The mission of nonprofits is to serve the common good, so they have a lot in common with grant management software for nonprofits. Both groups rely on volunteers and donations to keep their organizations afloat. However, the difference between a for-profit group and a nonprofit organization is that for-profits must raise money, while nonprofits depend on donations and grants from people or other sources. There are many ways in which nonprofits can use grant management software for tracking, organizing, and analyzing grant money.
One way that nonprofits can track their grant applications is by using a searchable database to find those programs that are available from the US government, but they cannot currently apply for. When a nonprofit has this kind of information, they can perform a detailed review process to see if there is any competition, and if so, what the anticipated costs would be and if it would be worth the effort for them to pursue the funding. This review process can also help a nonprofit decide if they should request a grant from a specific agency, as well as identify any issues or questions that might arise after requesting the funding.
Connecting each program to its corresponding social solutions
Another way that grant management software for nonprofits can analyze grant seeking and utilize ERP for nonprofits is by connecting each program to its corresponding social solutions. There are some examples of social solutions, such as providing services to low-income families, providing health care, and supporting education. There are some programs that do not fall into one of these categories, such as disaster recovery funds, clean up efforts, and a variety of other “social” programs. When these types of programs are identified, the software can be used to create workflows that make it easy for grant seekers to access them.
Some of the functions that may be performed by an ERP for nonprofits include employee self-management, budgetary management, human resources management, and financial audit. Nonprofits can also incorporate procurement systems into their grant management software, but this is not recommended unless they already have an in-house procurement software program. The procurement functions performed by most of these systems are often complicated and require the user to have a comprehensive understanding of contract law and business practices. Nonprofits that choose to implement an ERP system with one of the available non-profit vendor solutions will save money by avoiding having to provide training for employees who will then not have the necessary skills to perform the functions.
One third type of grant management tools for nonprofits is a pre-built platform that is available through a central office. The platforms are designed to be easily integrated with the other grantmaking tools a nonprofit has in place. These platforms can be purchased and used for less than $500 per year and have many of the same functionalities of the more expensive software systems. Although these are cheaper than purchasing the more expensive systems, some of the functions are limited, and it is not possible to integrate every aspect of the business with the website. Another issue is that some of these platforms are not supported by federal agencies, leaving users at a disadvantage when it comes to obtaining certain funds. The platforms also have less functional capabilities than the more expensive options.
The last two categories of grant management solutions for nonprofits are web based and proprietary. Web-based platforms have the additional advantage of being capable of integrating with the grantmaking systems a nonprofit already has in place. However, many of the nonprofits may not have a server or the staff to install the software on their own server. Also, web-based programs can be slow, clogged by adware and security threats, and require a high degree of computer skill. Although there are a few nonprofits that have chosen to use web-based grant software as part of their grantmaking strategy, the majority have decided to go with the more expensive proprietary options.