By: Melissa Lagowski
Founder, CEO and Queen Bee, Big Buzz Idea Group
Nonprofit leadership and high-level salaried staff need time and space to focus on their organization’s mission, growth, strategy and fundraising. But all too often, we see these leaders become bogged down and burned out by administrative tasks trying to wear a million different hats.
Does this sound familiar?
With a few changes, it’s possible to streamline your nonprofit’s admin tasks and create effective systems. These efficiencies will improve day-to-day operations to benefit your leadership, staff and those you serve.
#1 Segment Calls, Emails and Other Communications
Managing incoming and outgoing communications is a common administrative pain point for many nonprofits. Rather than bombarding your staff with everything coming in, appoint a dedicated person or team to handle all incoming communications—general inquiries, sales messages, membership calls—and either address them directly or redirect them to the correct staff member. Also identify one person or team to take the lead on all outgoing communications—newsletters, invitations, fundraising letters, thank you notes—to ensure everything is sent to the correct contacts in a timely and consistent manner. These types of systems will not only help manage time and boost efficiency, but they will also allow each person to work at their highest level with the most meaningful impact.
#2 Efficiently Manage Payables and Receivables
Bookkeeping doesn’t have to be a daily task (or a whenever-we-get-to-it one!). Choose two days each month to tackle this task—whether it’s the 15th and 30th, every other week or another regular interval of time. By setting up a predictable cycle, your organization will be able to invoice and pay expenses consistently. This system will consolidate needs, ensure everything is accurate and up-to-date, and give the person responsible for managing the books a complete picture of what’s going on and where the organization is financially. And by focusing on finances regularly, you stand a better chance to stay on budget and more effectively manage the cash flow for your nonprofit.
#3 Organize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Data In a Meaningful Way
There are plenty of programs and technology solutions to help you manage your contacts, but when it comes down to it, a human touch makes a difference here. Select a person or team who will pay attention to detail when inputting and coding data and will keep in mind its end use. Your nonprofit’s CRM data—and how it’s used—represents your organization and sets it apart. Input, code and organize your data from the start so it is customized to your organization’s needs and can be used in the most impactful way possible.
#4 Create Guidelines That Reinforce Your Organization’s Image
Think about every touchpoint your NPO has with the community—the calls, letters, events. While your “image” may not seem like an administrative task itself, all those administrative tasks—everything from how your staff answers the phone to how clear and clean your marketing materials are—do contribute to how others view your nonprofit. Presenting a consistent, professional look is important. Create a system for who handles specific responsibilities and how they do them. With this set of guidelines in place, no one will waste time reinventing the wheel for every interaction or communication piece. And more importantly, you’ll create a positive “first impression” for donors, volunteers and anyone who comes in contact with your nonprofit.
#5 Outsource Where and When Needed
Sometimes there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Bringing in support from a team like Big Buzz Idea Group can move those administrative tasks off your plate and ensure they’re done in a timely manner. We understand the importance of customization, consistency and professionalism to a nonprofit’s mission and growth. Whether you could use help to answer phones, handle mailings, manage bookkeeping, input CRM data, or run an event, outsourcing is an opportunity to make your organization stronger and your impact greater.
With a focus on these five streamlining secrets, you’ll soon have systems in place that allow your nonprofit to run more smoothly. The efficiency and consistency will free up your leadership to do what they do best and expand your organization’s impact.