Sparkrock Blog

Sparktivist? Never heard of it.

by   Nikki Trinnear on 10.05.17

Sparktivist. What does that word even mean? It's certainly not in the dictionary (even though words like gimcrack somehow are...). Well since we can't find a good definition, I suppose the next best thing to do is define it ourselves:

Sparktivist

[spark-tuh-vist] noun

1. An especially active, vigorous advocate for Sparkrock

This special program is designed to reward our activists – more than ever before – for sharing their experiences and expertise, referring colleagues, and helping us create and spread great content.

Topics: Sparkrock

Overtime - The Silent Budget Killer

by   Cait Abernethy on 10.03.17

We’re going to throw a stat at you that might sound ridiculous, but depending on the size of your organization you could be victim to it too: Human Services organizations, on average, end up spending nearly $1 Million dollars annually in overtime pay.

Topics: Finance , Workforce Management , Workforce , Operations

The True Cost of Manual Processes

by   Cait Abernethy on 09.19.17

As a Human Services agency, you’re constantly tasked with “doing more with less.” With tight budgets and even tighter restrictions on how you spend funder dollars, making sure your organization is running as efficiently as possible is a must. In our experience though, most human services organizations are so busy focusing on service delivery and putting out fires that they have little time left to focus on internally-strategic things such as determining the average cost of many of their day to day processes or figuring out more efficient ways to manage these tasks. And, because funding is tight, purchasing a new management system that could automate many of these processes seems too costly so many agencies continue to rely on paper-based or manual methods.

But what is the true cost of completing tasks manually? While the 3-4 minutes it may take to do something simple like walking over a purchase request to a supervisor’s desk for approval may seem insignificant, if you have to do it a couple times a week, and then multiply that by a year, you’d be shocked by how much time you’ll have spent walking back and forth between desks just to do this one minor task. But obtaining approvals isn’t the only offender when it comes to surprisingly-costly manual processes. Some other tasks that add up to significant time and costs wasted are Expense Claims, Purchasing and Inventory Management, Timesheets/Payroll, and Employee Scheduling.

Topics: Finance , Outcomes-Impact , Workforce , Technology

Why IT Professionals Should Not Fear the Cloud

by   Cait Abernethy on 09.14.17

From our experience working with nonprofit organizations in the past, IT departments are rarely thrilled with the idea of implementing a cloud-based solution. Some might think, “wait, wouldn’t IT love the idea of new technology being implemented in their organization? Wouldn’t they be thrilled at the chance to get to utilize something new and innovative?”

The reality of the matter is that many IT professionals do not like the idea of cloud. But why is this?

Topics: Technology

8 Questions to Ask Before Starting your RFP Process

by   Craig Mundle on 09.12.17

A request for proposal (RFP) is an excellent tool for nonprofits to use to find the best products and services for their organization at competitive prices. Although it can take considerable time and effort, a well planned, written and executed RFP can be a game changer when it comes to finding a solution partner that truly understands your organisation’s goals, pain-points, and what functionality you need to ensure you continue to deliver on your mission. We know this can be a daunting task at times - so we are here to help! Below we have pulled together a list of 8 questions to ask yourself before you start the RFP process, which will point you in the right direction for a stronger and more effective RFP.

Topics: Product Innovation

3 Trends that will Impact your Nonprofit’s Approach to Workforce Management in 2018

by   Cait Abernethy on 08.25.17

It’s hardly a secret that the human services and nonprofit sectors have long underinvested in their most valuable asset - their people - and over the last decade this problem has unfortunately gotten worse, not better.

But we predict that the tide will finally begin to turn in 2018; this will be the year when talent will become a top priority for nonprofits and their funders. Why? It’s safe to assume that the changing political climate and administration in the US will put future investments in social programs and services at risk. As a result, the demands placed on nonprofit organizations will likely increase  while financial support and government funding decreases. Human service agencies, nonprofits, and their supporters are now being forced to recognize that if they hope to effectively address the needs of their communities and advance their missions in the years to come, they must have creative, capable teams in place who can find ways to deliver results under difficult circumstances. Employees - qualified, well-resourced, engaged employees - are the answer to many of the challenges the sector is currently facing and will face in 2018.

Topics: Workforce Management , Workforce

Get the Most Value Out of Fuel Good: Why You Should Add an Extra Day

by   Nikki Trinnear on 08.21.17

We could go on and on about why you should attend Fuel Good, but we know that the most important reason is the chance to learn from industry experts on Finance, HR/Payroll, and O365. That's why we want to encourage all those attending to consider signing up for the additional day of training on the Wednesday before the conference begins. If you're looking to get a valuable, in-depth learning experience from Fuel Good, why only limit yourself to 2 days? Our hands-on training in Jet Reports, Sparkrock Finance and Workforce, and MS O365 will leave you amazed with how much you can learn in just one day.

Topics: Sparkrock

How to Build a Successful K12 ERP Finance Implementation Team

by   Laura Isaac on 08.15.17

So, you're thinking of implementing a new ERP system at your school board? We get it, it can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time. The reasons to move to a modern financial system are endless, but the hurdles to get there can seem daunting. No one likes change, and no one has the time to implement change on top of everything else that they have on their plate. Right? Well, I hope that I can shed a bit of light on how we at Waterloo Catholic DSB embarked on our ERP implementation so that it can help you in your upcoming project.

Topics: Finance , k12

6 Proven Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Talent in Human Services

by   Meghan Holmes on 08.08.17

In 2016, the turnover rate for Direct Support Professionals rose to a staggering 51%. Although there are admittedly many barriers that human services agencies face when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees, this number is extremely high. And with over half of most agencies’ staff being replaced every year, it becomes not only increasingly expensive to replace employees (the average turnover cost at $3,000-$5,000 per employee), but there's also a direct impact on existing staff who are burdened with an increased workload and on the clients who receive a lower quality of care.

Topics: Workforce Management , Workforce , Operations

5 Signs your ERP System is Failing your Nonprofit Organization

by   Cait Abernethy on 08.04.17

As a nonprofit, you're looking to put every dollar towards your mission. So, it’s likely that when you were first starting out you chose a finance solution that wasn’t too costly or complicated and fit your basic needs. But as your organization grows, tools such as Accpac or Quickbooks may no longer be robust enough to handle the increasing complexity of your budget management or reporting requirements. If you're still using one of these smaller finance and accounting systems, take a second to ask yourself these questions:

Topics: Finance , Technology

The 4 Main Barriers Human Services Face with Recruiting and Retaining Talent

by   Meghan Holmes on 07.24.17

Workforce recruitment and retention in the Human Services industry is at a crisis level. Organizations are reporting staff vacancies of 20% and an astonishingly high average turnover rate of 51%. This leaves us all wondering - what's stopping qualified talent from working (and staying) in human services? 

Topics: Workforce Management , Workforce , Operations