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3 Lessons for Nonprofits from Learning Enrichment Foundation’s Tech Success

Toronto’s Learning Enrichment Foundation has spent more than four decades supporting its community, but it didn’t have the technology it needed to continue to evolve. Serving more than 10,000 people every year, LEF implemented Sparkrock Finance to manage its funding, budgeting, and reporting.

LEF was featured by Microsoft for their incredible success using Sparkrock’s Dynamics NAV-based finance solution. We love seeing our clients highlighted for their work, and we’re proud to have helped LEF better serve their community.

So what can you learn from LEF’s success?

Partner up

Microsoft says: “In Sparkrock, LEF found a non-profit specialist who shares their values and sense of urgency. For best results, work with great Microsoft partners like them!”

Sparkrock technology empowers our customers to fulfill their mission and make the world a better place. Our focus on nonprofit and social impact organizations gives our customers the “best of both worlds” platform. It’s the security and stability of Microsoft combined with sector-specific functions that you can’t get from off-the-shelf finance solutions. That made us a great fit to guide LEF through the evaluation and implementation process.

“Without Sparkrock and Dynamics, we would not be able to expand our services from 1,700 to 2,000 children as planned,” says Peter Frampton, Executive Director, Learning Enrichment Foundation. “That’s 300 families that would otherwise go without childcare, and without after school programs. We would also struggle to implement our five new programs for newly landed and impoverished immigrants.”

Embrace managed services

Microsoft says: “LEF replaced old software and aging infrastructure with a secure and reliable cloud service managed by their partner. You can, too!”

Moving from a system that’s on premise and into the cloud can seem overwhelming, but the huge benefits in time saved, stability, and consistent upgrades is well worth the effort.

“When you own your own on-premises system, you have to plan upgrades and you might defer it due to time or funding crunches and fall behind,” says Therese Sullivan, VP Finance, Learning Enrichment Foundation. “We like the cloud because it keeps us current with all updated functions.”

With their new Dynamics solution from Sparkrock, LEF has better visibility and agility in their day-to-day finances. For example, their new system can alert them to gentrification by highlighting the split between parent fees and subsidies so they plan and allocate funds accordingly. And frontline staff have access to their own budgets, so they can make informed decisions in the moment when it matters most for their client’s prospects.

What could you do with better data?

Create more agility

Microsoft says: “With Dynamics, LEF now has the operational visibility and financial agility it needs to scale. Do your systems enable or inhibit your growth?”

LEF operates in a complicated funding and budgeting space. They have more than 60 strategic business units, a 20+ million-dollar annual budget, and nearly 100 funding sources including sponsors, donors, and all three levels of government. They didn’t have effective financial reporting, and their legacy financial platform couldn’t provide the visibility or scalability to meet their growth goals. But most importantly for their mission, their frontline staff needed more agility to provide discretionary funding to make things happen for families when the opportunity arose.

“We love how NAV and Sparkrock’s solution lets us see across programs, not just in silos like before,” Peter says. “We needed a system giving us greater visibility into our finances. Without it, childcare waitlists would continue to get longer, and new programs would take forever to implement—if they saw the light of day at all.”

Technology that empowers

With streamlined operations, accessible integrated data, and the ability to make data-driven decisions in real time, LEF saw dramatic results. Time to launch new programs dropped from months to weeks and they doubled the number of client-run programs that can be developed and launched. LEF was able to launch five new programs for immigrants and serve an additional 300 children with childcare and afterschool programs.

At the end of the day, that’s what matters to Sparkrock and our customers – who have we helped today and who can we help tomorrow?

Ready to learn more? Check out our Sparkrock Finance overview.

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