Nonprofit and Government Financial Operations Improvement Specialists

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Going Green: Going Paperless Offers Many Benefits to Nonprofits

Implementing best practices is the gift that keeps on giving.  Best practices incorporated into the workflow of your nonprofit system helps you work smarter and usually faster that makeshift manual activities.

When best practices are combined with automation and offer a significant savings in time and money – that’s the best possible scenario, and going paperless is an activity that delivers each of those benefits.

We saw such positive results with clients that we recently conducted a series of webcasts showcasing ways nonprofits could benefit from going paperless.  You can view a recording of the presentation here.

So what’s preventing nonprofits from going paperless?  We polled the nonprofit professionals who registered for our ‘Going Green, Saving Green’ webcasts and asked the question, “What are your biggest challenges for going paperless?”

  • 63% - Prioritizing paperless options
  • 21% - Not knowing where to start
  • 10% - Lack of support/interest within the organization

Other responses included:

  • Investment in tools and resources. Policy and process development
  • Changing the organization’s culture – goes beyond just being paperless to how we view and use data.

Here’s a stunning fact, with the exception of not having interest or support within the nonprofit, the other factors (which make up 90% of the response) can be addressed with AccuFund and some simple low-cost or no-cost tools.

Let’s consider a case study of the accounting department of Focus, Inc., based in Alaska.  They had two staff members working 8 hours each over 4 business days in order to complete monthly invoicing for programs and services – which translated to 2000 documents/month.  They also generated the month-end management reports – a total of 10 different reports distributed to 20 program/grant managers.

The costs were calculated this way:

  • $40 per hour for each staff person including benefits
  • 48 hours to print, collate, stuff and deliver reports

Total monthly cost = $2,560

Focus, Inc. implemented just one paperless feature.  The used their system to generate and email reports.  This one simple change resulted in cutting processing time to 2 hours per month, with a monthly savings of $2,480 with equated to almost $30,000 annually.

What could your organization do with $30,000 in found money?  Or, looked at another way, how much work must you do to acquire $30,000 in donations or grants?

It may be time to seriously consider going paperless.

Dawn Westerberg