TORONTO — Nonprofits struggle to access the latest technology due to a lack of money, according to a new research report from ERP provider Sparkrock. The report, based on a survey of 50 nonprofit and social benefit organizations, shows 75% blame lack of funds for their inability to implement new, up-to-date technology. Other common challenges include lack of staff time (55%) and lack of expertise (48%).
“Technology is transforming how organizations achieve their objectives, but a significant number of nonprofits and social benefit organizations are unable to access those benefits because of lack of financial flexibility,” says Sparkrock president Colin Dickinson. “That restrains those organizations back from maximizing the impact in their communities because they’re using inefficient and outdated solutions or processes.”
The lack of modern technology means many organizations are not operating as efficiently as possible, with three-quarters of respondents using manual processes for some finance and HR tasks.
“Technology can revolutionize how organizations operate, but all too often tech adoption lags in the nonprofit sector. Increased availability of funding for enterprise technology would help bridge the divide, enabling nonprofits to operate more efficiently and effectively. But it also takes new approaches to partnerships to unlock technology’s potential,” says Microsoft Tech for Social Impact CTO Erik Arnold. “Microsoft Tech for Social Impact was established in 2017 to close the digital transformation gap between commercial and nonprofit organizations to help nonprofits have easy access to relevant solutions. Along with our partners, we’re committed to helping as many organizations as possible revolutionize their operations so they can better focus on mission and serve their communities.”
Organizations that report having a modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for finance and HR indicated better efficiency across a number of factors. Just five percent of respondents from organizations without an ERP said they had the reporting they needed to do their jobs effectively, while half of organizations with an ERP have access to real time or weekly budget data. From reporting and budget management, to security, organizations with an ERP are operating more efficiently, have access to accurate, real-time data, and are more confident in their efficiency.
“The data is clear: organizations that have invested in an all-in-one back-office solution show better efficiency and processes across the board. This has a positive impact on client outcomes as the organization sees time and cost savings, and can make more strategic, data-driven decisions thanks to real-time information and reporting,” Colin says. “That improved performance shows the clear benefits, and I hope we will begin to see funders start providing grants for administrative technology to help organizations adopt modern solutions and keep up with these advances in technology.”
Sparkrock is a Microsoft Gold Partner that has been dedicated to serving nonprofit, K12, health and human services, and other social benefit organizations since 2003. Established to bridge the technology gap between nonprofits and commercial enterprises, the company helps over 40,000 nonprofit, K12, and human services users run their organizations and improve the quality of life for the people, families, and communities they serve. By understanding what makes these organizations unique, our purpose-built ERP solutions and certified implementation consultants help reduce complexity and enable our customers to operate more predictably, effectively, and affordably.