliant reporting and reimbursement.

  • Integrate resourcing and scheduling. Connecting staffing and scheduling data — especially in an HCM that offers position management capabilities — helps nonprofits understand turnover rates, monitor headcount, identify open positions, manage staffing budgets, and boost volunteer staffing when necessary to meet current and future operational demands.

  • Train and engage employees. Improved employee training and learning can help nonprofits retain staff — and avoid the high cost of recruiting new employees. Through effective performance reviews, one-on-one coaching, skills development, and regular interactions between managers and workers, nonprofit employees are engaged and supported appropriately. 

HCM + Workflow Automation = Next-Level Workflow Management

Investing in an HCM provider that pairs its platform with workflow automation enhances nonprofit workflow management and operations even more. Automating everyday workflows and processes through rules-based technology further reduces the number of time employees have to spend on them and ensures more accurate data input and output along the way to eliminate errors and gaps in information. Automated workflow technology can also notify the right person at the right time in each process to avoid breakdowns and delays. 

Nonprofit employees who would ordinarily be stuck committing several hours of their day to manual administrative processes can refocus their time on high-value people- and mission-driven initiatives. 

HCM and workflow automation technology for the nonprofit sector alleviates the ongoing struggle between people work and paperwork. When business processes run efficiently and unimpeded, the whole organization can commit more time, resources, and attention to the work that matters. Employees feel a greater sense of purpose in their daily work and are supported in growing and developing within the organization. Satisfied, engaged employees are less likely to burn out and leave their jobs. And nonprofits can avoid the exorbitant costs associated with recruiting and hiring new employees, helping them stretch their budgets further in key mission-related areas.

Is your nonprofit ready to improve its business processes with HCM technology?

We are here to support your nonprofit’s operations with efficient, accurate, and cost-effective workforce and workflow management solutions. To learn more about SyncHR, click here.


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