CyberGrants NPO Council Continues Tradition of Collaboration

“Non-profits are stakeholders. Someone finally listened.”

A direct quote from one of the founding members at the third annual CyberGrants Nonprofit Organization Council (NPO Council) meeting. The words were in reaction to those from CyberGrants CEO Mark Layden when he said “We used to think the NPO was merely the outcome at the end of the donation process in our Visio diagram. That simply is not true. We want to change the way we do things so you can change the world.”

The initial NPO Council first met almost three years ago with the goal of helping CyberGrants achieve its mission of providing innovative software and services in the most secure and efficient way. Since then, the CyberGrants product and services teams have been working diligently to incorporate the council’s feedback into improvements to the platform while redefining what it means to truly partner with nonprofits. NPO efficiency and acceleration are critical factors in making the corporate philanthropy programs of CyberGrants’ clients successful and more impactful. By reducing the effort and cost associated with processing the vast donations from various CSR programs, NPOs are able to retain more dollars to do more good.

The feedback from NPO Council members validated the efforts of the team. “I am really impressed with the speed at which from the first council meeting results have been delivered,” stated one member. “I’m very excited for the future.”

These meetings take on a rather cathartic vibe with the NPO representatives voicing their frustrations that most don’t consider the impact of the NPO in the corporate social responsibility ecosystem. But burdensome processes, a lack of data, and poor – if any – support from vendors hinders their ability to quickly capture dollars that are required to react to global needs. As a team, together the NPO Council and CyberGrants are working toward changing that.

Member organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital, American Red Cross, Save the Children, and University of Texas Foundation are working hard to maximize Agile Social Impact, and the following three focus areas will accelerate those efforts.

  • No more checks. This was a hot topic with the team. The security and fraud challenges that result from check donations put many dollars at risk. Besides that, the manual overhead, processing time, and resources it takes for the NPO, client, and CyberGrants to process a paper check is incredibly high compared to ACH and other forms of digital payment processing.
    • CyberGrants is prioritizing ACH capabilities and enhancements to accelerate the shift from paper checks to digital processing while at the same time mitigating risk.
  • Usability. NPOs are typically working with multiple CyberGrants clients at a time. Clients have unique specifications and requirements that unintentionally do not make it easy for the NPO. While we have made strides in this arena by consolidating logins and portals for NPOs, there is a way to go to improve usability between clients for NPOs to find increased efficiencies.
    • CyberGrants is documenting “NPO Best Practices” for clients to help guide them in system configurations to mitigate any unintended negative impact on the NPO.
  • Reporting. The NPO is in the position to be responsible for reconciling donor payments as well as matching funds from employers. Data and processing between organizations is often different and becomes a burden to NPOs trying to reconcile (or even find!) donations.
    • Future release phases will include new reports, dashboards, as well as additional data fields as required by the NPO to streamline operations.

We appreciate the Council members finding the time and money to meet with us, especially when we know they are overworked and underfunded. “We are here because change is happening,” said Kathy Cothran from the University of Texas Foundation. “It makes the return on investment priceless.”


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