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No-Nonsense Document Management for Nonprofits/NGOs: What to Look For

Many of our clients assume that nonprofits and NGOs are outside the domain of business process improvement. This could not be further from the truth. On the contrary, it’s often nonprofit ngo document managementthe case that profitless processes – due to the countless stakeholders and key decision makers involved – require the most fine-tuning to their operational efficiency and document management.

We could go on, but we’ll let an actual NGO take it from here. They live and breathe the complexity of nonprofit/nongovernmental operations, so they naturally say it best.

This global NGO found their document management solution.

The following is an account from an actual NGO whose document management system needed a little boost of digital efficiency.

The Challenges

As a global NGO, we face many challenges trying to efficiently and effectively deliver services while maintaining compliance with government regulations. We knew that keeping paper in the processes and records was presenting challenges that were growing along with our organization. We knew we needed a better solution, but we weren’t sure exactly what that was.

We did, however, have a firm grasp on the challenges we were facing:

  • Keeping track of contract deadlines
  • Making sure everyone was working from the same version of the document
  • Getting documents to the right reviewer at the right time
  • Guaranteeing access to documents, contracts and records from anywhere, at any time
  • Ensuring that our data was protected

The Solution

After researching and testing out multiple platforms and vendors, we confirmed that DocuVantage’s document management software would meet all of our challenges – across each locale and every department of our international organization.
  • Contract Management 
    With the contract review and approval process we implemented, participants in multiple locations all have instant access to the documents for review.
  • Workflow Automation 
    The workflow engine automatically delivers the document when the prior reviewer has completed his or her task.
  • Visibility And Intelligence
    Everyone now knows where the document is in the review process. No more phone calls or emails trying to track down the document. No more, “Wait until I return from XX country office,” delays. 
  • Organizational Growth
    The document management software has allowed us to more than triple the number of contracts we’re able to process.
  • Data Security
    Many of our documents contain sensitive financial information, so document security was a major concern of ours. The system’s information encryption and triple redundancy gives us the peace of mind we need that our data is safe and secured.
  • System Flexibility
    The software is so adaptable that we’re able to use it to solve issues beyond document management:
    o We have officially automated our procurement-request process to document all of our purchases. 
    o We have automated all travel authorizations, boosting the efficiency and accuracy of recordkeeping.
    o Vendor invoice payments are now quickly and effectively processed, saving us time and keeping our vendors happy. And, as we all know, a happy vendor is a happy NGO.

Don’t Settle for Nonsense

What your nonprofit or NGO needs is no-nonsense document management. No-nonsense does not mean a dip in functionality. It means that the system is highly organized, easy to use and compliance oriented. Period.

No-nonsense document management for nonprofits, no matter how many "features" it claims to have, must always possess the following functions and tools:

  • Organized data and tagging
  • Content search
  • Alerts and timers
  • Automated document version control
  • Audit history
  • Access controls
  • Process automation
  • Reminders
  • Task delegation
  • Retention schedules
  • Data encryption
  • Global access via browser
  • Electronic signatures

Want more process improvement tips for NGOs and nonprofits? Check out the webinar below.

Webinar: Uncovering the Hidden Benefits of Electronic Document Management for Nonprofits and NGOs

Editor's note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness

Topics: Technology, Nonprofits/NGOs