Grantmaking Foundation Leverages Cloud Technology to Rapidly Respond to COVID-19
When your organization is one of the largest grantors in your state—and the world suddenly shifts without warning—charities and communities will look to you to respond quickly. That was exactly the situation confronting The Ford Family Foundation in early 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic started sweeping through the U.S. and impacting the rural Oregon communities it serves. Thanks to The Ford Family Foundation’s forward-thinking finance team and its use of Sage Intacct, the organization was able to more easily step up and lead, deploying resources quickly and effectively to help Oregon fight the pandemic.
Leveraging Cloud Technology for Finance Transformation
The Ford Family Foundation is a private nonprofit foundation headquartered in the southern Oregon community of Roseburg. Founded in 1957, the organization has grown to become one of Oregon’s largest grantmakers, managing large internal programs and making grants to public charities with the goal of improving the wellbeing of children and families and supporting rural communities.
Over time, the organization’s initiatives have expanded to include scholarship programs; children, family and youth services; and community building. As it grew from grantmaker to “changemaker,” The Ford Family Foundation found the volume and complexity of its financial transactions expanding, along with the size of its staff.
Before deploying Sage Intacct cloud financial management software, the finance team struggled to get the data they needed to support analysis and decision making from their inflexible Microsoft Dynamics GP accounting software. The processes for payables, budgeting and other essential functions felt outdated and constricting.
After making the decision to deploy the cloud-based Sage Intacct nonprofit accounting software, The Ford Family Foundation quickly improved finance team efficiency by 40% and saved over 40 hours of data entry per week through automation.
“Sage Intacct not only helped me get my life back, it helped changed the relationship between our finance department and the rest of the organization. Now they view us as an asset and a partner, instead of as a burden. We’re really seeing the benefits of the investments we made to transform from ‘dinosaur’ processes to best practices that are ahead of most of our peers.”
Jennifer Mitchell, Accounting Manager, The Ford Family Foundation
Agility to Respond Quickly During an Emergency
With Sage Intacct, The Ford Family Foundation gained rapid insight they would need to respond to changing community needs during the COVID-19 crisis. With financial data already centralized in the cloud, the foundation could quickly shift its staff to working from home.
“Our finance team didn’t have to spend any time figuring out how we’d keep things running with people at home—it was seamless, since we had easy access to Sage Intacct in the cloud. Rather than just trying to figure out how to get grant dollars out the door, we could focus on where the money needed to go and where it could come from,” said Mitchell.
In a crisis such as a pandemic, rapid response requires visibility into available resources and knowing what funds are committed and what funds could be redirected. Up-to-date reports and dashboards in Sage Intacct provided stakeholders with the perspective they need to make decisions and define changing priorities. Mitchell built several custom reports, along with personalized dashboards for the foundation’s president, CFO, as well as each department’s director and staff.
Within Sage Intacct, users have the option of utilizing pre-built dashboards or creating custom role-based dashboards like this one for stakeholders.
Stakeholders now enjoy real-time visibility into key operational dimensions such as spending trends by category, budget versus actuals, and impact metrics for programs. Sage Intacct has slashed the time needed to process a grant payment by 50%, so the foundation can translate decisions into action more quickly, pushing available funds into the community as new needs arise.
“I can be a strategic thought partner for my programmatic colleagues as we figure out how to redirect dollars in response to the pandemic,” said Mitchell. “If we had not been able to quickly adjust our initial back-of-the-envelope plan with validated information from Sage Intacct, we might have overcommitted in a big way.”
Read the entire customer success story to learn more about how The Ford Family Foundation navigated the COVID-19 crisis by gaining the visibility and agility to empower rapid grantmaking decisions.
Nancy Master is a senior nonprofit industry marketing manager at Sage Intacct and is passionate about helping nonprofits achieve mission success. Nancy has more than 15 years of experience in software marketing and close to 20 years of experience working with a human services nonprofit organization.
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