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Crossing the Rubicon: How Committing to Technology Can Benefit Nonprofits

Oct 09, 2018

Nonprofit organizations face many challenges that stretch beyond simply meeting their donation goals. Many struggle with implementing and maximizing technology or even getting the right information technology (IT) support. This is especially important considering most would rather be investing their resources directly on their mission.

To jump to part II to learn more about Team Rubicon and our change management project, click here.

But what applies to commercial businesses also applies to nonprofits: 1) Efficiency saves time, money and resources, and 2) technology creates opportunities to become more efficient, as well as reveals connections that would be near impossible through manual processes. Committing to technology that enables your nonprofit to uncover efficiencies and fuel empowerment leads to a greater net impact.

The Role of Digital Transformation

Wipfli works with nonprofits to implement systems and processes that generate a real impact on their operations. We’ve recently been engaged with Team Rubicon — an organization that enables military veteran volunteers and their supporters to assist in disaster relief efforts — to empower them to become more organized and efficient.

As a nonprofit, they want to make sure they get the most benefit possible out of every dollar donated. With 80,000+ volunteers that need to be organized, deployed and tracked, it’s extremely difficult to not only measure dollar-for-dollar impact but also get volunteers where they need to be — and quickly. Plus, procuring and moving equipment and supplies requires advanced logistics and planning, which can be very complicated and costly if the right choices are not made.

So how can Team Rubicon better deploy and track volunteers, procure equipment and measure impact? The answer is through digital transformation.

Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Common Data Model (CDM) for Nonprofits as a foundation, Wipfli is building a volunteer management system (VMS) that will better leverage the skills of Team Rubicon’s 80,000 volunteers and make deploying them, procuring equipment and training new volunteers much easier and faster. The data behind Team Rubicon’s operations first needed to be transformed into a unified system that can be leveraged by artificial intelligence (AI) for this new, pivotal technology to make a transformative difference. When a disaster happens, AI can assist with the logistics of equipment, which volunteers are best suited to provide the type of relief necessary and how best to get them where they need to be — quickly.

In the past, Team Rubicon’s divisions across the U.S. and abroad all did things a little bit differently, and their internal systems and processes did the best they could to keep up. But now everyone will be on the same technology system, with the same efficiency benefits. In the end, business intelligence and machine learning will help Team Rubicon respond faster and save more lives — and insights will help them continue to make a difference on an even larger scale.

Team Rubicon

Big Enough to Execute, Nimble Enough to Pivot

Team Rubicon isn’t the first nonprofit Wipfli has utilized digital transformation with to make a big difference in their operations. We’ve been working with nonprofits for over 50 years, and our outward, advisory mindset, combined with our breadth of offerings, allow us to tackle a wide range of challenges. When you have business advisory solutions and technology consulting solutions combined with tax and audit solutions, you can leverage one firm for all the needs of a nonprofit.

With Team Rubicon, we’re also running their overall technology governance and project management office (PMO) for all the workstreams of their digital transformation to ensure changes across their organization progress together and that proper change management is in full effect. People are always the variable, and that’s why working with a firm dedicated to more than just implementing the right technology is another key to success.

Our goal is to use our project management solutions and the volunteer management system we’re building to help other nonprofits, such as Operation Smile, become more efficient and save time, donations and resources. We want to raise all the boats in the tide, not just one or two. At the end of the day, technology is one of the most underutilized and most powerful ways to build solutions that can be used for the community benefit.

Interested in how Wipfli can help your nonprofit begin your digital transformation? Contact Ryan Risley at rrisley@wipfli.com or 703-828-2428 to learn more.


Ryan E. Risley, CIO
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