Foundation For The Carolinas Cuts Costs by Two-Thirds by Digitizing Grant Communications
Foundation For The Carolinas helps individuals, nonprofits and companies in a 13-county region bring their charitable visions to life. With more than $2.5 billion in charitable assets across 2,600 charitable funds, the organization is one of the largest community foundations in the U.S. Foundation For The Carolinas is perhaps best known for the Robinson Center for Civic Leadership. This vital program actively addresses the community’s most significant challenges and greatest opportunities—including economic opportunity, neighborhood revitalization, and education.
The organization supports personal and corporate philanthropy through a range of innovative fund and giving options, and drives nonprofit sustainability through endowment management, customized solutions, and grantmaking.
The finance team at Foundation For The Carolinas processes between 15,000-20,000 checks per year. The majority of these checks are in the form of grants to nonprofits and individual-led community projects. In addition to sending the money to these recipients, Foundation For The Carolinas needs to include information about where the grants came from and other essential details. The team was originally using mostly-manual processes to handle and distribute the grants. Because they were spending a significant amount of staff time on these manual processes, and paying more than they needed to on mailing costs (for stamps, printing, envelopes, etc.), the team knew they needed to switch to electronic processing. The bank fee for electronic processing was a third of the cost of stamps alone, so the finance team knew that they could expect a major cost savings by digitizing payment notifications, particularly with the volume they process.
But the team faced a challenge: how would they convey all the information that accompanied the grant? They needed a way to communicate to recipients that money was on the way and provide the grant’s associated information.
“We were looking for a way to process electronically to be more efficient and see a cost savings. MailOmatic allowed us to do this while transferring essential data to our recipients along with the grant notifications.”
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MailOmatic allows the organization to send customized EFT notifications from Financial Edge via email, which contain all the data associated with each grant. Foundation For The Carolinas is able to notify the recipients directly through MailOmatic (replacing the previously-snail-mailed letter that accompanied each check) using templates. These templates are customized based on the grant and the recipient.
Omatic Software customized MailOmatic to allow Foundation For The Carolinas to create additional fields to bring in information from other sources, providing a way to attach all the necessary data. Kelley Graham, Senior Grant Specialist at Foundation For The Carolinas, says, “Within a couple of weeks, and for a reasonable fee, Omatic completed the customizations, allowing us to include all the fields we needed.”
Foundation For The Carolinas is saving not only the costs of physical mailing but also staff time that was previously spent printing checks, printing letters, and sending them. Because the organization processes such a high volume of checks and letters, this translates into significant savings. The organization has been using MailOmatic for a little over a year, and the team has found the software simple to learn. Kelley says, “Several people are using the templates and everyone has been successful doing it. Training went really well.”
MailOmatic has also made Foundation For The Carolina’s communications more efficient. When a recipient loses an email in the junk folder and calls the organization to find out the status, a team member can quickly and easily look in the vendor record to see when the email was sent so the individual can find it. All of the information can also be shared internally, making it easier for other departments to find answers to questions without having to ask the finance team.
The team is now planning to start paying accounts payable electronically, streamlining their processes even further.