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Guide to Digital Transformation for Human Services Organizations
Human services operations meet human needs. The field is broad — human service professionals work with both public and private institutions and nonprofits. Nonprofits need to be well-oiled machines to help as many people as possible.
However, leaders in the nonprofit sector know all too well the barriers these organizations face. One of the top issues is funding — most of a nonprofit’s budget goes to mission-related activities, but they still need to keep the lights on and keep up with technological advancements.
Keeping Up With Technology
In this ever-evolving field, many organizations might still be stuck in the digital past. Technology is not new to human services, yet keeping up with the growth and expansion of tech in every aspect is often challenging. Technology affects various elements of nonprofit operations, including:
- Data collection and analytics: Organizing and understanding data is vital for a nonprofit’s success, and technology has made it easier than ever to see trends and shifts within data. For instance, a nonprofit can see how donations have fluctuated after different campaigns, showing which efforts have yielded the best results.
- Advocacy efforts: Technology can also serve as a platform for advocacy efforts, making causes more visible to the public as they use the internet in their daily lives. For example, nonprofits might use technology to buy targeted ads and find audiences who are most likely to donate.
- Fundraising: Technology tools can also help simplify fundraisers by automatically tracking progress toward a goal and keeping specific fundraisers’ donations together.
- Mobile payments and donations: Thanks to software advancements, it’s easier than it’s ever been for donors to give to a cause. Supporters, whether first-time or repeat donors, can give funds with the press of a button rather than having to write out and mail checks or cash. Embracing technology could help a nonprofit earn more donations by simplifying the process.
- Social media: Social media is a handy tool for every nonprofit or organization who want to get the word out about their mission. For nonprofits looking to raise awareness and earn donations, social media offers an effective, far-reaching outlet. It also provides a built-in platform for donors to congregate and talk about your mission.
- Administration: Technology is also helpful on the administrative side of nonprofit functions. It helps executives and board members make quick evaluations about events, campaigns, and cash flow.
While digital transformation might seem to be a herculean feat for many nonprofits, it’s becoming more critical. Utilizing technological innovations allows nonprofits to stay functional in a changing world. Cloud-based platforms are helpful in facilitating seamless collaboration. These platforms enable team members to access the same data from anywhere worldwide.
Human Services Digital Transformations
A digital transformation revolutionizes the way an organization operates. Following the digital transformation trends in the business sector, nonprofits are beginning to implement human services technology into their methods. However, many human service organizations lack sufficient funding, infrastructure and staff to support a complete technological shift.
In this guide, you’ll learn what it takes to bring your nonprofit into the digital future. Human services nonprofits might face digital challenges that for-profit businesses do not, but they can still have great success. The most important lesson you’ll gain from this guide is how to implement technology in a way that furthers your organization’s mission.
Partner With MIP® for Your Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is easier than ever when you partner with MIP Fund Accounting®. We offer simple, straightforward accounting software that helps streamline fund accounting processes. We’ve tailored our solutions to the unique needs of nonprofit human service organizations. If you’re contemplating or planning a digital transformation for your human services organization, partner with MIP Fund Accounting® for industry-leading nonprofit solutions.
Chapter 1: Challenges in the Human Services Profession
All businesses and nonprofits face challenges, and human service nonprofits are no exception. Businesses must maintain relationships, meet customer needs, preserve their reputations, retain their employees, find effective brand identities and compete in a saturated marketplace. While the human service nonprofit sector has different goals than traditional businesses, many of their challenges are the same.
In addition, nonprofits have to focus on fundraising, gaining and keeping donors, recruiting volunteers, maintaining good internal communication, engaging the community and keeping up with technology. To accomplish their goals, nonprofits often rely on donations, funding and grants rather than the revenue generated from selling products. Budget constraints can be a significant hindrance, preventing the technological advances that would ensure nonprofit finances.
Why Are Human Services Needed?
The human service sector serves vital roles in society — the purpose of human services is to meet human needs. It can involve addressing problems related to:
- Addiction: The human service field is responsible for providing advocacy and care to those who struggle with substance addiction and their loved ones. Substance use disorders are mental health conditions and require rehabilitation and long-term care.
- Trauma: Those in the human service sector also serve people who have experienced trauma, whether on an individual, personal level or due to a wide-scale event. Trauma can result from abuse, neglect, natural disaster, political unrest, economic turmoil and many other factors. Groups that provide life-saving necessities and community-building aid frequently do so through independent nonprofit work.
- Disasters: Natural and human-created disasters affect entire communities or nations. They can render large parts of the world helpless, with destroyed homes, hospitals, schools and places of work. In many cases, relief efforts are necessary to rebuild an area after a disaster.
- Mental health: Mental health is a fundamental aspect of human services. Counselors, interventionists, rehabilitation centers and other mental health efforts are often nonprofit in nature.
- Disability: Issues related to disability are also part of the human services sector. Disability advocates may address concerns related to accessibility or access or essential care or equipment.
These are only a few examples of the roles within the human services sector. The industry includes anything that fulfills human needs. Human service nonprofits vary widely in scale, serving a single neighborhood or involving worldwide action. According to The National Center for Charitable Statistics, nonprofits contributed $1.047.2 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2016. They represent an integral part of the world’s economy.
Nonprofit revenues are trending upwards, despite recent recessions. Of the nonprofits registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), approximately 35% experienced positive financial growth between 2006 and 2016. Research shows an increase in revenue for nonprofits, which have become essential for aiding and uplifting communities. They need and deserve the best tools at their disposal.
What Are Problems in the Human Service Field?
Human service nonprofits face specific issues beyond those every organization deals with. Special obstacles in this sector include the following:
- Small staffs and staff transitions: Many, though not all, nonprofits operate with small teams, which can lead to overworked individuals. It also complicates staff transitions, as adequate training time can be tough to fit in.
- Donor cultivation, acquisition, retention and communications: All nonprofits must rely on their donors — finding, getting and keeping donors is a never-ending concern for organizations that depend on donations. Another issue is maintaining clear communication with donors, such as providing transparent information about where dollars will go.
- Economy and national mood: The economy and general public attitude influence advocacy and fundraising efforts. People are less likely to give donations while the economy is in recession — they’re more concerned with putting food on their own tables. In the same vein, national attitudes towards different causes impact whether or not people are likely to give. For instance, negative attitudes towards certain mental health issues could limit donations for mental health advocacy.
- Organizational issues with boards, executives and management: It’s also essential for a nonprofit to have a clear sense of leadership with its committees, executives and management. If the leadership is constantly shifting around, issues might arise.
- Fundraising and budgeting: The flow of funds is one of the biggest challenges for human service nonprofits. They have to make sure they’re bringing in enough funds to meet their goals and that they’re designating funds for the right purposes. Being able to track each dollar provides the transparency donors appreciate.
- Lack of technology due to budget constraints: With their limited flow of funds, nonprofits often find it challenging to keep up with technological advancements. They may even put upgrading technology on the back-burner, despite all the ways it could help their organizations thrive.
Issues Related to Technology
One of the main issues nonprofits deal with is that their budget constraints limit their investments in new technology. Only 11% of nonprofits report the way their team handles digital works “very well” — 49% say “somewhat well,” and 41% have structures that don’t work well and create problems.
Technology affects all aspects of nonprofit organizations, including fundraising, staff management and donor acquisition. Having leadership without expertise or interest in digitizing the organization can affect all facets of operation and slow the digital transformation process. Due to the lack of advanced technology and effective digital platforms, nonprofits experience issues with:
- Accessing client payments and records.
- Tracking eligibility for services.
- Manual manipulation of spreadsheets.
- Leaving money on the table.
- Juggling multiple reporting requests.
Problems in Human Services for Small Organizations
Human service nonprofits come in all shapes and sizes. Small organizations have their own advantages — staff can get to know each other on a personal level, and management can oversee almost every aspect of the organization.
However, small operations also have their challenges. They often do not have enough people to implement the programs and initiatives they want — that’s where technology comes in. A complex system that can track and record every dollar allows smaller nonprofits to set realistic campaign goals. Nonprofits need technology that will grow along with them. Scalable tech solutions are a major asset.
Problems in Human Services for Larger Organizations
Larger nonprofits also have their advantages. They can help many people by attracting more donors and generating greater funds than their smaller counterparts. However, they might have issues with communication and oversight — things might slip through the cracks, mistakes not caught until it’s too late.
Digitizing can also be helpful for larger organizations. They manage vast amounts of money and track numerous donor contributions, all of which they must organize well to avoid potential mistakes. Large organizations also need advanced security and fraud protection — they are subject to more attacks from those trying to gain donor financial information. In addition, the vast amounts of money they handle make them more susceptible to fraud. Large donors want records of where their money goes and how it impacts the organization.
Confronting Fraud in Human Service Nonprofits
Fraud is a major concern for all nonprofits, regardless of size. The 2020 ACFE Global Fraud Study reports that nonprofits are more susceptible to fraud when they lack the necessary resources to prevent it, have less oversight and lack internal controls.
Most cases of fraud within nonprofits come from higher levels. Owners or executives were responsible for 39% of cases, managers or supervisors accounted for 35%, and other employees or volunteers accounted for 23%. While employees and managers cause some instances of fraud, executive fraud has a much more harmful impact on the organization. Decreasing the risk of fraud should be a top priority for nonprofits.
Address Challenges With Technological Solutions
Human service nonprofits serve vital roles in their communities, but they also juggle unique challenges. Some of the challenges they must deal with include budget constraints, lack of technology, communication and fraud risk.
When it comes to addressing nonprofit concerns, cloud-based fund accounting technology can be a huge help. The complex problems facing human service organizations require creative fund accounting solutions such as those from MIP®. Learn more about how MIP® solutions can help human service nonprofits handle challenges.
Chapter 2: The Importance of Digital Transformation
Digital transformation of organizations is the answer to many nonprofit concerns. While it’s a significant investment, going digital allows nonprofits to benefit from greater donor confidence, enhanced security, better forecasting trends and budgets, improved oversight and simpler payroll and reporting processes.
The transformation to digital processes is all about the people in your organization who will be working with these digital processes. Technology can only work with the dedicated time and effort of your team members.
What Are the Four Main Areas of Digital Transformation in Organizations?
Digital transformation involves four main areas, each of which is a fundamental component. The four main areas of a digital transformation are:
- Technology: Many organizations have “technological debt,” meaning they’re entrenched in a certain technology that’s outdated. The outdated technology is so integral to the organization’s functioning that altering it in any way seems impossible. Information technology (IT) departments often lack the ability to drive significant changes since they’re so busy keeping the existing technology running.
- Process: A digital transformation is about more than technological upgrades. It also necessitates rethinking organizational structures and operations from end to end. A digital upgrade is an overhaul of the way a nonprofit does things.
- Data: For a digital transformation to take place, nonprofits must sift through, organize and deal with the enormous amounts of data they accumulate, which can take a great deal of time and commitment. Data management can be even more challenging for larger organizations.
- Organizational change capabilities: Digital transformations require enthusiastic commitment from the high-ranking members of the nonprofit. Leadership needs to encourage teamwork among those on both the digital and human sides of operations. Organizational changes can be difficult enough to implement without support from leadership.
What Is the Goal of Digital Transformation?
A digital transformation can help a nonprofit achieve many different objectives. Digital transformation might optimize client experiences, increase operational flexibility and breed innovation. The main goals of digital transformation are to:
- Streamline processes: Digital platforms can help a nonprofit streamline its operations. Digitization can make it easier to track each dollar that comes in and see which projects have been most successful, as well as easier for donors to give. With streamlined operations, nonprofits can achieve more.
- Tap into big data: “Big data” refers to large collections of information. A nonprofit can use big data to understand donor behavior better. For instance, a nonprofit can look at data trends to see which fundraising efforts tend to yield the best results, allowing them to explore successful avenues further.
- Be more efficient: Overall, digital technology approves efficiency. It takes much longer to write out, organize, store and access documents by hand, leaving a greater margin of error. Improved efficiency can help nonprofits reach their goals sooner.
- Be more people-oriented: Digital transformations help you spend less time dealing with clerical work and more time engaging with people and working towards achieving your goals.
How to Implement the Digital Transformation of Your Organization
Implementing a digital transformation is a significant endeavor — it may seem overwhelming at first. To get started, think of your end goals and then create steps to achieve those goals. For example, if you want to track revenue better so next quarter’s budget is more accurate, you’ll find it helpful to implement donation tracking data and analytics. You may also want to look into automating processes to save money.
Identify areas of improvement, such as payroll or donor-giving records. Look for ways you can streamline every aspect of your organization, including your people, process and technology:
- People: Incorporate talent management to ensure all employees or volunteers have the necessary training and support. Embrace new ways of operating through adopting changed management practices.
- Process: Address efficiencies and inefficiencies in operations and administration. Consider what you could automate and what you could connect to increase your organization’s efficiency.
- Technology: Continue to invest in and introduce new technologies, modify operations models, prioritize digital formats and provide opportunities for continual change.
Digital Transformation Impact on Organizations
A digital transformation will affect every facet of your nonprofit, providing numerous advantages. For one thing, it can enhance transparency and accountability, which are essential for nonprofit success and generating donor confidence. It also offers several other key benefits. A digital transformation will provide your organization with:
- Dashboards and reports to customize financial management and reporting.
- An allocation system for every dollar.
- Simple compensation tools for employees.
- Reduced risk of fraud with cash tracking.
- Unlimited budget scenarios.
- An easy way to balance and identify different funding sources.
- Easier and quicker audits.
General Impacts of a Digital Transformation
With the key benefits it will provide, a digital transformation will impact your nonprofit in the following ways:
- Scale: A digital transformation simplifies scalability. Digital solutions grow with you as you grow, especially those with cloud-based technology. Non-digital operations complicate scalability by taking up physical space and resources. As your nonprofit expands, you want solutions that cause the least growing pains.
- Security: It will also result in a higher level of security. With remote processing comes better data encryption and security, as well as increased protection against cybersecurity threats. Gone are the days when classified donor information sits on someone’s desk — moving sensitive information online helps secure it.
- Flexibility: In addition, a digital transformation will improve your flexibility. You may be able to offer remote work opportunities, which will give you access to a broader range of volunteers or employees. All of your executives, management and team members will have better access to the data they need with digitized solutions.
Keys to a Successful Digital Transformation of Organization Structure
It takes careful planning, customization and dedication to make a digital transformation successful. Some high-profile companies have had unsuccessful digital transformations, such as GE and Proctor and Gamble — their mistakes teach valuable lessons. Digital transformation is not the answer to all problems, and it’s not just about implementing new technology.
Instead, you have to calibrate your transformation to your organization’s specific needs. It’s important not to change to the detriment of your original processes. Research has shown five key factors that contribute to a successful digital transformation. Be sure to consider each of the following areas before undergoing a digital transformation:
- Having the right leaders in place: Organizations with chief digital officers (CDOs) are 1.6 times more likely than others to report successful transformations.
- Building workforce capabilities for the future: Create a plan for your team members and their roles in the transformation. Make sure individuals’ roles and responsibilities align with the goals of the change. You may want to bring on technology innovation managers to ease the transition.
- Empowering people to work in new ways: You should also be ready to encourage calculated risk-taking, increased collaboration and a people-focused mindset before the digital transformation. Establish at least one new way of working, such as a continuous learning initiative or an open work environment.
- Giving day-to-day tools a digital upgrade: The move into the digital sphere should affect everyday tools and big-ticket operations. Everyone on your team, regardless of their roles, should have access to new digital tools.
- Communicating via traditional and digital methods: It’s also a good idea to communicate using both traditional and digital methods. Make sure your team members know the digital transformation’s goals and timeline, which helps avoid frustration and instead breeds a sense of excitement.
Seek Support for a Digital Transformation
Big changes require equal adjustments, which is why leadership and change management are critical for a successful digital transformation. If you want your digital transformation to be a success, yielding all possible benefits, make sure you’re prepared to support and empower your people through the changes.
Proper support can help your organization adjust to the changes of a digital transformation. Learn how MIP® supports organizations that have implemented a digital transformation — MIP® always looks for ways to improve your software user experience.
Chapter 3: Looking Beyond: The Future of Human Services
Today, it’s almost mind-boggling to think about how an organization handled its financials without computers, the internet or mobile banking. Things have changed a great deal in the past 20 years, and the next few decades will bring even more changes — faster than ever before.
Companies and nonprofits are doing their best to keep up — 70% of organizations are developing or implementing a digital transformation strategy. Workers versed in digital technologies will become a huge focus for human service organizations. Among executives, 71% say employees are very important or essential for their digital transformation strategy.
Current Challenges Facing Human Services
The human services sector is facing unique challenges. Among nonprofits, some concerns have been:
- Limited resources: Since the Great Recession, governments have been pulling funding for public services and relying more on nonprofits to fill the gaps, resulting in stretched budgets and continual competition for limited outside funding and grant money.
- Increased demands and increased needs in communities: Climate change, the housing crisis, recessions, pandemics and a stagnant minimum wage means more people than ever rely on nonprofits to fulfill their basic needs for shelter, food and clothing.
- Advocacy: Nonprofits always have to advocate for themselves, both in the social and political spheres.
- Remaining nonpartisan: In an increasingly polarized political landscape, nonprofits have the challenge of remaining nonpartisan.
According to the State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey, 86% of respondents report the demand for services keeps rising, and 57% report not being able to meet needs. Offering competitive pay and employing enough people concern 66% and 59% of nonprofits, respectively. To address these challenges, nonprofits must find new strategies to remain operational and effective.
Five Future Trends in Human Services
Human service nonprofits have had to make adjustments and try new strategies to stay afloat despite recent challenges. Some future trends nonprofits are likely to embrace include the following:
- Nontraditional partnerships: Nonprofits will begin partnering with each other and with other organizations to further their missions. According to the State of the Nonprofit Sector survey, 68% of nonprofits report collaborating with others.
- Creative financing models: New ways of financing include pay-for-success models, which allow investors to recoup their investment plus a reasonable return when the project meets predefined outcomes. Nonprofits will also look for different ways to source their funding, including through social media channels and other online means.
- Predictive analytics: Nonprofits will use predictive analytics to help them determine what services the public will need and how effective they are.
- Industry-leading practices: Nonprofits exploring and adopting “outsider” practices are likely to find new ways of reaching their goals.
- Health and human services integration: Most nonprofits are concerned with individuals and communities. They integrate social and health services together.
- Mission growth and awareness: Missions will be another focal point for change as the public’s needs grow and evolve.
- Changes in demographics: Another future focus for nonprofits will be their internal demographics, with 60% of nonprofits planning to increase organizational diversity.
What Role Will Technology Play in the Future of Human Services?
New digital opportunities will change every aspect of nonprofit function, from volunteer recruitment to donor retention and fund management. Data analytics and machine learning will play a pivotal role in determining how best to help people. The same technologies will help nonprofits learn to predict donor behavior, including when and how much they’ll give.
Technical advancements have a lot to do with demographics. As millennials become the largest group of working individuals, organizations will have to adapt to the way they think and do things, which is more and more through online mediums.
As the landscape changes, integrating technology into your organizational strategy becomes more critical. Data and technology will become tools that help organizations realize their missions.
Future Challenges of Digital Transformation
Digital transformations are large-scale organizational shifts. As a result, they present challenges not all organizations are ready to meet and overcome. According to the New Everest Group, 78% of organizations failed in scaling and sustaining their digital transformation initiatives due to the old school methods most organizations operate with.
Human services nonprofits have a different mission than for-profit organizations — they’re often not used to the kinds of innovation and risk that businesses undertake. Other challenges include:
- Lack of tech professionals: Many nonprofits lack savvy digital transformation professionals who can help everyone keep up during the transition.
- Technology-resistant leadership: Established leadership can be averse to change in some instances, even if the change is sure to have a positive influence.
- Issues with training: Leadership may struggle to train staff on using the new technology.
- Overreaching ambition: Making unreasonably large changes all at once can result in changes the workforce cannot keep up with.
Implementing a digital transformation can be challenging. Technology is all about rapid change, so organizations need the infrastructure to maintain their digital systems. They also need a team to update and modernize them. It’s easy to become too focused on the data and numbers.
Human service organizations should be helping people — tracking analytics and data too much can overshadow the services. Digital transformation efforts might distract from the larger goals of the organization. Those you serve could slip through the cracks if you spend too much time and too many resources implementing the digital transformation.
Human service organizations know better than any other that not all impacts are measurable in numerical terms. With the presence of data, organizations should continue listening to the people they’re serving. People and processes should come before technology always. The numbers are secondary — you may not see the effects of digital transformation for a while.
Prepare for Change With MIP®
The landscape is changing for today’s nonprofits, and digital transformations are the step into the future. Organizations embarking on this journey need to become comfortable with near-constant change. MIP® Cloud represents the future of nonprofit fund accounting. Learn more about our web-based solutions, which grow with your organization so you can better serve your community today, tomorrow and beyond.
Chapter 4: Five Steps in the Digital Transformation Process
An organization is like an ecosystem — changes in one sector can have a ripple effect. If only one department undergoes a digital transformation while the others do not, you can expect headaches and interruptions. But, when done well, digital transformation is a fundamental restructuring of the operations and processes throughout an entire organization.
With the changing landscape of organizational operations, a willingness to adapt will be fundamental for success. Soon, nonprofits will find that not implementing the process of digital transformation will be more disruptive to normal organizational operations than doing so.
How to Prepare for the Digital Transformation of Business Processes?
Careful preparation will help you make your digital transformation a success. The first step should be to set organizational goals and establish why you are undertaking these changes. Consult your mission statement and determine what objectives you want to enhance with your digital transformation.
Then, set specific department goals. For example, you might set a goal for your fund management team to establish cloud-based technology training for all team members.
During the preparation stage, it’s vital to brace your departments for major changes while thinking ahead about possible obstacles. Before you begin implementing a digital transformation, be sure to:
- Consider impacts: Evaluate how these changes might impact employees and new hires, considering whether or not you have the staff capabilities to address these changes.
- Work on embracing change: Try to embrace change with an open mind and positive attitude. Encourage your staff to do so as well.
- Assess your current processes: Look for changes that may need to occur to streamline operations. Consider which methods have been ineffective and which ones you need to rethink altogether. That way, you can focus on transforming the processes that will yield the best results instead of focusing on poor processes.
- Set up training: Make sure your team, including staff, leadership and board members, will all have access to adequate training.
- Establish a plan for future volunteers: Create a comprehensive plan for integrating technology in volunteer recruitment and hiring. You may be able to implement remote work or remote volunteer opportunities.
When it comes to digital transformations, the preparation phase is just as important as any other. For the most successful possible digital transformation, follow a thoughtful plan before, during and after the transformation.
Step One: Identify the Who, What, Why and How
First, think about the essential elements of your digital transformation, including the “who,” “what,” “why,” and “how.” If you find yourself struggling to answer any of these questions, you might want to take a step back and think about the purpose of the transformation. Consider:
- Who: Who will get involved in the process? Who will feel the effects?
- What: What do we need to transform? What processes will we be changing? What technology will we use? What do we want to achieve?
- Why: Why are we undertaking this process? Why is this a good move for us?
- How: How can we transform? How will you implement these changes? How will it impact clients and staff?
It’s essential to have answers to all of these questions before you begin a digital transformation process. Be sure your executives, board and staff are on the same page about why a digital transformation is necessary and how it will affect operations.
Step Two: Prepare for Disruptions
Any major changes cause momentary disruptions. A digital transformation will mean certain functionalities must be offline for a period. Be sure to evaluate how you will prepare and mitigate these disruptions to prevent loss of services and minimize the impact on those you serve. You may need to create temporary interventions or backup plans for various aspects of operation, including donation collection, fund platforms and client services.
Before undergoing a digital transformation, it’s vital to prepare your team for any disruptions the shift might cause.
Step Three: Get Support From Core Leadership Teams
Transformational leadership is essential for the success of a digital transformation. In terms of leadership, the keys to a successful transition include:
- Management having a set plan.
- Senior leadership having a sense of urgency.
- Leaders encouraging employees to experiment with new ideas.
- Management ensuring collaboration.
Throughout the transformation, board members should also encourage the changes. According to a survey on best practices for digital transformation, five of the top seven practices require the involvement of leadership teams.
Step Four: Implement Digital Transformation
Once you’ve made all necessary preparations and gotten everyone on board the same route, you’ll be ready to implement the digital transformation. Keep in mind that this transformation is not a static moment in time during which everything shifts all at once. Instead, implementing a digital transformation is continuous. It’s less of a destination and more of a journey.
The implementation stage will likely involve adding new members to your team and training old ones. You might look to transform your:
- Multimedia storytelling.
- Cloud technology.
- Social media and live social media.
- Hybrid events and work.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and mobile giving.
Step Five: Assess, Adapt, Repeat
Steps four and five should happen simultaneously. You should continue to adapt and assess your operations, which will be possible thanks to efficiency-tracking technology. The only way to optimize your organization, making it the best it can be, is to continue to make assessments and adaptations.
For human services, this means assessing how digital transformation has affected the people you serve. If a particular element makes access more difficult, there should be wiggle room to adapt to your organization’s needs. For example, if a mobile scheduling platform is difficult for clients to understand, or if your clients have little access to smartphones, you’ll need to make changes to serve your clients better. Above all, technology should be a tool organizations wield, not the other way around.
Case Studies: Organizations That Have Improved Their Operations Through Digital Transformation
Digital transformation has yielded positive change for many companies and nonprofit organizations. Many MIP® clients serve as examples of successful digital transformations, especially CenClear, Plimoth, and GPLAA. Each of these three organizations has grown with digital solutions in the following ways:
- CenClear: CenClear Child Services provides social services to support early childhood development and support for teens and adults. They were experiencing system crashes and dealing with decentralized financial tools. With MIP®, CenClear now benefits from more efficient accounting processes, fraud prevention, automated compliance, greater flexibility, ongoing training for new employees and scalable models.
- Plimoth: Plimoth Patuxet Museums explore the history of Indigenous Wampanoag. They used to struggle with inefficient, ineffective, disconnected systems. They needed a more straightforward process to report funding from various sources. With their small staff, saving time was essential. With MIP®, the museum has successfully integrated technology to streamline and simplify their entire organization’s finances.
- GPLAA: The Georgia Public Library Accounting Alliance needed an affordable solution to support a wide range of skill sets for staff. They also wanted integrated payroll that was easy to use since some were resistant to change. They used digital transformation to manage their complex ecosystem of funding streams. With MIP®, GPLAA improved donor and grant reporting from various sources for auditors, and employees received free customer tech support.
Use Solutions for Human Service Nonprofits
Human service nonprofits have unique needs and challenges, so they need unique solutions. Something all human service organizations can benefit from is the MIP Fund Accounting® Budget module. With easier budgeting and the ability to produce unlimited budget scenarios, your organization can implement your digital transformation strategy. Learn more about this solution and what it could do for your nonprofit.
Chapter 5: Going Digital Drives Growth
The modernization of technology is a huge driver of social change. Technology plays an enormous part in every aspect of life, including having a significant role in human services nonprofits. While some might see digital transformation as a burden, causing them to procrastinate implementing digital solutions, these changes are a huge driver of growth for nonprofits.
In the future, those who have implemented digital transformation policies early will see larger benefits sooner than those that lag behind. Soon, not having the necessary digital transformation and technologies will have a negative impact on effectiveness and efficiency.
What Are the Benefits of Modern Technology in Business?
Embracing modern technology, as intimidating as it may be, can lead to immense and multifaceted benefits. Some of the critical advantages modern technology offers include the following:
- Cost savings
- Revenue growth
- Operational growth
- Better client experiences
- More employee engagement
- Better asset management
- The ability to focus on what matters
How Nonprofits Grow With Technology Modernization
Transformational leadership is essential for modernization. Technology designed for philanthropic giving and services is under development — it will allow for more specialization in the technology offerings. Modern technology can help nonprofits dedicate more funding to their causes. Soon, these solutions will no longer be novel — they will instead be essential tools for operation.
How Digital Transformation Helps Human Services Do More Good
Nonprofits have different operating goals and processes than for-profit businesses. The returns on digital transformation will be different than they are for for-profit companies. Digital transformations and the benefits they offer allow human service organizations to do more good.
Everyone benefits. Better efficiency allows organizations to help more people and have a greater impact on their clients. Saving money on operations and processes means grant money and other funding can go further to achieve the organization’s mission.
Often, a digital transformation also transforms the client experience. With easier access to information and care, clients will benefit from faster and more efficient services. Employees or volunteers will benefit from improved efficiency. Easier reporting and fund management will allow team members to spend more time helping people.
With nonprofits’ limited funding, having better security, transparency and accountability — which technology provides — will make the organization more attractive to potential donors and fundraisers.
Conclusion: Why Specialized Fund Accounting Technology Is Essential for Nonprofits
Digital transformation refers to a fundamental restructuring of an entire institution to include more efficient and effective uses of technology. For nonprofits, this often means incorporating technology into fund accounting systems to improve how you track and report your financials. But digital transformation isn’t only about technology. People play a huge role in the transformation of your organization, and the human element of this process should be at the forefront. Incorporating new strategies allows you to help more people.
Planning for digital transformation is almost as involved as actually implementing it. During the planning stage, you’ll want to evaluate how ready your organization is for the change. Planning might include altering staff training, job roles and elements of your infrastructure. The best digital transformations consider each organization’s unique needs, which is why specialized fund accounting is the best choice for your organization.
MIP Fund Accounting® software is designed with the needs of nonprofits in mind. The benefits of fund accounting with MIP® include the abilities to:
- Handle complex financials and revenue streams of human service organizations.
- Streamline human resources and accounting activities.
- Track all funds and dollars coming in and out.
- Scale based on your organization’s growth.
MIP® also offers implementation services and ongoing training, which will be essential tools and resources for your nonprofit employees. If you’re considering a digital transformation for your organization and want to see MIP Fund Accounting® in action, request a demo today for a personal product tour. Get in touch with a knowledgeable sales representative to learn more about MIP Fund Accounting® solutions.