Learn how we helped Back2Back Ministries, a Cincinnati-based non-profit, implement Oracle’s NetSuite Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) application to overhaul donor relations management and financial processes.
Since its inception in 1997, Back2Back Ministries has excelled at fulfilling its central mission of standing “back-to-back” with directors and caregivers who serve children’s homes and marginalized communities around the world. Over the last two decades, what began as a small service-based ministry of volunteers has steadily evolved into a $12 million organization with operations in six countries.
During that time, Back2Back’s programs have brought about real changes in the lives of children who would otherwise have been abandoned or were at risk for homelessness, abuse or trafficking. The following programs are among many that the organization has successfully launched during its tenure:
- Back2Back was instrumental in the creation of Foster Care Mexico, Mexico’s first government-sponsored foster-care program, in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. The Mexican government is now planning to expand foster care to other states.
- The Hope Program enables at-risk children to obtain a high school diploma and a college degree while living in a family setting with 6-8 other children supervised by Back2Back staff “house parents”.
- Child Sponsorship and Family Sponsorship programs pair donors with children and families who they can correspond with and sponsor through monthly donations.
- In partnership with Texas Christian University, Back2Back has developed an innovative Trauma Competent Care Training Program, which uses cutting edge behavioral research to help governments, NGOs, schools and caregivers effectively interact with children who have experienced mental, emotional and physical abuse.
Integral to Back2Back’s mission and culture is their ongoing commitment to align donor gifts directly to the needs of the children they sponsor. To do this more effectively, they wanted to automate their ability to track funding and then be able to report on how the funds were applied. This involved tracking thousands of relationships, financial streams, and resource needs. In addition, their rapid expansion challenged their ability to maintain personalized relationships, which is one of Back2Back’s core values.
For these reasons, Back2Back needed a powerful, cloud-based technology solution with the capability of segregating funds and reporting fund disbursements in detail. They also needed ready access to donor information in order to tailor their interactions. To accomplish their vision, Back2Back needed a technical implementation partner who would take the time to understand their unique nonprofit mission and who also had the skills and expertise to meet their business challenges.
Enter Centric: A NetSuite Implementation Strategy to Meet Business Expansion and Financial Reporting Needs
To get started, our Centric team conducted an assessment at the Back2Back headquarters and listened to the challenges that the accounting, marketing and operations teams were facing. Centric helped Back2Back leaders navigate implementation meetings with the vendor and understand how NetSuite’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution could be optimized to streamline internal operations; in particular, the challenges related to donor relationship management and financial reporting.
During the implementation phase, the team configured NetSuite Cloud ERP to support Back2Back’s unique financial processes and enabled Back2Back to more efficiently report and automate income, expenditure and feedback processes.
Centric helped the Back2Back team import their financial and constituent records (along with historical data) through CSV imports while preserving mission-critical parent-child relationships in the data. Centric also helped to build out the reporting tools to ensure that timely reports could be delivered to constituents which detailed how donor funds were disbursed. After the system went live, our consultants worked directly with Back2Back staff, including the Accounting and Development groups, to train them on the new ERP system.
The Results: An ERP System That Provides Real-Time Visibility into Financial Information and Donor Profiles
With Centric’s help, Back2Back was able to optimize NetSuite to streamline their internal constituent management and financial reporting processes within a single application. Back2Back employees now have visibility into incoming donations and outgoing expenditures as well as access to ERP capabilities, providing a big picture, end-to-end view of their data and significantly increasing operational efficiency. In addition, financial information in NetSuite is always current which enables a real-time view for reporting.
“It’s been a real homerun on the reporting side,” said John Guckenberger, Back2Back’s US Operations Director. “The access to real-time data has made a huge impact on our enterprise resource planning and vastly improved our connections with donors. We are also much more efficient and prepared to sustain our growth, even with a relatively small staff.”
Rob Hall, Back2Back’s Ministry Advancement Director, also sees the implementation of NetSuite as a very positive development, since its 360-Degree Customer View feature enables employees to more efficiently personalize their communications with donors. This not only instills more confidence and trust in the organization, but it also allows them to place more focus on their growing organizational management and trauma training programs.
Karen Holliday, Back2Back’s Finance Coordinator for Donations, believes that the 360-Degree Customer View is helping to create and maintain bonds between employees and donors. One of the major challenges was the need to create a data model for donor and family relationships in the constituent database.
“Our staff and volunteers want to know donors personally, but as our donor base grows, this is becoming more challenging to accomplish organically,” she said. “At Back2Back, there are donor families that are three generations deep in the constituent database. Because Back2Back values building and maintaining relationships with our donors, it is critical to be able to understand those relationships in the constituent records.”
NetSuite’s 360-Degree Customer View feature enables staff to see all data and notes related to any donor and be able to ‘understand the donors’ (and donors’ families) perspective, their relationships with on-site staff, and their connections to the children benefiting from Back2Back’s services.
This ensures that correspondence is not duplicated and helps staff to maintain personalized relationships with their donor constituents. The organization has also seen the benefits of the 360-View through the story told by NetSuite’s integrated analytics. Since the deployment of NetSuite in 2017, Back2Back has greatly accelerated its donor-to-cash and financial close processes.
Back2Back’s successful NetSuite implementation is an example of a nonprofit organization using cloud technology to optimize internal processes and expand its impact on the community it serves.
We aligned Back2Back’s people and processes with the enterprise reporting power of NetSuite, which has streamlined their internal donor management and financial reporting processes. The NetSuite implementation has improved donor relationship management and prepared this successful organization for future expansion.