Welcome everyone to our Technology Talk – Bridging the Gap Between Finance and Fund Development.Today we’re going to share some interesting statistics around behaviors and beliefs in the roles of today’s nonprofit CFO and fundraising professional. As you know, both groups are tied to revenue in the organization, but historically the world has looked at and treated finance and fundraising very differently. There isn’t much collaboration going on, which leads to communication breakdowns and each department functioning as an island or silo. We want to address the internal struggles that we see in so many nonprofits to help finance and fundraising function better – together.
My name is Tracy-Ann Palmer, and I’m the Chief Growth Officer at Billhighway.Talk about professional experience.
And I’m Pete Wardrope, a Growth Engineer at Billhighway.Talk about professional experience.
[TAP] Billhighway is based in Troy, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. We are a provider of cloud-based financial management software for nonprofits. At Billhighway, we live and breathe nonprofit organizations. It’s been our focus for over 13 years to bring integrated payment processing, accounting and online banking solutions to nonprofits in one, easy-to-use application. We currently have over 3,500 clients and over 243,000 end users of our software. Think of end users as your organization’s members or donors. We have managed over $7 billion in transactions and helped our clients redeploy over $125 million back into their missions, making quite a social impact.
From: “Small Businesses Seek Better Cash Flow Tools from Their Banks: Survey”, October 15, 2012 by Bank Technology Newshttp://www.americanbanker.com/issues/177_199/small-businesses-seek-better-cash-flow-tools-from-their-banks-survey-1053478-1.htmlIn new research, the company asked 355 small-business CFOs about their financial pain points and found many. "This is an opportunity for the banking industry to look at tools that help manage that back office problem of automating cash flows, automating payables and receivables," Lacerte says. "The data we have show that things aren't that automated.“ (Rene Lacerte, CEO of Bill.com)The top two challenges of CFO’s are: the inability to forecast results (51% of respondents) and to better manage cash flow (47% of respondents.)
The same survey found that executives are predicting cash flows with tools that are dated, such as an Excel spreadsheet. "These executives are predicting cash flows with tools that are dated, such as the Excel spreadsheet," Lacerte says; 73% of CFOs use Excel to manage cash. Another 8.5% use an ERP system, 8.3% say they do the calculations in their head, and 10.3% say they don't use any tools at all, according to the survey. "The problem with a spreadsheet is it's a static document, it's not dynamic, there's no way to take action against it," he says.
65% of CFO’s said they would consider the cloud if it saved dollars and staff hours. Bingo! The survey also found that 85% of CFOs say that reducing paper in accounts payable and receivable is important to them. When asked what they think are the biggest challenges in moving to a cloud environment:64.1% said integration with existing systems54.7% said system and network security43.6% said introducing a new process
Half of fundraisers in the top job would like to quit, dissatisfaction among fundraisers blamed on CEOshttp://philanthropy.com/article/Half-of-Fundraisers-in-the-Top/136577/The study, one of the biggest national surveys of its kind, gathered data from more than 2,700 development directors and charity heads who work at organizations of different sizes and missions. Among the key findings:• Half of the chief fundraisers plan to leave their jobs within two years or less. Forty percent are thinking about leaving fundraising entirely.In separate research done by Penelope Burk and reported in the Chronicle of Philanthropy last year stated that the average amount of time a fundraiser stays at his/her job is 16 months. The direct and indirect costs of finding a replacement come in at $127,650.http://philanthropy.com/blogs/prospecting/the-cost-of-high-turnover-in-fundraising-jobs/32752
Released in January 2013, “UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing Nonprofit Fundraising” reveals that systemic problems within nonprofits result in dissatisfied heads of development and fundraising feeling as though they are not reaching their potential. The study, a joint project of CompassPoint and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, highlights three key findings:1) High turnover and long vacancies;2) Lack of qualified candidates;3) Organizational cultures that don’t support fundraising success.Top fundraisers are too often working within a system that doesn’t approach fundraising holistically; despite development’s critical role in ensuring that the purpose of the organization is achieved (not to mention, simply keeping the lights on), often staff outside of development don’t feel connected to fundraising, don’t feel a responsibility for it and often don’t even understand it.- See more at: http://purpose.edelman.com/how-strategic-planning-engagement-can-improve-fundraising-for-nonprofits/#sthash.G9gXz6yc.dpuf
So how can your organization help to develop happier fundraisers? Effective development requires supportive infrastructure. Too often organizations create a single position without investing in support staff, systems and a culture of philanthropy required to sustain fundraising success. Without these pre-conditions no one individual can be effective. It’s a waste of resources and becomes a vicious cycle [See Stop the Nonprofit Fundraising Treadmill: 3 Reasons I Want to Get Off].Effective development requires operating more effectively so as not to leave money on the table. It’s not about giving fundraisers the cushy life. It’s about giving them the support, respect and satisfaction that will motivate them to work optimally.Effective development requires letting staff play to their strengths. No one is good at everything. If you ask folks to multi-task ad nauseum (talk to donors, submit grant proposals, write press releases, run events, build your website, run mail merges, order supplies and take on “other tasks as assigned”) you’ll get a diluted mess. It’s not practical, and years of strength-based leadership research show that it simply doesn’t work over the long term.If you relieve staff of tasks that they hate, you’ll get enhanced productivity[See Big Changes Help Hospital Attract More Big Gifts Much Faster]. This is a similar approach to the one taken by Gallup Strengths Finder, which has been used in businesses worldwide for some time. The premise is that playing to people’s strengths is infinitely more productive than playing to their weaknesses.
We’ve talked a little bit about technology, especially in regards to CFO’s and we know there’s a lot of room for improvement over the tools in use today. We know many fundraisers are unhappy in their jobs, and are spending time multi-tasking and performing tasks that they don’t enjoy. So how do we bring productivity, efficiency and peace into these vital roles? How do we help cultivate a collaborative environment, where finance and fundraising can focus on what they do best, AND, work together towards a common goal?Nonprofit software on the market today literally forces finance and fundraising departments to work separately. Think about it…Raiser’s Edge and Financial Edge. Both Blackbaud products, one’s donor management the other accounting, but they are not integrated. They’re not even cloud-based, you need to have software installed on each and every machine that needs access. Are you a Convio user? CommonGround is gone and Luminate is built on the Force.com platform. So now we’re talking cloud-based but there’s still no connection to the general ledger.In fact none of the donor management systems on the market today, integrate with accounting software. None.
We have seen some integration in the industry, but not much. Payment processors are starting to integrate with donor management systems. Some donor management systems have import/export capability to the GL, but what we mostly see is manual accounting entries. The trend in technology now is partnerships. Salesforce is working on building an all-in-one ecosystem for nonprofits and corporations alike. Billhighway’s focus in the market is in offline and online payment processing and systems integration. We’ve seen transformative results happen when an organization’s incoming cash, donor and campaign data, is automatically processed and written to the database of record and the accounting system all without human intervention. Based on the work we’ve done with Michigan nonprofits and member-based associations across the country, we’ve put together five ways your organization can work towards a more efficient back-office infrastructure that supports both finance and fundraising departments equally.
Have you ever heard comments like these in your organization?“I had to redo my thank you letters because donor data was incorrectly keyed into our donor management system”“Our finance team changed our lockbox provider, which reduced individual donor revenue by 5%”“Fund Development reports donations at $1.3 million YTD while Finance reports only $1 million. What gives?”“My donors are receiving multiple appeals in the mail because we have so many duplicate records in our database”This is just a sampling of the pet peeves we’ve heard in working with nonprofit finance and fund development groups.
So what’s the key to building a successful relationship between finance and fund development?The answer is communication. Better communication = through technology.Sharing knowledge and power about how money is managed in the organization is vital to both groups. But how do you share information when your teams are using disparate systems or manual processes to get things done? How can everyone get on the same page and speak the same language?I’m going to hand it over to Pete who will walk us through the five steps.
[PW] The first step to improving communication between finance and fund development is to eliminate manual tasks.Here’s an example.Pretend someone in your front office is responsible for opening donor checks by hand and photocopying each one. They give the checks to finance for deposit and at the same time, a copy goes to fundraising. Data from the checks is manually entered into a database and accounting codes are manually assigned. Someone has to check to make sure the total of entries in the donor management system matches the bank deposit. Thank you letters are then typically generated and mailed or sent via email. So what jumps out at you here? There are a number of people involved in this process. Does the manual nature of this seem secure? Why are we giving the same information being two different departments? If we’re talking about a hundred checks per day, how many hours does this process take?Quite often, we see organizations use technology to automate payment processing and bank reconciliation, automate matching of incoming payments to donors and campaigns and automatically post payments to the donor record and the GL, all with virtually no human intervention.Why should you care about getting rid of manual tasks? For one corporate and government grants are on the decline. That means you need to spend more time appealing to individual donors. There are 3 generations of donors out there – Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millenials. Do they all give the same? Do they all have the seem needs? Of course not. You need to spend time putting together an outreach plan that addresses each of these unique targets. The old way of doing things doesn’t necessarily work anymore.
[PW] Here are some additional reasons to consider automation…. Automating manual tasks increases time savings and data quality. Mistakes happen right? It’s inherent in human nature. They do happen less often with an automated system in place. You can reduce errors by taking manual efforts out.Multiple people handling manual payments is a common issue when fraud is exposed. Lockbox facilities for check processing are fast, accurate and highly secure and remove the manual handling of these payments.Imagine what you could do with those staff members dedicated to manual, and redundant work. Free those people up and put more focus on what your mission actually is.You can save hours that are typically dedicated to payment processing, donor matching and follow-up by automating these processes. Again, when you save these hours, you can free up resources to focus on donor relationships or more strategic financial activities like trend and revenue analysis.Our teams have seen organizations that have a single person who manages all data entry and that one person is the only one with knowledge of the process. Imagine the problem you’d have if that person left. Do you have other team members that can step in? If not, what’s your contingency plan? How much time would you spend trying to figure out how to get all that data into your donor management and accounting system? We know that time is money in the fundraising world, so are you losing potential revenue trying to pick up these pieces?[TAP] Another important consideration is succession planning. Is your organization taking retirement and turnover into consideration? 30%-40% of our current workforce is eligible for retirement right now, and 10,000 baby boomers are retiring on a daily basis. With a rules-based automated system in place, your repetitive financial tasks are taken care of, no matter who’s on the clock.
Example of Raiser’s Edge plug-in screen
[PW] Step 2 -Redundancy is something we see a lot of in the marketplace. Do you have multiple people performing the same tasks or parts of the same task?What about redundant systems? How many donor management systems or payment processors do you have in place?Are you using the old manual carbon copy forms (aka the “knuckle buster”) for onsite credit card donations or a variety of mobile payment solutions?And don’t forget about redundant processes. Do you collect donor data and payments at all fundraising events the same way? Or are you even missing out on collecting some because you have no good way to do it?So picture this – fund development enters information into your donor management system, and finance doesn’t have access to it. So fund development has to keep a separate spreadsheet to share with finance. There are multiple copies of the same data in different formats. This poses so many problems – how do you know the spreadsheet is current without a revision control process in place? Having multiple Excel files pose a huge security risk, especially when it’s sensitive donor and payment information. We’ve also seen organizations who host charity events where different systems are used onsite to track donations, with no consistent format in place. This information is then uploaded into multiple systems so each department can get the information they need.
[PW] We believe that banking, accounting and donor management systems should all live together. And what we mean by that is, you shouldn’t have to post entries in your accounting system and then manually reconcile with the banking software to ensure everything matches. Your donor management system should reflect donor payment data in real-time, all the time, as should your GL.Imagine this: your nonprofit has invested in some incredible technology that has streamlined tasks, increased efficiency and enabled you to focus more on your mission. You’ve made some good technology choices, but your department-specific systems don’t talk to each other. Acquiring technology to solve a specific problem without considering the bigger picture can wreak havoc on your organization. It’s important to take a holistic view of how all of your systems work together.Some common themes we see with nonprofits today is that they’re paying consultants thousands, sometimes tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to write custom programming to ensure data passes back and forth from one system to another. Other organizations manually upload data to multiple systems. Often donation reports pulled from the accounting system don’t match the reports pulled from the donor management system. The critical piece here is that we’ve seen the loss of donor data and nonprofits who are’nt capturing donor contact information at their fundraising events. There is a huge missed opportunity here to nurture those donors, form lasting relationships and increase loyalty and revenue.
[PW]So what should you do?Integrating your front and back-end systems is so important in a nonprofit organization today. You might find that you’re able to eliminate certain systems that overlap or perform similar functions. This could save you significant amounts in subscription or licensing fees. How about process improvement? Maybe you can start to streamline processes now by getting your systems to talk to each other. Integration also increases visibility to data across all platforms. Anyone notice that all three of the steps we’ve covered so far dovetail into one another? Each one of the five steps that we’re covering builds upon the last and helps to bridge the communication gap between finance and fund development.What we’re doing today is working with each of our clients to help optimize their current technology environment, promote the value of standardization within their organization, and help figure out the most effective implementation plan for their businesses.
[PW] The fourth step to increasing communication between departments is to provide visibility into your financials. With a cloud-based software solution, you gain access to your financial data anytime, anywhere, from a desktop or laptop computer or mobile device. Cloud-based software is typically configured in a way that assigns roles to staff members so that they can only see what you want them to see, therefore your data is visible to everyone that needs it, and nobody else.How many nonprofits do you know of that have limited resources, part-time staffers or volunteers who are responsible for managing the books? Probably most of them.Often you have working parents with small children, who may need to work from home on occasion if a child is sick. It’s also considered a nice perk to offer your employees the ability to work from home, as society moves towards a more flexible work/life balance. If you have on-premise software that can only be accessed from a desktop computer at the office, your staff members may be limited in what they can do remotely, or completely unable to. Cloud-based software is a great solution to solving this problem since anyone with a web browser can typically access anything they need from anywhere. Limited access to software means limited ability to make decisions and move quickly. What if your board wanted financial data in 2 hours for an important decision and your CFO was working from home? Without remote access to the system, your team is limited in what they can do and how quickly they can do it.
[PW] With both finance and fund development accessing the same financial system, you’re building financial literacy across the organization. Both teams get insight into accounting standards, current balances, campaign revenues, total dollars processed and outstanding appeals.Increased transparency also drives shared responsibility. Giving both your fund development and finance teams access to the budget and where the income is coming from – including fundraising plans and expenses – helps engage everyone in supporting the organization and increases confidence in resource allocations. Since everyone has access to the same data, you can now start to invest in cross-departmental planning and development sessions focused on the strategy of your organization as opposed to the execution of mundane tasks.
[PW] Here are some of the things we are thinking about and making available to nonprofits. We’re providing access to donor data and payment information in a different way. This keeps us up at night because we know there’s got to be a better way than how it’s currently being done. In the top left we show the current cash account balances available to the organization today. This is real-time data.Below that is Total Dollars Processed by source. Knowing this information may allow you to make an on-the-fly decision about where to focus your efforts in the immediate future.On the top right we have what we call an Appeals Report: you can select campaign appeals by date sent and view bouncebacks revenue in relation to how fast thank-you letters were sent out.And lastly on the bottom right we show the Donor Contribution Summary: this allows you to view current year donations by repeat and new donors, as well as a visual representation of total donations for year-to-date.All of these views and reports are configurable based on your specific need and are based on pre-defined automated rule sets.
[PW] One of the best ways to improve communication between departments and ensure fund development is spending their time where they need to – is to take the role from a transactional one to a relationship-based one. How can technology help you accomplish that? A growing number of charities are competing for a scarce number of qualified fundraisers. A recent report stated that 70% of fundraisers planned to leave their jobs in the next two years. When you lose your fundraising staff, you lose the relationship that has been built with individual donors and you have to start all over again with someone new. One of the ways nonprofits can retain these vitally important employees is to give them more responsibility, and responsibility that aligns with their passion and skill set. This is what we mean when we talk about a relationship-based role. If people are doing what they love, they won’t want to leave.We can help you empower your fund development team by eliminating back office activities like data entry and record matching. With accurate data at their fingertips, your fund development team has access to common reports, the same ones that finance has access to, in real-time with donor and payment data in detail.Providing an easy way to manage appeal exceptions quickly and easily through a shared user interface expedites the thank you letter process and guarantees accuracy. By eliminating mundane office tasks, we can help your team innovate by leveraging social media tools like Facebook to increase and diversify your revenue stream. Free up fund development to work towards better ways to communicate donor impact, to increase loyalty and gain more donors.
Example of Raiser’s Edge plug-in screen
Example of Raiser’s Edge plug-in screen
[TAP] Thanks Pete. So let’s recap the five steps we’ve outlined today on how technology can improve communication between finance and fund development.By eliminating manuals tasksBy eliminating redundancyBy integrating existing systemsBy providing visibility into financialsBy transforming fund development
It’s a good idea to periodically evaluate the systems you have in-house to see if they are meeting your needs now and into the future. A few key questions to ask yourself:Do you have files with paper payment information? This could pose a safety and security issue.Do you have PCI compliance issues around handwritten payment information?Do online donations to your organization go straight into your donor management system or do you have to key it in or run daily import?Do you have a requirements document?Does your lockbox support credit card payments?Does your accounting solution support ACH payments and refunds?
When considering bringing new technology in house, be sure to ask potential vendors the following questions:Do you charge licensing fees?Do you charge a consulting fee?Do I need to rip and replace my existing technology or can you work with what I already have?Does your solution provide online banking and payment processing that integrates to my donor management system and general ledger?
Based on survey of 1,000 people and Google query data, people begin thinking about potential donations well in advance of the holiday season.In fact, 21% of those who plan to give during the holiday months decide who they’ll give to as early as September.Salsa Labs looked at the donation volumes of 378 nonprofits on Giving Tuesday 2012, the inaugural year of the program. Nonprofits were able to raise 33% more on Giving Tuesday in 2012 than the same day in 2011. It makes sense to put together your plan for leveraging Giving Tuesday now, and Billhighway can help.
About Giving TuesdayGiving Tuesday proves that the holidays can be about both giving and giving back. It celebrates how we can do more with our wallets than just shop – and that we can give as good as we get. Donations were up 33% for nonprofits who participated in Giving Tuesday in 2012 versus 2011.GivingTuesday is “an opening day to the giving season.” How Billhighway can helpAs a 2nd year partner of Giving Tuesday, we want to help Michigan nonprofits raise more money. So we are going to waive all transaction fees for Give, our mobile fundraising tool for Giving Tuesday, December 3rd. Square and most retail mobile card readers charge at least 2.75%, we will charge 0.00% on 12/3. That means every single $ YOU raise using Give on Dec 3, will go directly to your cause. EVERY…SINGLE…DOLLAR.We will honor this offer for the first 10 people who fill out our online form. The URL is in your copy of the presentation handout.Note: free card reader for that day. The 0% is good for up to $10,000’s raised on December 3rd only, using Give.
[TAP] Just for fun we have a 5 question quiz about West Michigan with some cool prizes. I only have one prize per correct answer, so if you know the answer raise your hand and I’ll call on you.
Transcript of "Bridging the Gap Between Finance & Fundraising - MNA Superconference"
Bridging the Gap Between
Finance & Fund Development
Chief Growth Officer
Making a difference
Who is Billhighway?
ALL WE DO
Top CFO Challenges Today
What You Need to Know About CFO’s
Inability to forecast results (51.1%)
Better manage cash flow (47.4%)
“Small Businesses Seek Better Cash Flow Tools from Their Banks:
Survey”, October 15, 2012 by Bank Technology News
Managing Cash with Outdated Tools
Excel – 73%
No Tools – 10%
ERP System – 9%
In their Head – 8%
Consider the Cloud
65% would if it saved dollars
and staff hours
85% reducing paperwork is
64% integration with existing
55% system and network
44% introducing a new
“Half of Fundraisers in the Top Job Would Like to Quit,”
Chronicle of Philanthropy, January 2013
“The Cost of High Turnover in Fundraising Jobs”
Chronicle of Philanthropy, April 2012
Lack of holistic
understand the role
“UnderDeveloped: A National Study of Challenges Facing
Nonprofit Fundraising” January 2013
Develop Happier Fundraisers
Let staff play to their
Relief from tasks they
- Stop the Nonprofit Fundraising Treadmill: 3 Reasons I Want to Get Off
- Big Changes Help Hospital Attract More Big Gifts Much Faster
- Gallup Strengths Finder
I had to redo my thank you
letters because donor data was
incorrectly keyed into our donor
My donors are receiving multiple
appeals in the mail because we
have so many duplicate records
in our database.
Fund Development reports
$1.3 million in YTD contributions
while Finance reports only
$1 million. What gives?
Our finance team changed our
lockbox provider, which reduced
individual donor revenue by 5%.
The same people
performing the same
Multiple systems with
No revision control
Unprotected data poses
a security risk
Integrate Existing Systems
Are you paying high
Are you exporting and
importing data from one
system to another?
Do you run multiple
reports from different
systems and then
Are you losing or not
retaining critical donor
Cost Savings & Data Integrity
Provide Visibility into Financials
No remote access to
controls in place
Inability to make
decisions and act
BUILD FINANCIAL LITERACY
MORE STRATEGIC DECISIONS
Transform Fund Development
donor impact using
Giving Tuesday Promotion
December 3rd, 2013
0% Transaction Fee for Give
One Free Card Reader
nearly $1 out of every $5 raised online
comes from a donation made in December
…learn how Billhighway can help!
First 10 Respondents
How Well Do You Know West Michigan?
What city was just named 13th nationwide as the most generous?
Grand Rapids (nerdwallet.com, 9/30/13)
What was one of the names Lake Michigan was referred to in the 1600’s?
Grand Lac, Lac de Illinois, Lake of the Puans, Lake of the Stinking Water
Who brought a bi-plane to the September 3, 1911 West Michigan Fair?
The Wright Brothers
What was John Ball’s occupation? (John Ball Park Zoo)
What actor who appeared in many films with Katherine Hepburn,
was part of a Grand Rapids acting troupe in his early career?
Start a Conversation
Tracy-Ann Palmer, Chief Growth Officer
Pete Wardrope, Growth Engineer
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