The past year was very difficult for non-profits and associations. Yet, despite current orthodoxy targeting 2010 for an economic rebound, the road to recovery is expected to be a long, bumpy ride for most organizations.
According to Edward Wendling, marketing director at Alexandria, Virginia-based Advanced Solutions International, member- and donor-based non-profits should look to business process automation (BPA), to further streamline operations, maximize efficiencies and contain costs.
Eliminate labor-intensive, manual administration and paper- or hard copy-based systems. Easy functions, such as updating contact information, should not be time-consuming tasks. With BPA, organizations and their staff can instead better manage this data and process it more quickly, and dedicate greater attention to issues central to their donors or members. Non-profits and associations can also reduce operational overhead and the need for extra resources by moving to an automated system.
Create business rules and fundraising or membership data best practices. Organizations should first lay out their unique workflow requirements, and think about what applications or tools can best fulfill users’ needs. Calling upon BPA, non-profits and associations can easily access and piece together demographic, transactional, activity, and channel-preference and motivational data—finding the best way to strengthen their donor and member relationships. Organizations can optimize their management process and appeals at the very same time.
Integrate the customer relationship management (CRM) system and the content management system (CMS). Transactions conducted through an organization’s Web site, such as donations and event registrations, should be recorded directly into the database; if not, staff time can be wasted with rekeying these transactions or correcting mistakes created due to multiple databases. Workflow and BPA rules can be put in place to ensure an organization’s brand standards are maintained, and its data remains “clean”.
Non-profits and associations need to think about new ways of doing more with less, and BPA can allow organizations to not only tighten their belts but also improve upon their mission-critical operations. Rather than struggling over their data and technology infrastructure, donor- and member-based non-profits can get off to a smart start in 2010 and be better equipped to deal with any ramifications of the economic downturn.