Robotic Process Automation for Nonprofits

October 14, 2020

Efficiency and cost-effectiveness are key to realizing nonprofit organizations’ missions. With modern technology, these key goals can be achieved through the use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is a form of software that uses bots to automate repetitive processes. Each task that is taken over by RPA uses a bot. This allows for customization by organizations to meet their needs and choose how many processes to automate.

Many functions of a nonprofit organization’s finance department are repetitive and do not require analysis. Examples of these functions include vendor management, maintaining and updating accounts payable and accounts receivable balances, donation management, and financial reporting. While these functions may require an analysis of the processed information, the processing itself can be done via RPA.

Utilizing RPA can reduce costs for nonprofit organizations, as well as save time and increase employee productivity and satisfaction. Organizations may be hesitant to implement RPA due to the cost, but over time, the use of an RPA system can lead to overall cost reductions due to the time it will save. Employees will have more time to focus on the aspects of their jobs that provide a higher value to the organization and directly or indirectly assist in the organization’s fundraising activities. The use of RPA will also help to prevent human error in the processes the system will carry out, saving time that would have been spent detecting and correcting errors. When employees are not focused on redundant, time-consuming tasks, they are free to work on their more fulfilling duties. The resulting increase in employee satisfaction can lead to decreased turnover, further reducing costs.

Not only can the finance department benefit from the use of RPA, but the system can be used to benefit membership development as well. RPA bots can be used to maintain donor and member information, as well as process communications received from members and donors. This could assist in building membership and donor bases, maintaining good relationships with existing members and donors, and running successful fundraising campaigns.

The cost of implementing RPA varies based on a number of factors, and different systems can be found to fit with each organization’s needs and budget. With the potential of several significant benefits for a nonprofit organization, both in finance and membership development, Robotic Process Automation is a tool that should be considered to assist in achieving the organization’s mission.

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