How Outsourcing and Automation Can Help Not-for-Profits Overcome Talent Scarcity

How Outsourcing and Automation Can Help Not-for-Profits Overcome Talent Scarcity

Not-for-profit organizations grapple with a persistent obstacle: talent scarcity. High turnover rates and the recent phenomenon of the Great Resignation have only compounded this issue. Despite the uphill battle, many organizations found a silver lining amidst the pandemic's chaos with COVID-related government funding that allowed them to maintain their staff and offer salary increases during a robust labor market. However, with that funding ending and inflation rising, not-for-profits are now faced with the daunting task of sustaining this momentum in a decidedly unpredictable landscape.

As traditional means of addressing talent gaps fall short, organizations should consider alternative solutions. One such solution — outsourcing — involves leveraging the expertise of third-party vendors, freelancers or contractors with specialized skill sets to meet organizational needs. Additionally, many organizations are advancing technological outsourcing, such as automation, to streamline operations and maximize efficiency.

By embracing these approaches, not-for-profit organizations can remain adaptable in the face of an ever-evolving economic landscape, ultimately ensuring continued growth and success.

The Benefits of Outsourcing

Finding the right support staff or professionals with specialized skills can be daunting for not-for-profit organizations. In the wake of the Great Resignation, which involved a significant exodus of highly skilled workers from traditional 9-5 jobs to freelance or contracting work, not-for-profits can tap into the changing labor force to their strategic advantage. By leveraging this pool of specialized skilled workers, not-for-profits can access a broader range of expertise at variable costs, allowing them to allocate their limited resources more efficiently.

Moreover, outsourcing allows organizations to disengage from an outsourced professional — such as a graphic designer — once a project, initiative, proposal or program is complete without long-term financial commitments. However, outsourcing year-round is also a potentially beneficially option that many not-for-profits utilize. Accounting, IT, legal services and human resources are some of the most commonly outsourced skills in the not-for-profit sector. These services can be outsourced to another part of the country or even another country, making it possible to unearth cost-savings through comparing a wider body of vendors.

The Challenges of Outsourcing

It's important to note that while offering several benefits, outsourcing can come with its own challenges, particularly in the case of critical functions such as accounting or human resources. For example, if your organization is experiencing staffing issues, your outside consultant might face similar challenges. Consequently, your organization could find itself in a precarious situation where it relies on a vendor that lacks the necessary resources to deliver the level of service your organization requires. This can result in delays, missed deadlines and increased costs, further complicating an already challenging situation. Additionally, outsourcing may not guarantee the same level of quality service as that provided by an internal team, which could affect the smooth functioning of your operations.

Another significant challenge organizations face when outsourcing is the loss of institutional knowledge. When external vendors handle key functions, the organization's accumulated knowledge and expertise in that area can diminish over time. Additionally, outsourcing can create a sense of disconnect between the organization and the third party, as the sense of allegiance and loyalty to the organization may not be as strong among the outsourced team.

Plus, the vendor's expectations may not always align with the organization's expectations, leading to miscommunications and a lack of satisfaction for both parties. When outsourcing key areas of an organization,  a best practice to follow is to ensure all senior outsourced positions are woven into the thread of an organization’s culture – by way of being included in the strategic decisions and meetings with senior members of the organization and the board. Organizations need make certain that the responsibilities of the outsourced finance process, for instance, is being maintained accurately and monitored for appropriate levels of financial governance and oversite by the board. As such, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing and develop strategies to mitigate any potential negative impacts.

Embracing Technological Help

To unlock new levels of efficiency and productivity, not-for-profits should consider following in the footsteps of the corporate world and utilizing technological outsourcing. By leveraging automation, not-for-profits can shed the burden of repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks, such as electronic billing and digitizing client data, and free up valuable time and resources. This newfound efficiency allows organizations to shift their focus to big-picture strategies that can bring about meaningful change.

Incorporating automation into their operations presents a myriad of possibilities for not-for-profit organizations. Some examples of how it can be used include:

  • Donor Management: Nonprofits can use automation to manage donor information, including tracking donations, generating thank-you letters and sending regular donor updates. This can help ensure that donors are engaged and connected to the organization.
  • Marketing and Communications: Through automation, organizations can create and schedule marketing and communications campaigns, including email newsletters and social media posts. This can help keep supporters engaged and informed about the organization's work and impact.
  • Fundraising: Automation can allow development departments to streamline their fundraising efforts, including donation processing and tracking, recurring giving programs and crowdfunding campaigns.
  • Volunteer Management: Automation can serve a key function in the management of volunteer programs, including volunteer registration, scheduling and communication. This can help ensure that volunteers are engaged and informed about the organization's needs and opportunities.
  • Program and Service Delivery: New automated technologies can allow organizations to streamline their program and service delivery, including scheduling and sending reminder for appointments, client communications, and data collection and analysis.

Despite the many benefits that automation can bring to nonprofit organizations, it's essential to remain mindful of the potential challenges that may arise. The cost and expertise required to implement and maintain automated systems, the technical expertise that will be required and the potential for data security breaches are all factors that demand careful consideration. Furthermore, it's essential to address any concerns or hesitations from stakeholders who may be hesitant to embrace automation due to the perceived threat to jobs or the loss of personal touch in relationships with the organization. For more information, connect with our experts.

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How Outsourcing and Automation Can Help Not-for-Profits Overcome Talent Scarcity organizations grapple with a persistent obstacle: talent scarcity.2023-02-27T18:00:00-05:00

Not-for-profit organizations grapple with a persistent obstacle: talent scarcity.

Employee ManagementNot-for-Profit & EducationTalent Acquisition/RecruitmentTechnology SolutionsDigital TransformationYes