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3 ways SaaS ERP paves the way for the digital nonprofit

The nonprofit sector has often been accused of lagging when it comes to digital transformation. But in the wake of the disruption of COVID, many are beginning to buck the trend and make wholesale adoptions of modern technology across their organizations and operations.

Cloud operations are the next frontier for nonprofits that have embraced various modern technologies in fits and starts over the years. Usually in the form of smaller applications to get data flowing 24/7 in areas like fundraising, logistics, and stakeholder communications.

However, back-office functionalities like HR, finance, and planning have often been left to languish, relying on legacy software that doesn't make use of valuable organizational data sources housed in other systems. Or give your people the flexibility to design workflows that work for them and quickly adapt to internal and external expectations or conditions.

The next evolution of nonprofit ERP is agile, robust… and something your people actually want to use

The next generation of back-office systems in the nonprofit sector must be able to deliver the agility your organization needs to build real resilience. But it has to do more than simply provide an agile operating environment – it must do it in a way that lets everyone in the organization use it in the way that suits their particular needs, preferences, and expectations.

It must also create a people experience that empowers your talent to do their jobs more efficiently, and lessens the burden of administrative work so they can create more impact in delivering your mission.

The next evolution of nonprofit ERP enables flexible collaboration 

One of the biggest disadvantages to relying on the disjointed and brittle legacy systems of yesteryear is that they simply aren’t built for collaboration. More modern systems don’t just allow different parts of the organization to work together more easily and see the same version of the truth – they allow everyone to make changes easily to identify and demonstrate opportunities for simplifying and speeding up complex workflows. Aiding approvals processes and expediting change management initiatives.

This means more than being just a back-office administration tool, your next-generation ERP must be able to incorporate a variety of capabilities that connect every part of a nonprofit in order to ensure operational flexibility and collaboration, including:

  • Project management functionality
  • Anytime, anywhere access, with offline working 
  • Organizational visibility and planning
  • The ability to operate across multiple languages, regulatory jurisdictions, and currencies

Modern integrated solutions allow your people to link up data from all key sources for a holistic picture that reveals not just challenges, but also opportunities for growth and solutions to problems that you may not see coming until it’s too late with legacy systems.

Linking up your data also means better people planning and reporting capabilities. Imagine being able to connect project management plans with HCM and financial data so you can appropriately staff strategic projects, allocate appropriate funds, and prepare donor reports that meet complex restrictions.

With Financial Planning and & Analysis (FP&A), scenario planning, and predictive analytics give up-to-the-minute, unified financial pictures and allow what-if planning based on any number of possible funding and demand situations (while still keeping all your plans in compliance with regulatory frameworks and funding restrictions without any active management from your teams.)

The next evolution of nonprofit ERP provides the insights for innovative problem solving – even in complex environments

Nonprofit organizations and the environments they operate in – in the field, at the regulatory level, and in terms of competition for funding – aren’t getting any simpler. And the software you rely on has to be able to deal with this level of complexity – managing it for you so you can focus on more important things.

That means integrating the data you rely on across your organization that are key to your success and that have major impact on financial resilience and program performance, like:

  • CRM and fundraising
  • Grant management
  • Supply chain management
  • Project management connected to HCM and financial data for better people planning and donor reporting

Your next ERP must power a responsible digital foundation that does the job and gives you and your people confidence. SaaS based platforms are the logical choice here, reducing risk and making internal security measures easier through easily managed role-based permissions. We have the resources and dedicated focus on our platform security so you don’t have to, and we can take care of things at scale.

And the ability to intelligently automate rote processes means reduced errors and faster progress evaluation to ensure the health of programs, employees, and the organization as a whole.

The next evolution of nonprofit ERP is Unit4 ERPx

We’ve developed our next-generation SaaS ERP solution, ERPx, with the concerns, needs, and challenges of nonprofits in mind. Applying a modular design that allows individuals and teams to create custom functionalities easily. Intelligent automation that removes the strain of admin and data management and proactively highlights risks and opportunities. And a people experience that keeps everyone engaged with your mission and delivering impact at the project and community level.

Our customers are ready for the change.

We want to streamline integrations within our internal systems, strengthen forecasting and planning, and increase operational efficiency across finance and our frontline teams. The technology underlying Unit4’s new ERP generation means we could build integrations easily to improve processes for our people. The platform enables us to be effective, compliant, and streamlined so we can continue to provide positive impacts in the communities we serve.

Donna Wilby

Head of Strategic Planning at Golden Lane Housing

ERPx Unit4

Take your operations to the next level

To learn more about how to take your operations to the next level and continue your digital transformation check out Unit4 ERPx.