Access to timely information is a critical resource for any international development organization. Yet, it is regularly overlooked or written off due to the challenges of global organizations often working in remote locations. The good news is that there are tools that can help you better harness the power of information on grants, resources, and expenses to improve funding, increase efficiency and compliance, and better serve your community.
The importance of access
Access to real-time information is one of the most vital inputs to an organization’s mission. It provides insight into funding, resource cost, and program performance. It helps organizations achieve their goals by understanding what does and doesn’t work for certain populations or programs.
From funding and grants to program management, the ability to collect, review, analyze, and communicate detailed data across the organization helps improve efficiency while impacting the overall mission.
The time and expense data collected from your organization can be used to:
- Communicate with funders: The ability to communicate programmatic and financial information concisely and efficiently can help you secure more funding for your organization.
- Improve efficiency: Accurate time and expense data allow you to better allocate resources of the organization so that programs are aligned with grants or private donations while minimizing expenses that aren’t part of your mission.
The power of automation
Automated time tracking and expense software can streamline complex processes and provide an actionable snapshot of key operational data.
While many organizations have a good idea of how much money they’ve raised and spent, they might not know how many hours their staff members are working or what exactly expenses spent went toward. Organizations can use time and expense data to better understand their programs’ efficiency, effectiveness, productivity, and performance.
- Time spent on a specific service or program by country and region
- Time spent on a particular activity within a service or program
- Travel and other expenses per grant/fund
The good thing is that industry-specific software to manage timesheets and expense reporting can help with this process.
Reducing administrative burden
Your organization can reduce time spent on administrative tasks by automating tedious manual input processes. Do you know what’s not an effective use of time? Data entry. Even if you’re using technology that makes data entry faster, it’s still incredibly inefficient and time-consuming.
So how do you reduce the amount of time spent on administrative tasks? You automate manual input processes. And what happens once you’ve automated all your data entry needs? You can focus on growing your organization or having fun at work instead!
Tips for collecting valuable data
To collect data from employees and volunteers, you’ll need to know what information to ask for. This can be divided into two categories: general information about their time and expenses and what project they’re working on.
- General information: This includes their name, contact information, hours worked (including time spent commuting), positions held at your organization, and what they’ve spent
- Project-related data: This includes information about the task, which can be traced back to the funding source.
Tracking data clearly from those you serve can help you focus your efforts, gain support from funding sources, and better serve your organization’s needs.
Learn more about data
“Data Is The New Best Friend Of Your Nonprofit” is a webinar we are presenting to the Humentum community, exploring how time and expense data can better help organizations. We will share a solution that helps make data more straightforward to manage.
Tracking data can help you focus efforts, gain support from funding sources, and better serve your organization’s needs.
We hope this overview has given you some ideas about how time and expense data can be used. It’s a powerful tool for organizations, but it does take some work to implement effectively. Determining what information is necessary for each level of your organization will help ensure that your time-tracking software provides the right data at all levels. Timely access to reports and analytics can also help you manage expenses more efficiently by enabling real-time decision-making instead of waiting until monthly bills are due or next year’s budget planning cycle begins.