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AcctTwo Blog

Bringing the Future Into Focus: 5 Tools for Nonprofit Planning

Nonprofit PlanningNonprofits don't get enough credit for their savvy strategic thinking. They have to sustain themselves and secure growth just like any private enterprise. But they must do it with tighter budgets, tougher restrictions, and higher standards for transparency and accountability.

It's an impressive achievement that nonprofits are able to balance boldness with prudence so successfully. But it's also a challenge. When every dollar of every donation or grant matters, nonprofits can't afford to make bad bets or hasty decisions. Otherwise, they could put their mission, reputation, or future in jeopardy.

Careful planning is key, but it's a lot easier to look backwards than forwards. This is especially true at nonprofits where expertise is in social issues rather than finance and accounting. Nonprofits must optimize the resources they already have in order to build foresight and certainty into the planning process.

Thanks to advances in data-driven, cloud-based technologies, nonprofits have more tools than ever for planning. Here are five that are helping today's nonprofits plan confidently for the future:

  1. Dimensional Planning – Instead of using spreadsheets to track budgets and planning, nonprofits are using tools that build flexibility and granularity into the process. It's easy to forecast individual funds, programs, projects, grants, seasons, or locations thanks to planning tools that adapt to the unique needs of nonprofits.
  2. Automated Reporting – Rather than spending dozens of hours on manual financial reporting, nonprofits are relying on intelligent automation to handle the workload. It's possible to create financial statements and regulatory filings with just a few clicks. That allows decision makers to access up-to-date and in-depth financial insights at anytime.
  3. Customized Interfaces – There are other planning tools out there, but few are customized for nonprofits, and when they are they assume every nonprofit is identical. Newer tools are designed to accommodate the unique workflows, metrics, and priorities of specific nonprofits – Arts & Culture, Associations, Education, Faith-Based, Health and Human Services, and Foundations.
  4. Donor Modeling – These new tools compile and analyze much larger sets of data, which gives non-profits a nuanced view of their funds and donors. That allows for sophisticated donor modeling that effectively forecasts when, where, and why donations will be contributed. Nonprofits are now able to make plans with a clear understanding of their future finances.
  5. Rolling Forecasts – A forecast that is accurate today could become irrelevant tomorrow due to changing circumstances. Smarter technologies make forecasting so easy that nonprofits are able to do it on a continual basis. There is never any delay to get insights, and there is never any doubt those insights are accurate and current.

These tools are designed to help nonprofits elevate how they use accounting data for strategic purposes. More importantly, they are designed to make strategic accounting easy and accessible for nonprofits on a mission. That is why Adaptive Insights is quickly becoming the leading nonprofit planning solution.

When you're ready to replace uncertainty with confidence and clarity, contact AcctTwo for a nonprofit consultation.

Topics: Not-for-profit Industry non-profit Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting