Should Your Nonprofit Invest More Internally?

September 5, 2018 | 1,421 views

Should Your Nonprofit Invest More Internally?

Should Your Nonprofit Invest More Internally?

About 20% of nonprofits are grossly underfunding areas of their business, such as new technology, employee training, and fundraising expenses, according to a recently released BDO Nonprofit Standards report.  Instead, nonprofits are engaging in programmatic spending, with half of all surveyed groups saying they plan to increase their programmatic reach over the next two years. This poses a tremendous risk to future operations, according to the partner of BDO Institute for Nonprofit Excellence, the creator of this report.


If this sounds eerily similar to your nonprofit, here are four things you can do to restructure your budget so you’re investing more internally.


Allocate More Funds to Personal Development

A recent employee engagement survey by Gallup found that 33% of employees are not engaged at work. Much of that is because, as the modern world changes at a rapid clip, staff’s talents become less relevant. This lack of relevance in the workplace leads teams to stagnate, and as a result, engagement scores decrease along with productivity. Ultimately, the organization as a whole suffers because there’s a struggle to keep up.


Invest in New Technology

The world is moving forward at a rapid pace. Today’s technology isn’t the same as it was a year ago. With this fast progression comes streamlined processes, more intelligent operations, and platforms that can boost productivity.


Some people worry about investing in new platforms out of a fear that technological advancements can steal their job. That’s not the case.


By putting your money toward new technology, you can simultaneously increase productivity and reduce your costs indirectly. For example, with a scheduling app, you can save hours of your employees’ time by speeding up the process in which you release and manage your schedule. This one tool can translate into fewer office supplies needed to manage the schedule, and increased productivity from your team members.


Save For a Rainy Day

One of the biggest struggles to managing a nonprofit organization’s budget is the lack of consistency with which revenues come in. During some seasons, fundraising brings in a steady cash flow. Other seasons, fundraising is less effective and it’s a struggle just to keep the lights on. Failing to save for the slower seasons is a common mistake that strain nonprofit organizations a little too tightly, leaving it impossible to invest internally.


Research Strategic Acquisitions

76% of nonprofits say they aren’t looking at and have no interest in strategic partnerships or mergers with other organizations that support the same cause, according to BDO’s survey. This lack of interest in a combined effort to further a mission could mean fewer funds to do the above — invest in personal development and new technology. By merging with another company that’s operating to further the same goal you are, you could bulk up your bank account and fundraising efforts, giving you more opportunity to invest internally.


Your Next Step

You know the benefits of internal investment. Now it’s time to take that next step and reallocate your funds to the areas that will help you grow. By developing your employees, improving your technology, and bulking up your savings account, you will have the money you need to surge forward toward your philanthropic goal.



Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.


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