Paperwork slows service delivery

Reporting requirements mandated by funders are taking up valuable time social-service workers could be using to serve clients, a new report says.

The RAND Corporation published a new study, “Meeting Funder Compliance: A Case Study of Challenges, Time Spent, and Dollars Invested,” that includes recommendations on how to minimize time and money spent on meeting reporting requirements.

Employees of one nonprofit in the study spent almost half their time on compliance-related activities, including writing reports and tracking expenses, the study says.

Nonprofits should create information systems that allow staff to create reports, update client records and share files internally, the study says, and should provide computer training to all staff and laptops to employees who work off-site.

Staff also should be trained in compliance issues, and organizations should develop procedures for completing compliance activities in ways that clearly define roles.

Funders, on the other hand, should analyze the stress their reporting requirements cause grantees, the study says, and analyze whether all data they seek are critical.

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