In any ball game (soccer, basketball, volleyball) there’s a common saying; let the ball do the work. Translated to the business world, you get “work smarter, not harder.” The concept of working strategically in order to conserve time and energy for “the big plays” can be seen in any soccer match, and can also be observed in any successful company.
Thoughtful use of time and systems, if embraced in the nonprofit sector, can reduce cost and free up valuable staff time. Too frequently people keep repeating variations of the same task, in large part because “that’s the way it’s always been done,” instead of increasing productivity.
Stop running the same play over and over again
One common theme is recording an excess of information in multiple places. Organizations we know spend valuable hours duplicating entries in Quickbooks (QB) in addition to their fundraising database. Instead of batch-entering donations into one income account, they enter each check separately to denote the name, check number and sometimes donor information.
QB has made accounting and bookkeeping much simpler in the last 20 or so years, but it is not a donor database and does not have the functionality you need to track donors over the long term in an efficient and effective way. In this case, the time wasted on data entry in QB is disproportionate to the number of times you will realistically assess that data in QB rather than in your database.
Stay ahead of the game
A great example of a strategic implementation that saves time and money is the transition to digital acknowledgements for online donations. Through a customized embedded giving platform, donors can enter their info and then receive an email acknowledgement immediately after that serves as their tax-deductible receipt- no printing, no stamps, no cost to the organization, it’s all taken care of right then and there (this is something we can help set up!). Added bonus: requiring email addresses to send the acknowledgement builds up your email list.
Although we are big proponents of double-checking, repeating work does an injustice to your staff’s time and to organizational growth. As nonprofit professionals we often have a long, broad list of tasks so we need to make sure we are productive with the limited time we have. Streamlining processes instead of duplicating efforts and data keeps the ball rolling and gets you closer to your overall organizational goals.