Challenges in Information Management for the Not-for Profit Organisations

Uzair Khan

Uzair Khan

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A stereotype about the Not for Profit Organisations (NFP) is that the processes followed by these organisations are simple and they do not have to deal with any complicated processes which makes the information management easier for these organisations. On the contrary, an international study on the not for profit organisations has manifested that, these organisations go through a lot of trouble when it comes for the information and resource management. Although the information available about these organisation in Australia is very less, this study also showed that the not for profit organisations in Australia is a $19 billion industry comprising 5.2% of gross domestic product and providing 15.3% of the service employment.

The most tedious task for these organisations is managing and analysing the stakeholders. The processes for these organisations are pertinent to get complicated when it comes to stakeholder management. The stakeholders for these organisations can be anybody who donates funds, volunteers, volunteer management services, members of the NFP, consumers and customers. The consumers for the NFP are the people who benefit from the services offered by the NFP and the customers are the people or the other organisations who are willing to donate for the NFP. Thus, managing the stakeholders is indeed on of the challenge for NFPs.

Because of these complications, the NFPs face ample of problems in the information management as they lack streamlined process to manage all the activities. The most critical challenges faced by the NFPs which can restrict them from functioning normally can be listed below:

  • Maintaining and retaining the stakeholder information

The stakeholders for the NFPs differ considerably when compared with the other small or medium sized businesses. The stakeholders for the NFPs are very volatile. Hence, it is very hard to maintain and keep the record of these stakeholders unless the NFPs have a proper system to maintain the records.

  • Manual Processes

The NFPs have a lot of complicated processes to be managed including the stakeholders and the volunteers which are never permanent for any Not for profit organisation. The big pain for the NFPs is that they manage all these complicated processes manually and most of the organisations still follow the paper based processes which makes the process management scenario even bad.

  • Volunteer Management

Volunteers form the most important part of the process chain followed by the NFPs. The volunteers are the backbones of the NFPs and these are the people who run them. The problem with these volunteers is that, they do not stick to one particular organisation and stay for very limited period which makes the information management of the volunteers even worse.

  • Analysing the potential fund raisers

All the operations implemented by NFPs are dependent wholly on the funds raised by the donors or the supporters which makes the fundraisers a very important part of the NFP organisation’s business model. These organisations lack in use of recent technology which constrains them from analysing the people whom they can potentially approach for the funds.

Use of technology can help these organisations to get themselves noticed through online advertisements and other campaigns.

  • Dealing with the unexpected

NFPs are very vulnerable to any disaster. Most of them do not have proper data management and all the vital information is maintained in paper documents. In the case of disaster they do not have proper systems which can help them recover all the vital information about the stakeholders, volunteers, volunteer management services, consumers and customers.

  • Lack of Tracking

Absence of technology makes it hard for the Not for Profit Organisations to keep the track of the system. They are unable to keep the track of volunteers or the other stakeholders. Both, stakeholders and volunteers are not permanent and keep changing after few days, months and even in some cases after years. Lack of automated systems makes it very hard to keep a track of the operations.

  • Complex and Isolated systems

Most of the NFPs have complex and isolated systems. No department or parts of the system are connected on one common platform. This limits the organisations from sharing and using the same data overall in the system. This results in duplication of the data and loss of time and efforts.

Thus the information management is indeed a huge challenge for the NFPs. Proper use of technology and enterprise suites which can help to manage the data and automate the systems can be the best alternatives to overcome the information management difficulties faced by these organisations.

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