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Blog > A Guide to picking a GRC management software for Nonprofits

A Guide to picking a GRC management software for Nonprofits

Devi Narayanan
April 17, 2023
6 minutes

Non-profit organizations play a crucial role in society by addressing various social, economic, and environmental issues. However, non-profits also face various risks, such as financial mismanagement, fraud, data breaches, and non-compliance with laws and regulations.

To mitigate these risks, non-profits need to adopt robust governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) management practices. In particular, compliance and risk management are critical for non-profits to ensure that they adhere to the applicable laws, regulations, and ethical standards.

In this blog, we will discuss the importance of GRC management for non-profit organizations, the benefits of using GRC software, and how to choose one.

The Transformative Benefits of GRC Practices

Using Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) practices and software in nonprofit organizations offers several key benefits:

Improved Transparency

GRC helps nonprofits maintain transparency in their operations. This is particularly important as it builds trust among donors, members, and the public. Transparency in financial reporting and governance can attract more donors and supporters.

Enhanced Governance

GRC frameworks enable nonprofits to establish effective governance structures. This includes clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes, which can lead to better management and direction for the organization.

Reduced Risk

Effective risk management is essential for nonprofits to protect their assets, reputation, and the interests of their stakeholders. GRC helps nonprofits identify and mitigate risks, ensuring that they can operate without major disruptions.

Regulatory Compliance

Nonprofits are often subject to various legal and regulatory requirements. GRC practices help nonprofits stay compliant with these regulations, reducing the risk of legal troubles and potential fines.

Financial Accountability

GRC software can help nonprofits maintain financial accountability. It allows for precise tracking of financial transactions, reducing the risk of financial mismanagement or fraud.

Cost Savings

By identifying and mitigating risks and improving processes, nonprofits can reduce their operating costs. GRC practices help optimize resource allocation and avoid unnecessary expenses.

Streamlined Reporting

GRC software makes it easier to generate detailed reports and analytics. Nonprofits can use these reports to demonstrate their impact, financial stewardship, and compliance to donors, grantors, and regulatory authorities.

Efficient Resource Allocation

GRC practices help nonprofits allocate their resources, including time, money, and personnel, more efficiently. This ensures that the organization can focus on its core mission rather than dealing with non-core, administrative issues.

Stronger Fundraising

A nonprofit’s ability to manage governance, risk, and compliance effectively can be a selling point for potential donors and supporters. Knowing that their contributions are being handled responsibly and transparently can encourage more significant contributions.

Reputation Management

Managing risks and adhering to best governance practices can protect a nonprofit’s reputation. Reputation is often a nonprofit’s most valuable asset, and GRC helps safeguard it.

Better Decision-Making

With GRC practices in place, nonprofits can make more informed decisions. Data and analytics generated through GRC software can guide the organization toward strategic, well-informed choices.

Sustainability and Longevity

By minimizing risks and ensuring compliance, GRC practices can contribute to the sustainability and longevity of a nonprofit. It helps the organization endure changes in leadership and external factors.

Legal and ethical obligations

Non-profit organizations are subject to numerous legal and ethical obligations depending on their mission, scope, and location. For example, non-profits may need to comply with tax laws, employment laws, fundraising regulations, privacy laws, anti-corruption laws, and environmental laws. Failure to comply with these obligations can result in financial penalties, loss of reputation, and legal liability. Compliance management can help non-profits to identify, assess, and mitigate their legal and ethical risks by providing a systematic and comprehensive approach to compliance.

Donor and stakeholder trust

Non-profit organizations rely on the trust and support of their donors, volunteers, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders to achieve their goals. GRC management can help non-profits to demonstrate their commitment to ethical and responsible conduct and enhance their transparency and accountability. It can also help non-profits maintain accurate and timely records, prevent conflicts of interest, and protect confidential information, building trust and credibility with their stakeholders.

Operational efficiency

GRC management can also improve the operational efficiency of non-profit organizations by streamlining their compliance processes, automating their compliance workflows, and reducing their compliance costs. GRC management software can help non-profits to track their compliance tasks, deadlines, and outcomes, as well as provide compliance reports and dashboards. Compliance management software can also integrate with other GRC modules, such as risk management, policy management, and incident management, to provide a holistic view of compliance and risk.

Strategic alignment

Compliance and risk management can also support the strategic alignment of non-profit organizations by ensuring that their compliance activities are aligned with their mission, values, and objectives. They can help non-profits to prioritize their compliance efforts based on their risk profile, stakeholder expectations, and regulatory changes. They can also provide insights and trends on compliance performance, gaps, and opportunities, which can inform the non-profit’s strategic planning and decision-making.

Continuous improvement

By integrating compliance and risk management into their operations and leveraging GRC software solutions, non-profits can achieve greater visibility and control over their compliance and risk management activities. GRC software solutions can help non-profits to streamline their GRC processes, automate workflows, and enhance reporting and analytics capabilities. By leveraging GRC software solutions, non-profits can reduce manual effort, improve data quality and accuracy, and enhance stakeholder collaboration and communication.

What is GRC software?

Governance Risk and Compliance management software is a tool or solution that enables your nonprofit to work within a GRC framework, adhere to regulatory and compliance standards, conform to risk policies, and more. GRC tools stand leagues apart from spreadsheets, offering automation, security, real-time monitoring, error tracking, and a suite of beneficial features.

GRC management software helps you measure, control, predict and respond to risk across various domains, be it finance, IT, reputation, legal, compliance, or governance in a manner that’s cohesive and streamlined. Further, such a tool can help you foster a healthy risk culture and prioritize transparency throughout your organization, enabling you to respond to uncertainty with precision and integrity.

While it is easy to extol the benefits of modern GRC solutions, selecting the right GRC tool is key, especially in a nonprofit setup, as frequent software overhauls can undermine every effort at progress.

Selecting the right GRC Software

To help you pick the best GRC management software for your nonprofit, here is some guidance:

Scout for a GRC software that serves nonprofit organizations similar to yours

A good way to streamline the options available – and there is no dearth of them! – is to find out what works for other nonprofits or institutes that operate on the lines you do. Software companies often list out on their websites the names of leading organizations that use their products, the regions its tools are used worldwide, and so on.

See how VComply helps a healthcare non-profit major achieve compliance goals and improve overall productivity.

Prefer an all-in-one GRC platform to software that works in a fragmented manner

Part of the reason to switch from binders, spreadsheets, and shared drives an onto GRC software is to work in an integrated manner. Even if a single functionality doesn’t sync with the whole system, you could be doing a lot of legwork, which can be very draining, even financially, in the long run. VComply’s GRC tool for nonprofits integrates compliance, policies, and risk into one solution, allowing you to oversee and manage everything in one place.

The rank and file of the average nonprofit doesn’t have highly-technical staff manning operations and so, when scouting for GRC tools, you want to keep ease of use in mind. Often the most elaborate and feature-rich governance and risk software may not be the best one for your nonprofit. A cluttered, even though powerful, suite may be of less worth than a simpler, more intuitive GRC tool, from which you can easily extract immense value on a daily basis. It is also helpful to make a checklist of attributes your GRC software must have. Here are some starting points:

The need for workflow automation

Workflow automation can streamline processes such as compliance task management, alerts, reminders, evidence collection and real-time reporting on risk and controls, freeing up time for employees to focus on more strategic tasks. However, it is important to remember that automation should not be relied on exclusively. A successful GRC program requires active human input, as the knowledge and expertise of employees are critical to building an effective program.

Automation should complement existing workflows and make them more efficient. One of the advantages of automation is that it can help prevent manual errors, as GRC platforms can use APIs to automatically collect proof from other systems on a schedule chosen by the user. This saves time and reduces costs, as employees can accomplish more in less time.

GRC platforms also offer the ability to automate tasks that used to take hours, such as continuous control monitoring. This means that alerts can be generated instantly if a risk is detected, allowing teams to take action quickly and avoid leaving the company vulnerable to threats. Some GRC systems even allow for the creation of tasks within the platform to address control failures, making it easier for teams to improve security in one centralized location.

Prioritize ease of use over a plethora of features

The ideal GRC platform should have both top-notch security measures and an easy-to-use interface, enabling your team to efficiently handle compliance tasks without having to create complex Excel formulas or worry about data protection. It is crucial to have a GRC tool that can ensure the safety of your data while providing a positive user experience. Some older GRC platforms may have strong security features, but their interfaces are outdated and hard to navigate, while others may have flashy user interfaces but are prone to security vulnerabilities.

However, there are new GRC solutions emerging in the market that prioritize both ease of use and security. It is important to have secure access to the right data, especially since GRC platforms contain critical information about your vulnerabilities. Collaboration features within the GRC platform allow you to manage who has access to specific information while still fostering teamwork. Overall, an effective GRC platform should make task management, team collaboration, and data protection effortless and intuitive.

Look for intuitive, visually appealing dashboarding and reporting features

Reporting and dashboarding are crucial aspects of a GRC platform, as they simplify manual tasks and provide confidence in numbers and key risk indicators. If compliance is managed using spreadsheets, reporting can become complex and prone to errors, making it difficult to ensure that the information presented to executive teams is up-to-date and accurate. In contrast, reporting on a GRC platform enables users to easily identify important controls and control families that require attention, view top risks, monitor changes in risk levels, and track controls relevant to cyber insurance policy renewals.

By creating a consistent and shareable dashboard in a GRC platform, stakeholders can quickly understand the organization’s risk posture and easily access information related to risk management expenditures, trendline changes in risk over time, and cybersecurity maturity. This saves time and ensures that stakeholders have access to reliable, up-to-date information, without having to sift through cumbersome spreadsheets. In addition, dashboards can be used to display the top risks that the organization faces CISO needs to make informed decisions.

Having a GRC platform that grants you access to all your compliance data, evidence, and controls in a centralized location can save you a considerable amount of time, enabling you to concentrate on more essential tasks. However, if your GRC platform cannot integrate with the existing tools in your tech stack, you will be compelled to perform a lot of manual work by switching between systems. You will need to extract reports and data and then manually upload them to the platform, which will only make your day more complex instead of simpler.

Meaningful Integrations

To simplify your life, it is critical to have a platform with appropriate integrations such as AWS, Slack, Teams, Okta, and others. This way, you can quickly access all your compliance data, evidence, and controls in one place, which will provide you with a sense of security and allow you to focus on more important responsibilities.

Effective integrations are the foundation of a successful GRC platform because they facilitate teamwork by allowing you to link everything. Furthermore, without integrations, much of the automation will be ineffective. Using a GRC platform without the proper integrations would result in even more manual labor, which is undesirable.

Consider these key points to transition to a more efficient approach in managing your nonprofit’s GRC. To simplify compliance, strengthen risk management, and cut costs, consider VComply.

VComply has been recognized as a high performer in almost all G2 grid GRC and compliance reports.

Request a demo today to learn more about how VComply can help your business.