How Tech Can Help Overcome Nonprofit Organization Challenges

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Nonprofit work can be enormously rewarding, but it also comes with major obstacles. While nonprofit organization challenges are often similar to those faced by for-profit businesses, there are unique hurdles to overcome – and it must be done with very limited resources. 

Behavioral health and human services (BHHS) nonprofits are particularly hard hit. These organizations not only confront inadequate staffing and heightened post-pandemic patient demand, but they also frequently fall behind the curve with tech adoption. 

So what can you do to ensure you meet these challenges for better outcomes overall? Explore the biggest challenges facing nonprofits and potential solutions to help your organization thrive, even with restricted resources.

What Are the Most Pressing Nonprofit Organization Challenges in 2024?

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Nonprofits continuously face hurdles across all areas of operations, but many of the biggest nonprofit organization challenges result from outdated technology. Here are some of the most significant nonprofit management challenges to address in 2024.

Maintaining Accurate Data to Report to Funders

While many for-profit businesses must report to investors or board members, nonprofits have the added pressure of demonstrating smart spending and positive outcomes despite limited funding and resources.

Stakeholders, such as funders and nonprofit board members, want to know exactly how money is spent and what outcomes are generated. Moreover, sites like Charity Navigator grade nonprofit organizations based on their impact and outcomes, transparency, and financial accountability.

In ContinuumCloud’s 2024 Behavioral Health Industry Trends Report, only one-third of respondents noted that their organization currently has access to both the big-picture data and drill-down analytics necessary to report on key metrics. This can create problems in terms of retaining donors and government funding. 

However, nonprofit leadership can easily address this issue by choosing software solutions with built-in business intelligence tools. Solutions like ContinuumCloud’s human capital management (HCM) platform deliver real-time analytics on staffing and labor spending in an easily accessible format to help you access and share data quickly.

Lagging Behind in Technology Modernization

Having modernized and secure technology solutions is particularly crucial for nonprofits in the behavioral health and human services industry. BHHS orgs handle significant amounts of sensitive data that must be easily accessible to providers and patients yet must be secured from any unauthorized parties. However, behavioral health providers often lag behind other healthcare specialities in IT adoption and technology.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently launched a technology modernization program for behavioral health organizations after finding that many still aren’t using modernized electronic health record (EHR) software and are falling behind in implementing digital patient engagement tools. 

This industry-wide problem can make it harder for both patients and providers to access care information and communications in real time. With a robust, user-friendly electronic health record (EHR) platform, not-for-profit organizations can simplify workflows and gain access to tools that help everyone work smarter.

Holding On to Ineffective, Manual Processes

Nonprofits are often behind the times in terms of daily workflows and procedures. Many hold on to inefficient processes that most for-profit businesses have already moved on from years ago. Each inefficient process results in added labor costs due to the additional time required to complete it. 

Pro tip: To see how much your organization might be wasting on these processes, check out our labor cost calculator

For nonprofits already struggling with too much to do and too few staff members to get it all done, this wasted time can be costly. Automating workflows instead of holding on to manual processes allows organizations to better use staff time. Tools like HCM systems and EHRs can simplify common manual processes such as billing, payroll, and more.

Creating Smooth Transitions for Staffing Changes

Employee turnover continues to be one of the most pressing nonprofit organization challenges. The nonprofit sector is often stymied by lower workforce salaries and higher rates of employee burnout while BHHS organizations continually struggle with staffing shortages. As orgs continue to focus on retention initiatives, it’s also important that they build processes to allow for a smooth transition when turnover does occur.

You don’t want employees to be confused about who they are supposed to report to when someone leaves, or for patients to experience an interruption in care. As such, tools like Position Control can help maintain a clear organizational structure even when someone leaves the company. 

Staying In Touch With Past Clients and Families 

The people your nonprofit helps will often become your strongest advocates down the line. Past clients can help with fundraising and marketing by giving heartfelt testimonials. They are also future potential donors or volunteers, as many people want to give back to the organizations that have helped them.

Today, the best way to stay in touch with program alumni and their families is through consistent digital communication. This can occur through social media, email newsletters, or a mobile app. However, nonprofits often don’t have enough internal resources dedicated to marketing and alumni networking. 

To simplify the process, ContinuumCloud offers a convenient CaredFor app to help nonprofits stay connected with program alumni and families. Your nonprofit organization can interact with and engage members through public posts on the app or privately message with individuals.

Choosing How to Best Allocate Resources

With such limited resources, nonprofit leaders must make tough decisions on how to best allocate resources and which programs to expand — and it can be difficult to get a clear view of which programs have the highest demand and which are currently the most profitable. Even nonprofits have to consider the bottom line and look for ways to expand revenue-generating programs to keep themselves afloat.

HCM software can help organizations track open roles and labor spending to decide how to best allocate staffing resources to each program. Choosing an EHR with built-in billing and revenue cycle management functionality can also simplify the process of reviewing revenue generated across different programs. This data can then be used to determine which ones to prioritize for further investment and expansion.

Technology Is Often the Root of the Problem for Nonprofits

It’s clear that many of today’s nonprofit organization challenges come down to technology — or the lack thereof. Nonprofit organizations, particularly those in the human services and behavioral health fields, tend to be behind the curve with tech adoption. 

Those lacking HR software solutions, such as an HCM system, are unable to closely track and project labor spending and keep up with employee-focused initiatives to improve training or address burnout. Meanwhile, those who are late to adopt EHRs and patient engagement tools may find it difficult to keep accurate, easily accessible records, manage scheduling, and maintain consistent communication with patients and their families.

Even when BHHS nonprofits adopt newer technologies, they often struggle to find solutions that are the right fit for their organizational model. Nonprofits have different needs and challenges than for-profit businesses, particularly in the area of strategic HR management

That’s why it’s vital to work with technology providers that understand your company’s needs. The team at ContinuumCloud developed solutions specifically for BHHS orgs. Because the onboarding and customer service staff understand the industry, you can rely on personalized support to improve processes across the board.

The Right Tools Can Help You Overcome Nonprofit Organization Challenges

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Managing the day-to-day of a nonprofit organization can feel like an uphill battle, but with the right technology to bolster you up, it can get easier. Many nonprofits are still carrying on with outdated (or borderline nonexistent) technology that fails to deliver the support necessary to thrive in an increasingly complex landscape. But this doesn’t have to be the case for your nonprofit.

ContinuumCloud offers tailored tech solutions that directly address the needs of BHHS nonprofits. Whether you’re looking to better harness your data for decision-making and fundraising, or support alumni programming initiatives, ContinuumCloud’s suite of software solutions can help.

Contact us today to learn how you can leverage these tools to overcome your top challenges.

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