Creating Finance & Development Collaboration with Integrated Nonprofit Software
In most nonprofit organizations, there exists a not-so-subtle disconnect between the finance team and the fundraising team. Nonprofit organizations that provide the technology and tools that enable these departments to support each other and collaborate effectively can achieve even greater mission impact. There are several reasons why fundraising and finance professionals sometimes find it difficult to collaborate effectively. The two teams:
- Draw on different personalities
- Focus on different priorities
- Speak different lingos
- Measure and report on different metrics
Organizations must increase internal communication in order to improve the relationship between Development and Finance. Some practical ideas for improving communication include conducting joint meetings, creating interdepartmental goals and objectives, and teaching each other basic accounting and fundraising processes and terminology.
Having powerful, integrated nonprofit software solutions is another way to help bridge the gap between fundraising and finance. A true cloud financial management solution enables better sharing of financial data, greater visibility into performance, integration between fundraising and finance software systems, and easier collaboration between people. Armed with complete information, Development and Finance can work together to add value and mission impact.
Tear down data silos and freely share financial information
Cloud-based nonprofit accounting software enables finance leaders to disseminate financial performance information more easily, so other parts of the organization can benefit. That means eliminating any data silos caused by outdated software and getting into a better position to share your financial data with the development team. Cloud software is much easier to share internally since it requires no installation and can be accessed by a web browser.
It’s important that the finance team shares financial information that is relevant to each part of the organization. Fundraising and Development want to focus on financial information pertinent to their own objectives. That’s one of the reasons Sage Intacct enables the finance team to create role-based dashboards.
With Sage Intacct, you can create all types of dashboards and reports for different users — from fundraisers to financial executives to program managers. Drag and drop reports, outcome measurements, and KPI visualizations that track the most important information needed in each role. Dashboards place financial and statistical data side by side for a comprehensive view of organizational performance.
For example, this fundraising dashboard provides the most impactful metrics for measuring performance, including average donations, fundraising costs and expense ratios. Another dashboard that’s appreciated by fundraising, development, and program teams alike empowers teams to monitor real-time expenses and budget to actual data.
“Sage Intacct is our one-stop-shop where we see not only the organization’s financial data, but statistical details like income and expenses per constituent as well. One thing that's been really helpful for us is Sage Intacct’s personalized dashboards, where each manager, executive, and finance team member can get the information we need in one place and drill-down to explore the data as needed.”
Dana Bakker, Controller, Hope Haven
Strengthen collaboration through integrated systems
Now that financial information flows more freely across the organization, it’s time to bring even more data streams into clear view. Again, cloud nonprofit software offers a distinct advantage in the form of open API integration with other cloud software systems. For example, Sage Intacct easily integrates with leading nonprofit software for fundraising, CRM, grant management, membership management, budgeting, expense reporting, and more.
Over 45 best-in-class applications used by nonprofits have pre-built integration to Sage Intacct. Some of the nonprofit-specific applications on the Sage Intacct Marketplace include Fluxx for grants management, MemberClicks for member-based associations, SchoolConnect for billing, and Gabriel Software for parish management.
Chat with your team members right in the system with Sage Intacct Collaborate
When organizations widen real-time visibility through system integrations, collaboration across departments improves. The integration between Sage Intacct and Salesforce.com CRM embeds Salesforce’s Chatter feed inside Sage Intacct. Sage Intacct Collaborate empowers members of the finance team and development/fundraising teams to collaborate within the context of related transactions in both Salesforce and Sage Intacct. Sage Intacct Collaborate allows you to easily communicate about anything — right on the relevant transaction page. It’s a great way to track and document key information, keeping both teams on the same page.
Sage Intacct Collaborate allows you to easily communicate and capture narrative comments about anything – right on the relevant page. This example illustrates a conversation between departments and external auditors.
“Our finance team is no longer just task-oriented; we’re much more forward-thinking, which is wonderful. As a result, collaboration across the organization has increased tenfold. Everyone from our community impact department, to fundraising, to the volunteer center, is coming to us to ask questions and plan for the future of the UWCI.”
Lynn Auffart, Senior Director of Finance, United Way of Central Indiana
Seamlessly integrate your financial data with Salesforce and Salesforce NPSP
Not only does Sage Intacct Collaborate leverage the Salesforce Chatter feature, but Sage Intacct offers advanced CRM integration for nonprofits to Salesforce and Salesforce NPSP. With Sage Intacct’s Advanced CRM Integration, you can connect sales, revenue, and finance data from the initial transaction through reporting, forecasting, and billing eliminating duplicate data entry and inaccuracies.
Use new insights to add value throughout the organization
Once the full organization is empowered with real-time financial data and outcome metrics, it’s easier for the finance and development teams to work together to add value. With a single source of financial truth and the ability to make more informed decisions, nonprofit organizations can find opportunities to make a bigger mission impact.
Opportunities can come in the form of savings through efficiency gains or the insight to be able to reallocate funds toward a greater purpose. Here are a few of the ways that Sage Intacct nonprofit software has helped organizations uncover opportunity and do more for their missions:
- Lowered the cost of audits: Sage Intacct streamlined the process of tax and audit reporting at the Koret Foundation, reducing time the finance team spends on audits by 60%. Audit costs were trimmed by 20% — money that can be redirected towards programs or fundraising instead of finance administration. Sage Intacct has many features that make it easier to collaborate with auditors, including an ‘Audit & Tax Preparers’ dashboard. This view-only dashboard allows auditors to view real time reports — even drilling down to source documents. This saves time and lowers audit expenses for the finance team, while maintaining control and security over data.
- Managed growth without adding headcount: Using Sage Intacct, World Learning grew global revenue by 50% while reducing labor costs by $500,000, fueling expansion of global education and sustainability programs in 60 countries.
- Improved planning and budgeting: Meals on Wheels America has taken advantage of Sage Intacct’s open integration capacity to connect it to CRM, fundraising, association management, and other applications. That’s given the organization “one source of financial truth” and streamlines what were previously disconnected processes. Now they have visibility into expenses booked against a particular grant. Department heads can work with the finance team to better align budgets and actuals. The departmental planning process runs four times faster, because the finance team has “become business partners instead of bean counters".
- Increased accountability through better expense tracking: Room to Read was able to improve financial accountability with more timely and specific reporting around financial and operational performance. This increased donor confidence and the organization experienced a 15% rise in revenue that translated into resources to serve an additional 100,000 children through their literacy program.
“We can track all of our expense types throughout the lifetime of a program—including everything from training teachers or supplying materials for the children to research and evaluation. When a large federal or corporate donor funds a multi-year literacy program across multiple schools, we can accurately report back the specific cost associated with each programmatic component, as well as the program’s impact to date, which increases our credibility and accountability as an organization. We would not have been able to do any of this without Sage Intacct.”
Shari Freedman, CFO, Room to Read
Nonprofit organizations that enjoy a high degree of collaboration and communication between Finance and Development/Fundraising can unlock efficiency and new opportunities to advance the mission. Integrated nonprofit software, including true cloud financial management, can empower these teams to share data and improve collaboration, as well as increase accountability for better stewardship and transparency to donors.
Learn how to leverage financial and outcomes data to highlight your mission when you download the eBook: Nonprofit Storytelling — Using Data and Performance Metrics to Motivate Donors.
A native Texan, Joan has over 25 years of experience in the accounting, technology, publishing, and nonprofit fields. Bringing her experience as a nonprofit financial leader to Sage Intacct, Joan has been instrumental in creating solutions, and providing support and best practices that help ensure nonprofits achieve their mission.
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