Lightbulb moments for truly impactful planning | Unit4
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Lightbulb moments for truly impactful planning

from  July 5, 2021 | 3 min read

Imagine if you could connect everything: planning, data, people, budgeting, absolutely everything. Would that help your nonprofit make more impact? 

Sounds exciting, but apart from bringing everything together, why is connecting everything necessary for meaningful impact? 

People rely on you. Who do you rely on?

 Real people count on your nonprofit’s mission. Whether it’s conducting meaningful research or delivering vital services that improve lives, what you do is necessary—and more so every day.  

The challenge most nonprofits face is meeting growing demand with the same or, in some cases, fewer resources. It’s a situation most nonprofits will be familiar with. Doing more with less is not a new concept for the sector, with many increasingly plugging gaps left by the public sector. But knowing that doesn’t make dealing with it any easier. 

With uncertainty at an all-time high, focusing on more mature and comprehensive budgeting and planning to ensure organizational resilience is crucial. Why? So you’re prepared to deliver impact to those who count on you, no matter what pressures you face. 

Data bliss or system miss

 The big question for most nonprofits today is how do you get to a state of such data bliss? Where you can trust and access all your data instantly, let alone make insightful and actionable decisions using it. 

And when your organization has an ecosystem of hundreds of applications, this becomes more challenging. Our research indicates that most organizations operate using between 100 and 250 software applications. For many nonprofits, the thought of trying to connect an ecosystem of this size can seem impossible. 

The reality we discovered in our research was that during the pandemic, 15% of nonprofits were unprepared in any way for an emergency that required staff to work from home. Disparate and unconnected systems meant people struggled to access data or complete tasks they needed to do in the course of their daily work. 

Because of this, 43% of nonprofits have now made connecting “labor intensive and disjointed manual processes” their top priority. With 81% of nonprofits maintaining or increasing their tech spend to get there. Download our infographic for data on the power of connected systems

But just how much can you connect, and what is the impact for your nonprofit? 

All apps aren’t created equal

Of course, some apps are crucial to your people’s work every day and could present a complete picture of your operations and performance data if only you integrated them. Imagine the supercharged effect of all this data painting a holistic picture of your operations from the resources needs of your projects as a result of impending increases in demand, to the effect of funding restrictions on program performance – not to mention the impact of using data across all your vital systems without having to re-key or run batch uploads.   

The wisdom of the modern world is that no one technology can be everything to an organization – your mission and your people are unique, with unique needs, and you’re constantly evolving.  

The fact is, you need to be more flexible and have the ability to connect vital functionalities and data from the systems and sources that are important to you both now and in the future when needs change. The good news is that modern enterprise tools do just that. You can integrate your owned and third-party sources and bring all your disparate data into a single source of truth. Letting you power deeper insights and better decision-making with information you can trust, visualize and interrogate according to your needs. 

Now is the time to invest

After what we've learned from recent events, now is the time to invest in sophisticated planning tools that help your nonprofit make the best possible decisions, informed by accurate data, so that you can plan confidently for any eventuality or opportunity. 

Connecting data and people helps improve financial resilience and decisions. It does this by enabling more impactful collaboration and program delivery. But more specifically, it lets you integrate data, increase speed and agility, optimize workflows and processes, and plan for just about anything.