There is nothing straightforward about managing a nonprofit organization. It takes much effort to seek funds, hire and retain workforce, and in the long run, deliver on your mission. Perhaps you are working towards improving education, reducing poverty, conserving the environment, or advocating on behalf of a spiritual, religious, or political movement. Regardless of your calling, it’s certain that some of your laudable efforts will be more visible than others.
Therefore, how do you know which programs or undertakings are the most advantageous to your organization? While it can be quite easy to analyze the benefits of a specific campaign or program, it’s not usually so straightforward to put a value on the work your employees or volunteers do. That is where the practice of tracking time becomes essential.
Rather than tracking time “because someone told you to”, top nonprofits take advantage of the crucial data realized by tracking time. With this data, they are better positioned to deliver on their undertakings and effect meaningful change.
Below are ways in which nonprofits benefit from tracking time.
1. Accessing organizational performance
By tracking your employees or volunteers’ time, nonprofit organizations are able to ascertain the true cost of any program. From calling donors to writing newsletters to developing a social media awareness plan, tracking time reveals the time spent – and associated costs – of any assignment. This data, when examined across different programs provide nonprofit owners and other interested parties, with transparency into how the organization is performing.
Basically, by evaluating time and costs of activities, it becomes very easy to allocate resources and effectively manage budgets. When appropriately utilized, time tracking software empowers the right employees to work on the right tasks for the right number of hours.
2. Increased funding
Whether applying for funding, renewing existing grant requests, or preparing for a meeting with donors, time racking provides critical data that underlines exactly where funds are being spent. With more comprehensive cost and budget data, nonprofit owners or managers are easily able to tie outlays to outcomes and make a stronger presentation for extra funding. Nonprofits can legitimately promise donors how they will use the funds and most importantly, be able to demonstrate it with reports generated by a time tracker.
3. Effective preparation for audits
At a minimum, nonprofit organizations are compelled by state and federal wage-and hour’s law to maintain some sort of time tracking. These laws require organizations to record amount of time worked by hourly employees. Even for those nonprofits that do not pay their employees by the hour; they need a proof of time worked to handle disputes that are related to wages and employees’ exempt status. With a time tracker, nonprofits can get a reliable paperless trail which not only offers DCAA compliant logs but also gives a proof of accuracy and accountability.
4. Staffing is easier for nonprofits
How many volunteers do you need to run your foundation? What is the right number of staff needed for each of your campaigns? How do you schedule your team members across various projects? How much time does it take to train new members of your staff?
These questions are practically impossible to answer if you do not have any kind of supporting data on hand. As long as the tracking system your nonprofit is using has the basic cost reporting features and team members can easily enter the amount of time spent on every project, the answers to these vital questions then become apparent, whenever they are needed.
5. Nonprofits get more out of their volunteers
Would it be good if most of the volunteers came back every time you needed help in your organization? Volunteers are always willing to help if only; you accommodate, and treat them well. Time tracking allows nonprofits to document the time spent – and put a value – to the services their volunteers provide. With the help of data generated by a time tracker, nonprofits then can offer incentives and rewards that ensure their volunteers feel appreciated.
6. Improved productivity
Many may consider time tracking just as a means of monitoring what the employees are doing. However, this is far from the truth. Time tracking is about understanding processes so that in one way or another, they can be improved. Again, managers of nonprofits don’t need to be running up and down checking what their employees are doing since this can be displayed in the tracking system. Obviously, this frees up managers time to concentrate more on important issues such as running and achieving the organization’s objectives.
Nonprofits should never overlook time tracking
There are many good reasons why nonprofit organizations should make time-tracking their priority. Time is gone when managers had difficulties, allocating the right amount of time to different funding sources. Nonprofit owners or managers just need a modern time tracking system like AccountSight, which has special features that relate to nonprofits. Also keep in mind, a lot of modern tracking platforms integrate with popular accounting, HR, communication and management applications that nonprofits use.