Do you have a budget and know how you’re tracking against it? Is your cash flow in a pickle? How engaged are your employees, and what is your retention rate? Are your contracts up to date? Are you in compliance with your grants?
When you’re trying to make an impact, the last thing you want is to spend more time than necessary worrying about operations and administration. Be it human resources, bookkeeping, or contract management; there’s a lot that goes into keeping a nonprofit functioning at its best. The good news is, helping organizations focus on their mission is what back office support firms like Trestle are here for.
But while outsourcing different roles or tasks can be a huge benefit for resource-savvy nonprofits, that doesn’t mean it’s a decision you should make lightly. There are a number of factors to consider before you reach out for assistance.
Here are 8 questions to ask yourself before hiring back office support for your organization:
1) Are we in crisis mode?
Are you experiencing a cash crunch? Maybe you’re struggling to pay your people or maintain your grants? Or perhaps you’re experiencing high staff turnover and having trouble retaining quality employees? Sometimes major issues arise that require an immediate and specialized response. If your organization is facing a crisis, you want to make sure you have the right people working on a solution asap, and to make sure you hire the experts to help you avoid the issues in the future. (With over 52 combined years of experience, at Trestle, we’ve seen it all!)
2) Do we have the capacity to fill this need internally?
Operational and administrative tasks like accounting, HR, and legal matters take time and expertise. Do you have the resources to manage these duties with the people you already have without taking away from the work they’re supposed to be doing? Do you have the financial capacity to hire full-time staff to take on those roles? If the answer to those questions is no, you may need to look outside of your organization for assistance.
3) How long do we need support?
Are you looking for a long-term solution or does your nonprofit just need some additional support to get you through a period of growth or flux? Having a clear sense of what kind of commitment you need will help you choose the right team for the job.
4) Who has influence in the decision making process to hire a back office support team?
The governance and culture of your nonprofit could play a role in whether you’re able to hire back office support. Does your office culture require input and buy-in from your entire team? Does your board of directors need to weigh in, or even make the final call?
5) How involved will they be?
Consider the level of help your organization needs. Are you looking for advice and guidance? Or do you need someone to step in to execute specific tasks and transactions? Perhaps you need both! Not all firms are equal in how they work with their clients, so it’s good to have an idea of what you’d like your partnership to look like upfront. At Trestle, our mission is to support your mission, which means that we provide advice to help your organization succeed, in addition to completing transactions like executing your accounting and HR tasks.
6) How involved do you want them to be?
No matter what you need them to do, working with a back office support team means giving up a certain amount of control. This can be challenging for some organizations, and that’s understandable! But depending on what assistance your organization requires, you’ll need to get comfortable with letting others take the reigns. Consider where your boundaries are and communicate this with the firm.
7) What can you afford?
Let’s address the elephant in the room: back office support comes with a price tag. For nonprofits, this can feel like a barrier to reaching out for assistance. If hiring a firm feels out of reach for your organization, consider the cost of the alternatives such as the salary required to fill the roles on-staff or the time lost trying to complete the tasks internally without the proper skillset. If your nonprofit needs help, you’ll need to make room in your budget (and if you don’t have a budget, now’s the time to make one!)
8) How will you measure the impact?
Hiring a back office support team is an investment – you (and your board) will want to know if it’s paying off. Time saved, more grants secured, reduction in penalties, less turnover: what will you consider to be the return on this investment?
When you run a nonprofit organization, your business is its mission, not dealing with operations and administration, or wasting time on processes that could be tackled much faster with the right technology. Working with a back office support firm that offers both experienced people and smart technology solutions will help you reduce trial and error of choosing the right solution, skip the guesswork, and ultimately free up time for you and your team to focus on what’s important.
If you’ve gone through these 8 questions and feel like your organization is ready for back office support, we’re here to help you thrive. Schedule a free call with Trestle and let us help you get back to what matters.
Schedule a call with us today!