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Not-for-Profit Automation

January 8, 2020
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming a wide array of industry sectors and presents an opportunity for nonprofits to enhance their operations as well. AI-based tools and robotic process automation (RPA) will help not-for-profit organizations do more with less by automating certain work processes, eliminating work errors, and reducing time spent on manual tasks.

What is Robotic Process Automation

RPA is software that can be configured to simulate user activities across your current information technology applications. This allows your organization to streamline repetitive tasks that are consistent and repeatable, while performing these activities faster and with fewer errors than humans can. The results allow your employees to focus on supporting key decisions and focusing on analysis and value-add work, rather than data entry.

Leading organizations use RPA as an extension of their human workforce. The tools can be owned by business functions, not just by IT, and your managers and staff can use them to extend the level of automation in your business, on an ongoing basis, striving for consistently higher levels of efficiency and accuracy.

The following are two types of automation options:

  • Unattended: Automations which work independently and with no human interaction
  • Attended: Automations that require minimal human input. These allow your employees to focus on reviewing information rather than preparing, searching, and parsing data, and running the automation only when business activities require it.

Unattended Automations

Unattended processes are carried out by robots (bots) that work continuously, which allows business processes to run 24/7/365. The advantages of unattended bots are manifold, and since they work even when your organization is not, return on investment is immediate. For example, implementing a piece of dialogue software like a chatbot lets you automate your communication with potential donors for various practical purposes, including information acquisition. A chatbot lets you take various inquiries and even perform system updates, ranging from “how to contribute money to the organization” or “please sign me up for the next event.” This common tool can provide instant support to queries, perform predictable tasks during off hours, or capture data and package the inquiries for the right personnel.

Attended Automations (It works hand in hand with humans)

Attended bots work with your employees’ workstations, where they will be checking on completed activities that are very time consuming. For example, downloading multiple reports from different fundraising databases and organizing the information often takes a significant amount of human time, but a well-constructed automation can do this in a matter of minutes. Utilizing a bot here would allow for an instant download and parsing of information, allowing your employee to just focus on the data sets of key indicators, such as donor patterns, past donors, individual gifts, etc. Through simplification and automation, employees can turn their attention solely to work that adds value to the organization, essentially using the automations to increase their own throughput. 

How to Get Started

Not-for-profit organizations generally face the same challenges and issues that for-profit entities face, including reducing employee time spent on manual tasks and reduction of general and administrative costs. RPA can assist not-for-profits by allowing its employees to shift their focus from less valuable work to more mission driven and/or analytical tasks, often saving on overhead expenses.

There are very low barriers to entry to start using RPA. Implementation takes a few weeks, focusing on key manual processes, and begins with a rapid automation assessment. The assessment begins with a discussion of which processes are good candidates for RPA, followed by breakout sessions with process owners to obtain an understanding of each process. These sessions help to create aa business case, demonstrating your return on investment, which leads to drastic time savings for your team and true cost savings in the back office. Completing those short-term checkpoints can bring quick value to your organization and accelerate the information processing, allowing you to focus on your programmatic delivery.

How we can help

Citrin Cooperman’s collaborative team of Not-for-Profit and Robotic Process Automation Service professionals can bring you the latest sophisticated business processes, enabling you to spend less time on time-consuming manual tasks and more time focusing on what counts….your mission!

We can get started quickly, validate your organization’s case for automation, demonstrate the ROI, and deliver your first bots within weeks - and all at a very low risk. Contact John Eusanio or Carlos Catalan to learn more about how we can help your not-for-profit on its RPA journey.