Foundation funds offer a variety of benefits such as giving institutions of higher education an opportunity to create special learning experiences that may not be obtainable through regular budget resources. Managing these restricted funds via a paper-based process can be a challenge for the foundation across the campus.
Looking at the Foundation challenges
Colleges and universities set up foundations based on a variety of funds that are established by donors and similar sources, and each endowment has a set of rules and regulations surrounding how those resources are disbursed. Training faculty and staff to follow the proper procedures to request and accept funding is a critical need, but it is only the first step. In practice, effective foundation management involves:
- Identifying whether a specific request fits within the guidelines of a foundation.
- Documenting the project in full to ensure that all funds are disbursed properly and that fraud does not occur.
- Ensuring foundation managers have a clear understanding of the requests that are coming in relative to the amount of acceptable spend.
- Connecting stakeholders within the university to keep everybody in the foundation, or those who are using it, up to date on expectations.
- Getting funds out to teams that are leading initiatives in a timely enough fashion to keep everything running smoothly.
Staying on top of these problems across an entire campus has long proven problematic as academic institutions have relied on paper-based processes, or makeshift digital communication, to handle foundation requests. In this situation, a professor setting up a guest lecturer, for example, would end up reaching out to the dean of the college for a first layer of approval. From there, the dean would need to check in with the CFO of the foundation and any other stakeholders, along with everybody needing access to documentation about the project, which often needs to be specific to the foundation. At any point, paperwork can get lost, emails end up ignored or a small mistake may derail the project.
"Going paperless enables institutions to streamline foundation disbursements."
Going digital to move past longstanding limitations
Document management systems integrate the diverse processes that go into foundation requests. Digital forms can be set up, for example, based on the rules of each foundation so a professor filling out the form immediately knows what information is needed to ensure the request is relevant. The electronic files can then be sent to all relevant stakeholders, and those individuals can easily get a top-down view of all the requests coming in. This benefits everybody involved in the process by ensuring they all understand what is involved in the foundation and how to prioritize funding.
All told, going paperless enables institutions to accelerate and streamline foundation disbursements, making it easier to fund special educational opportunities.
To learn how PaperSave can help your organization capture, integrate and automate your processes, please watch our personalized demonstration or visit our case studies page to read about our clients' success stories.