When most Americans think of Alaska, they think of petroleum and vast landscapes, of oil workers and hearty fishermen, of glaciers and Mount Denali (McKinley), of a strong a vibrant people. These are only part of Alaska’s treasures. Twice the size of Texas and larger than all but 18 of the world’s nations, the state is, of course, really big, and has a climate and limited infrastructure that can be a challenge to any organization, especially one that thousands of youth in the state rely on. Such is the challenge for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska (www.bgcalaska.org), a nonprofit that offers programs in more than 30 communities in the state, giving kids safe places to learn and grow.
A few years ago, Charlotte E. Dennis, the CFO of the Boys and Girls Clubs, turned to AccuFund to help improve their financial and resource management. Having been associated with the nonprofit since about 1980 when her own children were involved in youth activities, Charlotte joined as a staff member in 1997. She says that AccuFund helps them achieve their core mission of providing fun, safe and educational activities to more than 10,000 kids per day and 50,000 to 60,000 additional children who participate in non-daily activities. Services and activities include licensed childcare and a variety of after-school programs and athletic leagues, including soccer, football, karate, basketball and aikido.
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With as much as 1,200 miles between locations, managing the organization’s various resources, including the clubhouses they use as in-kind donations, would be difficult if their management team didn’t have resources that were flexible enough to give them strong financial and managerial oversight. The organization has about 160 full and part-time staff across the state, along with hundreds of volunteers. In 2016, they saw revenue of $10.4 million, including in-kind facilities donations, investment income and more than $7 million in grants and cash donations. In addition to these programs, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska also organizes several annual fundraising events.
Charlotte and her team switched to AccuFund about five years ago. The nonprofit accounting management software has core accounting modules for GL, budgeting, AP, reconciliation, reporting and dashboards. The group also uses several additional AccuFund modules, including HR, payroll, remote access portals, purchasing, grants management and invoicing. AccuFund also offers accounting software for government entities, endowments and fundraising.
She says the most valuable modules for them are the grant management system, which allows tracking of funds by federal, state and private grants, as well as HR, AP and payroll, and the highly customizable reporting functions that let her and her staff drill down into specific transactional details and maintain strong controls, include user access rights and security.
“I really like the reporting functions, like the classifications tool and cross-year reporting, and the ability to pull information out into PDF or Excel whenever we need to.”
Charlotte noted that the system they used before switching to AccuFund was falling behind in its ability to handle complex issues. “It also wasn’t user friendly, and had limited remote access options,” she says. “But AccuFund has been great from the first day.” A local reseller helped them with initial installation and data conversion, but since then, the organization uses the support staff at AccuFund, and says that their primary support contact Jonas always comes through for them.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Alaska turned to AccuFund to help them meet their mission, and it has helped them even more by improving the organization’s efficiency and accuracy, and giving remote access to vital staff, even those in a location like Selawick, Alaska, that is so remote it “might take three plans and a dog sled” to get to in person.