Nonprofit organizations have a lot that needs to be done on a daily basis. They have to deal with sprawling caseloads, manage heaps of documents, and face technical barriers to effective collaboration on a typical workday. And as their scale of service grows, the tasks become more complex and harder to manage, causing inefficiency and making room for serious operational errors. The troubles mount ever higher for nonprofits that cling to the old ways of operations and are resistant to change.
Funding and donations are the lifeblood of any nonprofit organization, regardless of its type or magnitude of operations. Be it federal funding or private sector or individual donations, it’s imperative that the money is spent efficiently and yields the best possible results. No donor wants their contributions to get wasted through efficiency gaps that can easily be plugged with today’s advanced tech solutions made especially for human services organizations.
And talking of these solutions, the market is filled with digital case management software that many humanitarian organizations have already integrated into their systems. Using such tech-based solutions, these organizations have gotten rid of day-to-day work hassles, minimized human errors in critical processes like client servicing and billing, brought efficiencies to their case management practices, and spared a great deal of time and energies to amplify their funding efforts.
What Is A Case Management System?
A case management system is essentially software that enables organizations to track and store information in a centralized location and report on their data. These tech-based systems help organizations to digitize and streamline their processes, automate repetitive and routine tasks, and reduce tedious data management to mere clicks and taps. This saves organizations a great deal of time and effort, freeing them for more critical business decisions.
A case management system can be a standalone product or a part of a larger enterprise solution. Based on the size and need of your nonprofit, you can opt for the right solution. A case manager’s job at any nonprofit organization typically involves supervising and arranging social service programs for clients. They help individuals gain access to community resources, analyze the efficacy of programs, manage outreach programs, compile reports, and do a lot more.
While the legacy case management systems also perform most of these tasks quite satisfactorily, the newer systems are more advanced. Employing new-age technologies like AI or even IoT, these solutions can even be smart enough to make decisions on a case manager’s part. Besides, these systems come with cutting-edge tools to measure performance, generate in-depth reports, and get insights that are crucial to a nonprofit’s workings besides facilitating efficient collaboration.
Why Go For A Case Management Solution?
Case management solutions for nonprofits are made with their everyday workings and operational models in mind. Today, these solutions are becoming mainstream with nearly all prominent humanitarian organizations using them for enhanced and quantifiable efficiency. These digital case management solutions are usually very intuitive, and with little training or hands-on use, case managers can easily get the hang of them and improve their productivity by folds.
Here are some of the key advantages of using a case management system at your nonprofit organization:
- Digital Record-Keeping
First of all, the system will help you get rid of all those paper files and folders stacked up on your office shelves and promote a paper-free environment. Secondly, the digitization of records will bring all crucial information about your clients and cases to your fingertips. With all data and case history right in front of you when and where you need it, you can manage the cases more efficiently while increasing the caseload per case manager.
- Centralized Data & Remote Access
Case management is made more efficient by all your organizational data being accessed remotely. You no longer have to be at the office to access those paper files or digital files on your work computer for that matter. The modern-day case management solutions centralize all data but without compromise on its security; only authorized knowledge workers can access it, and they can access it from anywhere and on any digital device they use, including computers, tabs, and smartphones.
- Efficient Progress Tracking
Progress tracking is one of the most critical jobs of case managers at any human services organization. After they devise a tailored recovery program for a client, they have to keep a close check on the progress to ensure they’re steering in the right direction. A case management system enables case managers to track this progress more efficiently and know whether or not the program is working. Knowing the progress in real-time, they can make necessary changes to the program.
- Effective Collaboration
Case management systems of today also focus on making collaboration easier and more fruitful. When it comes to case management, one of the biggest concerns of clients is a lack of or poor collaboration with the case management or other stakeholders. Case management solutions for nonprofits resolve this problem by making collaboration swifter, smarter, and more effective. Especially in these pandemic times, these solutions also enable remote consultation which is a huge plus.
- Increased Transparency
By digitizing all records and processes, enabling remote access, and allowing real-time progress tracking and monitoring, case management solutions bring transparency to your nonprofit’s operations in absolute terms. This also enables unquestionable audits, billing & invoicing, and performance tracking. As a result, you can rest assured that your hard-earned funds are being spent the right way and your efforts are also headed where they should be.
- Improved & Personalized Care
Case management solutions of today make personalized and improved client care like never before. With more effective collaboration, clients get to have more attention from the case manager and other services providers involved in the case management cycle. Plus, thanks to the self-service portals that many of today’s case management solutions today come equipped with, clients can resolve a number of queries and problems on their own as well.
Case Management Solutions In The ‘New Normal’
The novel coronavirus pandemic had upended life in an unprecedented way. But probably, its only positive effect has been the much-needed digital push on every front. Be it education or work, shopping or monetary transactions, the large-scale lockdowns and stay-at-home directives brought digitalization in every domain. Digital workplaces and electronic case management amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have provided a rare opportunity to embrace technology to transform sectors and industries.
Case management practices at nonprofit organizations also experienced a spike in digitization. The pandemic highlighted the need for urgent integration of digital solutions to enable remote working and improve efficiencies amid the worst health crisis the world had seen. Staying home and practicing social distancing was the new normal and although essential workers like caseworkers were allowed to move around, the movement was very risky and discouraged for the masses, especially those under care.
Digital case management solutions empowered NGOs and caseworkers to continue their programs remotely. With the ability to access all information and track all progress for each client in an instant, case managers were able to provide equally good care virtually without any major hiccups in the ongoing programs as well as new client onboarding. Caseworkers found the level of personalized care, communication, progress & performance tracking, and collaboration among all stakeholders more efficient with more organizations increasingly opting for such solutions.
Things to Consider Before Buying Case Management Software
Getting organized and constantly improving in it should be the goal of any organization, and nonprofits are no exception. But figuring out just how to accomplish that in today’s digital world can become quite a challenge. Now that we know that going digital is the right way of doing it, but with countless case management solutions currently available in the market, choosing the right one might not come easy as they all claim to be the best of the lot.
Based on industry experts’ advice, we have compiled a list of considerations on what to look for when purchasing the right case management software for your nonprofit organization. We hope that it helps you make an informed decision.
- Reliable Support
No matter how intuitively made, case management software solutions can be technical for traditional workers and will take some getting used to. Even for the digital-savvy caseworkers, a new solution might take some time to get fully integrated into their system. The transition will be evolutionary and you’ll need constant support from your solution provider. At many times, the help you need is very urgent and critical in nature that its resolution can’t wait. So look for customer support that you can really count on.
- Ability to Customize
No case management solution out there can ever be one-size-fits-all. Instead, they must offer high levels of flexibility and scalability to easily adapt to your current and future needs. The solution must be flexible enough to accommodate the current workings and scale of your operations, besides being stretchable to fit your future needs if you grow in scale. Plus, the different functions and processes that the solution comes with must also be able to be molded as per your organization’s needs.
- Multi-Platform Integration
The key proposition of any digital case management solution is its ability to digitize and automate your procedures besides making them highly accessible. And when it comes to accessibility, the solution must offer multi-platform integration so it can be used from anywhere from any platform or device. A good case management software will make sure that all your different programs – case management, email, calendaring, and accounting – work together seamlessly to create an efficient digital setting for improved case management.
- Not Overly Cheap
Going for cheap can always be expensive in both the short and long term, and the same holds true when it comes to case management solutions. Fr a solution that is right for your organization, spending a little higher doesn’t look like a bad idea, especially when it can turn your organization around in terms of productivity and efficiency. Do a thorough price and feature comparison, and seek a professional’s help, before you make the final decision.
- High Security
It’s imperative for you to ensure that all client information remains highly confidential and secure, and is only accessed by authorized knowledge workers. There will always be some case management software that is more securer than others, so you can do your due diligence to make the right choice. Some points to consider about security include data encryption, third-party audited, and multiple servers for geographic redundancy.
- User Reviews
Just looking at the case management solution vendor’s website or digital assets won’t give you a clear picture of the quality and reliability of their product. It’s always recommended to do thorough research, look for real user reviews and ratings about the product, watch testimonials from real customers, and maybe also get in touch with them to be sure. While it might look like a hassle, the little research will help you a great deal in making this critical decision.