Your nonprofit decided to adopt a digital case management system – now what? Implementing the software is only the beginning of an ongoing process. Once the system is live, nonprofits must consider whether the software is driving value for their organization. This can be challenging if organizations don’t know what to measure or how to define success. And while many nonprofits are adopting digital case management systems, some organizations say they don’t see the full value immediately. Is there a resolution to this issue? Is there a way to objectively measure a case management system’s value and effectiveness? The short answer is yes.
Here are three ways to get the maximum value of your case management system.
1. ANALYZE THE RIGHT KPIs
When examining the value of your case management system, there are three key performance indicators (KPIs) that should be measured. If you can measure how your system is increasing efficiency, proving impact, and creating additional funding, you’ll know you’ve made a worthwhile investment.
As an example, let’s say your case workers were spending three hours a day, on average, intaking participants or logging service delivery using spreadsheets. However, after you implemented a digital case management system, your staff notices this average steadily decline each month. Eventually, the time spent logging intake and service delivery leveled off at 1.5 hours.
The ability to conduct an objective “before and after” analysis like this enables nonprofits to pinpoint gaps in efficiency and work towards closing them, without sacrificing quality. Basically, case management systems help nonprofits work smarter, not harder, with the tools they have. These solutions also enable everyone – from case workers to executive directors – to spend less time entering data and more time with constituents doing meaningful work.
The success of your organization hinges on your ability to show your community (and potential donors) tangible proof that you’re delivering on your mission. Saying, “We helped build a school last year,” doesn’t give enough details. You need data-driven results.
For instance, how many children are now able to attend the new school your organization helped build to avoid overcrowding? Of those children, what percentage are making A’s? Does the new school have after-school programs that help tutor or mentor students? If so, do you see a correlation between increased reading scores in those who attend your tutoring programs compared to those who don’t?
Answering these questions gives your nonprofit data-driven insights it needs to do two things. First, it helps to prove impact. And second, it shows the value of your case management software throughout your programs because you have access to insights that were previously unavailable.
Finally, nonprofits need to look at funding as a fundamental KPI of case management software. Theoretically, better case management systems lead to better data, which is ultimately what funders want. Before awarding funds, funders and donors want to know how you will use the money and the impact you will have on the community.
It boils down to outcomes. By enabling nonprofits to prove, through data, that they’re a top-performing organization, donors are more likely to make a contribution.
2. MEASURE THE VALUE OF YOUR CASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM CONSISTENTLY
With new nonprofit technologies emerging so quickly, it’s important to ensure your system doesn’t become outdated. If you’re not seeing positive results, ask yourself why. It may be that you’re not tapping into the full functionality of the tool, or it could simply be a limitation of the tool itself. Analyzing why the software isn’t working for your organization will help pinpoint potential gaps or user errors within the case management system and allow you to make adjustments as needed.
Another reason to assess your case management system regularly is to remain compliant with funder and government mandates. Nonprofits must adhere to data and reporting requirements and can run the risk of penalties or loss of funding for noncompliance.
Conduct an audit of your software every year. A quick assessment keeps you on top of compliance and ensures you’re seeing value in your solution.
3. REMEMBER THAT IT TAKES TIME TO ADJUST
To summarize, it takes time to understand how to work with a new case management system. If you aren’t seeing results, it could just mean that your team needs time to adjust to new processes. Change is always difficult and there’s a learning curve to any technology. But as long as you have a clear definition of success, measuring the value of your case management system will become an easier, faster, and more concise process.