What Really Happens When Your Nonprofit Starts Tracking Time

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Running a nonprofit is no easy business. It requires hard work to raise funds, hire and retain talent, and ultimately, deliver on your mission. Whether you’re working to reduce poverty, improve access to healthcare, or advocate on behalf of a religious, political, or spiritual movement — time and budgets are limited.

That being said, how do you determine which programs are the most beneficial to your organization? While it can be relatively simple to analyze the positive impact of a specific program or campaign, it’s not always so easy to understand the true costs of the work your team performs. That’s where time tracking comes into play.

It offers new insights into how to successfully manage your organization.

Improved Program Management

Through time tracking, nonprofits are able to understand the true costs of any project or program. From writing a newsletter to calling donors to creating a social media awareness campaign, time tracking reveals the number of hours — and associated costs — of any activity. This data, when viewed across different programs or even funding sources, empowers managers and others with newfound transparency into how the organization is performing.

Yes, of course, employees, funders, and the people you serve can see the results of your efforts (for example, dollars raised or trees planted). However, without time tracking, there is limited visibility into how many hours your team spent, and at what cost to the organization.

By analyzing time and costs of specific programs and activities, it becomes easier to manage budgets and to more effectively allocate staff time.


Accurate Reporting to Funders and Grantors

Time tracking makes fund and grant reporting easy. Simple, one-click reporting on costs and even what work was done (whether it’s general, specific, or the exact task) can free up valuable time for your administrative team. It allows your employees to spend their day focusing on other, more effective work.

Now more than ever, it’s critically important to run an effective organization. That’s not only so your team will be able to do more with that they have. It’s also so you’ll be able to show your members, community, and funders that you are in fact using their dollars wisely.


More Effective Staffing

What is the right number of employees you need to manage each of your programs? How many team members should spend the bulk of their days fundraising? How much time — and at what cost — does it take to train and get new employees on board?

Is it more effective to keep design work in house or should it be outsourced to a third party? Do you need an office manager? How much time is your team spending on administrative tasks outside their core job description?

These questions are virtually impossible to answer without the data provided by tracking employee time. As long as your time tracking platform has basic reporting on program costs and an easy way for your team members to enter their hours, the answers to these questions should become apparent almost immediately.

A Productivity Boost

Time tracking is not about watching what your employees do. It’s about understanding processes so that they can be improved, and you can more effectively manage your organization.

From the data hidden within your timesheets, the larger operational picture becomes much clearer — freeing up your calendar to focus on strategy, on vision, and above all, on achieving your mission.

About author

David Klein

David Klein

David Klein is a San Francisco-based marketing executive who focuses on technologies that empower people and businesses. He is currently the director of marketing for ClickTime.

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