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5 Ways Nonprofit Document Management Software Helps Your NGO or NPO

describe the imageFor a successful NGO to flourish, staying compliant and reporting funds accurately for every transaction is crucial. This is especially true for those who receive funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Department of State and other government agencies.

To successfully achieve your mission’s potential reach and scope, you must understand what to look for in nonprofit document management software. This software allows you to serve people in a more logical and organized manner, and makes managing your workflow and business processes much more efficient. 

Most NPOs Die Before Fulfilling Their Mission

For-profit institutions rely on consumers paying for products and services to keep their doors open and functioning at maximum capacity. In the world of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) where donations keep services flowing, every dollar must be accounted for.

With limited funds and budgetary constraints, properly documenting every aspect of your operation is a challenge. Providing documented proof of every transaction that has occurred, with software that has records management and automatic audit trails, is the best way to ensure compliance.

NGO’s work with limited resources. Your survival depends on funding from government agencies and private foundations. Unfortunately, due to a lack of staffing, money is often wasted or used inefficiently. Without adequate funding, social programs don’t stand a chance to have their voices heard.

Maintaining the Trust of Your Supporters With DMS

When the system includes compliance functionality, it adds legitimacy to your organization, making it more likely for funds to continue to funnel into your mission. It also provides less anxiety for potential supporters as to where their money is going. Having this system in place is a powerful safeguard from those less trustworthy employees trying to exploit a good cause by pocketing funds.

When you use electronic compliance software, reporting quickly moves from a weakness to a competitive advantage. You automatically save capital and put funds toward your actual mission, increasing program effectiveness.

Every successful organization has thoughtful leaders at the helm, leading the charge. Nonprofit board members benefit from a system that includes document management in these five valuable ways:

1. Inventory

Have you ever searched your office for pertinent, misplaced files? Having a system that provides document management and document control bypasses the hassle and time wasted by going on a treasure hunt to find important documents, and eliminates document misplacement.

Nonprofit document management software products make it possible to store board-related documents in a centralized, secure location. Having web-based software allows employees to access resources from any computer or mobile device with internet access. You won’t have to sift through hundreds of emails looking for your documents and information when you have a system that provides centralized document filing.

2. Legality and Compliance

A system with records management built into the software keeps your team member expectations on track and stays on top of governmental retention policies. This results in more public faith and additional donor and sponsor trust. A strong benefit of nonprofit document management software is that you are prepared for quality checks by the state and federal government. This system allows for less chance of error and makes the inventory of existing records easy to locate.

When you use a system that includes records management functionality and automatic audit trails, compliance won’t be left to guesswork. Instead, it follows a targeted strategy. Large for-profit corporations are able to throw money at their compliance issues, but your organization needs to think in a creative, targeted manner to accomplish the same goal.

For each company, guidelines for how long you must keep files on record varies, so consult your legal counsel for the exact time frame. However, by putting your files into an electronic system, you know the retention schedule times and are able to ensure your internal processes have systematic quality controls in place.

3. Confidentiality

Role-based access control gives members the ability to see only what they are authorized to view. Because NGO’s have different groups and subcommittees, documents that only pertain to one part of the organization are only viewable to the appropriate party.


You won’t have to spend money on shipping costs and services. You work with minimal funds to begin with, so the money you save on paper, printing and shipping now goes toward your actual mission goals, instead of toward office expenses.

5. Quality Control

When it comes to reviewing your work, quality and accuracy are paramount. NGO’s require procurement requests be routed and reviewed to provide insight into team purchasing habits. Nonprofit document management software is able to store site visits, travel requests, field reports, audits and any other documentation related to operations.

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Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness

Topics: Nonprofits/NGOs