4 Biggest Contract Management Challenges for Non-Profits
Non-profit organizations have a noble mission: working together for the common good in pursuit of educational, charitable, or scientific goals. In order to achieve these goals, non-profits often need to sign and maintain various contracts: real estate leases, vendor agreements, federal grants, employment contracts, and many more.
However, these contracts are not without significant risks and challenges, many of them unique to non-profit organizations. Successful contract management for non-profits will require you to address the 4 challenges below.
1. Limited budgets and resources
Non-profits often struggle with a lack of funding, with smaller budgets than for-profit businesses. This makes contract management for non-profits an even more pressing concern.
Many non-profits simply don’t have the time and money to devote to tedious paper-based contract management processes. With these limited budgets and resources, non-profits are at risk of falling behind on their contract management obligations, missing deadlines and milestones.
Software-based contract management solutions can help relieve the time and budgetary pressure that many non-profits face. Rather than wasting valuable employee time on tedious tasks, you can automate much of the process with easy-to-use contract management software.
2. Different needs and objectives
As a non-profit, your goals and requirements are distinct from those of commercial businesses. This may be a point of pride for your organization, but it also poses challenges in terms of how you operate from day to day.
For example, many contract management solutions have been designed to fit the needs (and budgets) of for-profit enterprises, not non-profit organizations. Finding the right contract management software will require you to carefully evaluate your options and decide which one is the best fit.
What’s more, your needs and objectives as a non-profit will change as your organization grows and evolves. You may expand into new locations or initiate new programs that require you to reevaluate the ways you manage agreements. Again, finding a flexible and scalable non-profit contract management solution is essential—non-profits often don’t have the time or money to waste searching for and implementing new contract management software, especially if the solution is ultimately too complex to be utilized as intended.
3. Providing transparency
Non-profit organizations are exempt from income tax obligations, which means that they’re often subject to greater scrutiny and oversight. Accountability and transparency must be core values for any non-profit—not only how much money you receive, but how that money is spent in alignment with your institutional values.
Accountability and transparency for non-profits are especially important in the context of contract management. Good contract management also means knowing how and when to meet your contract audit and reporting obligations.
4. Managing risk
Risk is an inherent part of contract management. Failing to fulfill your contract obligations can result in any number of penalties, from fines and reputational damage to even potential legal action.
Accepting and mitigating this risk is essential to succeed as a non-profit organization. Prior to initiating any contract, non-profits should take the time to understand the terms and conditions and their possible impact on their operations.
Of course, risks are still present once you put pen to paper and the contract takes effect. Having a system in place to keep track of all upcoming contract deliverables and deadlines will help ensure nothing slips through the cracks as your team works to fulfill the mission of your organization.
The four challenges above are substantial barriers, although not insurmountable ones, for any non-profit looking to gain control over its contract management processes. A piecemeal solution of sticky notes, emails, and word of mouth are clearly insufficient to meet the demands of modern non-profit contract management.
Just a few of the features of the best non-profit contract management software include:
Task and email alerts so that you’ll never miss an important contract event or notification
Activity audits and reporting to improve your organizational transparency and accountability
Managing vendor costs by tracking expenses and deliverables, eliminating wasted spending
Monitoring contract renegotiation windows to ensure that you never lapse or forget about critical deadlines
Regulatory compliance management through automated tracking of compliance obligations
Looking for a user-friendly contract management solution that can be implemented in minutes? Contact us today to discuss your specific contract management needs and special discounts available exclusively for non-profit organizations.
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ContractWorks Case Study: Chesapeake Bay Foundation