It often amazes me with regards to everything a nonprofit does. It seems as if every department within any association or non-profit, big or small, is responsible for tons of tasks. If you are a Membership Director, for example, you manage direct reports, monitor their progress, handle members, manage their retention, and a plethora of other daily tasks. And that’s just one department! In this article, I tackle how software can be used to help improve the manner in which you provide services and reach your mission.
Workflow Automation may bring your database back!
To help make your jobs easier, associations and nonprofits should consider investing in databases which provide measurable business process automation. Workflow Automation (aka Business Process Management or BPM) can automate virtually any manual process, driving error and inefficiency out of your nonprofit.
Imagine an all-in-one “Swiss Army Knife” solution that offers, alerting, workflow, and EDI; and enables you to seamlessly integrate your accounting system with e-commerce, marketing automation, website, and CRM, Membership System, or Donor Management System.
Overall, there are many benefits to consider and the opportunities to bring a database to life are plentiful today. However, generally speaking, here are a few broad areas to consider in terms of benefits:
Automating your Processes
First, workflow automation allows you to free up your staff. This doesn’t mean that you won’t need them anymore – automating human tasks just means that employees will actually be able to do their job much more efficiently. For example, instead of having to spend hours or even full days keying in membership data, a few simple steps will be all that they have to do in order to complete the membership enrollment process. Instead of mindlessly generating Emails all day, the membership department can focus on other efforts that benefit your company, like implementing membership recruitment strategies that can lead your company into the future.
Second, and tied very closely to the first benefit of automating every day company duties, is the fact that once you begin the development of a self-service infrastructure to automate the delivery of information, you’ll see an increase in both productivity and profit. Not only are your employees free to get more done thanks to automating daily duties, they’ll also be more motivated to work. When people feel like they’re really accomplishing goals, they have more moral. And since they’ll get more done in the same amount of time, you’ll get more for your money. Plus, automating the generation and distribution of documents will flow to all the company’s stakeholders and provide greater precision. This will also empower stakeholders to request and receive information without employee intervention.
Precision and Efficiency
This leads us to the third major benefit of automation –That precision makes a huge difference. If you take the steps to automatically launch processes that otherwise would consume hours of your staff time and attention, you’ll notice big differences in acceleration of tasks getting accomplished. And along with precision comes simplicity. Not to mention the rate of error drops tremendously when automating, and you’ll be able to help your company avoid any issues that may arise in the future, in some cases without even realizing it.
Workflow Automation Software Tools
While it might seem like an expensive proposition, the truth is that it’s not in comparison to what it may do for you. Even if your main database software doesn’t inherently have spectacular workflow automation features, you could benefit from a 3rd party tool too. Software programs like Task Centre — a software program that will allow workflow automation within many CRM software to occur to help elevate workloads in all departments is worthy of consideration.
Have you heard of the term, “Zap it”. Probably not. Well, this comes from a tool called Zapier. Zapier is a workflow automation software tool which connects the web apps you may use to easily move your data and automate tedious tasks. With Zapier, you can integrate task like following up on credit card fails, automating email follow ups, or updating new contacts or fields into your database. In addition to Zapier, many like tools such as ItDuzzit.com or Cazoomi which all may add tremendous value itegrating and automaing disparate databases.
When you evaluate software, place a keen eye on how the system responds and reacts to data changes. How does it improve your workflow out of the box? You should expect workflow automation in any system worthy of investing in today. If done well, it is one investment that can help lead your nonprofit into the future, and one aspect of software that you shouldn’t ignore.
For the best suggestions for workflow processes and software options you may consider, we may be able to help. Until next time, keep SmartThoughts in mind.