How to Minimize Overhead for Non-Profit Organizations

This article will describe how reporting can save operational costs.


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Facing constraints is nothing new to non-profit organizations. From tight budgets to strategizing growth, managing the books can all too quickly become overwhelming. Outside of easing the day-to-day workload, what else can corporate performance management (CPM) software do? Namely, save money. This article will describe how certain CPM-generated dashboards and reports can control a non-profit organization’s costs.

 Key Dashboards

In general, dashboards can display whether or not your non-profit is meeting its goals and much more. The advantages of seeing readily accessible and reliably accurate data at a glance, enables fast, strategic decision-making. Let’s discuss non-profit-specific examples.
As stated above, a clear picture of how your organization is meeting its benchmarks can have a significant impact on strategy. A “benchmarking” dashboard compares key financials, such as revenue growth, surplus/deficit margin, to other organizations and industry averages. Perhaps your organization has performed as expected according to internal standards, but not when compared to others.  Generally putting your data in one place is a manual process that doesn’t happen reliably. In this case, a benchmark dashboard generated from a “data warehouse” ensures accurate numbers.
“Executive” dashboards show the major metrics: actual versus budgeted revenues, expenses, surplus/deficit, membership statistic and grant metrics. Dashboards can rank the top sources of revenue, like membership dues and grants, or show trends of the revenue sources. In particular, a dashboard dedicated to grants shows which programs generate the most or cost the most.
We can see how a series of dashboards provide decision-making information. How does this in itself save money and minimize operational overhead? Nearly as important as the information itself, it is how easy it is to generate.

Key Reports

While dashboards provide useful summaries, equally key to saving money in operations for non-profits, are detailed, custom reports. Based on the positive trends or red flags found in the dashboards, organizations will require a detailed breakdown.
Overview reports for grants or memberships can automatically show information like grants by granted, encumbered amount and balance, membership statistics, etc. A key feature of overview reports, especially for grants, is the ability to click on specific programs. However, the ease of generating these reports is almost as important as what the reports say. A “Statement of Activity” report with “Auto Narrative” creates a report and then adds a “narrative” page that describes key results. These types of reports become the bread and butter of monthly performance reviews. Investing in a flexible CPM tool means you can pull these reports on a consistent basis.
Other useful reports for non-profit organizations, like the statement of financial position report, clearly show the financial position. Of course, a reporting tool should be able to generate cash flow statements and other financial reports readily. A CPM tool that can support custom reports can also make a huge difference in operations. For non-profits, custom forms can display long-term strategy planning in funding, forecast cost and strategy targets year by year.
Overall, a flexible, robust CPM tool can provide non-profit organizations informative dashboards and reports that themselves can help drive strategy. From insights like which grants make the most money, a CPM tool can reduce overhead.
Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.