“The cycle starts with funders’ unrealistic expectations about how much running a nonprofit costs, and results in nonprofits’ misrepresenting their costs while skimping on vital systems—acts that feed funders’ skewed beliefs.” – The Stanford Social Innovation Review
Most Nonprofits are familiar with the “vicious cycle” defined above and know that skipping out on these vital systems only hurts the long term mission that donors want to see come to fruition. Yet, too often nonprofits end up barely getting by instead of educating donors on this misconception simply because that endeavor alone requires even more time and funds that nonprofits don’t have.
Instead of repeating the vicious cycle, nonprofits can set up a cost effective and thriving work ecosystem in two steps:
1. Say goodbye to paper and hello to Cloud Apps, and
2. Integrate those cloud apps, eliminating manual data entry for yourself.
Dealing With Nonprofit Specific Issues
Integration is when your cloud apps can seamlessly share data between each other. When this happens, there is no need to log in and out of different cloud apps or to copy information manually from your CRM (like Salesforce) to your accounting app (like Intacct or Quickbooks).
There are a lot of cloud apps and services that offer “integration” but there are a few nonprofit specific points that must be met by the service in order to yield a fully functioning ecosystem.
Nonprofits often experience a high volume of leads or donations and they need to be correctly transferred from your online form or email and into your CRM. This same information, like donor name, donation amount, and what cause was donated to must also be logged into your accounting app. First, you must choose cloud apps that are equipped to handle large numbers of records like Salesforce and Intacct.
With such a large number of records, manual data entry will almost always result in errors slipping through as well as take hours of time per week. That’s why, second, you must choose an integration service that can handle transferring large quantities of records, something that may not be apparent just from the integration service’s website. Nonprofits need a service that can handle large batches of data or move each transaction individually without fear of duplicates or bad data slipping through.
Nonprofits are generally running lean and that makes an expensive IT team or bigger enterprise integration services a huge investment. Look for a service that has special pricing for nonprofits and requires no coding.
Time to Implementation
An ecosystem sounds like a big undertaking, and though it will certainly require your attention to set up, it is wholly worth it based on the amount of time you will save in the future. Not all integration takes months to set up or needs to delay your work. Many no-code platforms only take days to implement and some just minutes, just make sure that they can also handle your volume and custom objects.
What other apps are you using at your nonprofit? Good integration services will have several strong integrations with popular business apps that you can add into your workflow.
These factors are all signs of a good integration service and a competent ecosystem for nonprofits. Connecting your cloud apps means time saved, errors and duplicates eliminated, and more time to focus on your cause! When you’re ready to start integrating, here is a complete list of pitfalls to avoid when integrating Salesforce and your accounting apps.
Want to start your own ecosystem? Join us for a webinar to learn how you can integrate Salesforce with your accounting apps on April 28 at 2:00 pm EDT.
Kristine Colosimo is an integration evangelist and writer for Workato. Workato began when a group of early integration experts came together to create a powerful, inexpensive DIY integration service with vast enterprise capabilities at a low price. To read more about Workato’s features, visit their website.