When every dollar is donated, there’s always pressure to cut costs. As a result, nonprofit organizations often make cuts to areas that aren’t front line client work — areas such as maintenance. Unfortunately, this can drive costs up, as constant reactive maintenance repair and disorganization take up valuable volunteer or employee time. With constant breakdowns and without the resources to fix them, your non-profit is less effective and may lose focus on its overall mission.

A computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) can help organizations of all sizes streamline their maintenance responsibilities while saving money. CMMS systems have the ability to reduce overall costs in many ways, from increasing the longevity of your assets through proactive maintenance repair to reducing overtime hours by streamlining redundant admin work onto a digital system. Read on to learn CMMS software for Non Profits can help every aspect.

The Business of Running a Nonprofit

Maintaining facilities while keeping costs down challenges many organizations, but the nature of nonprofit work makes it even more difficult. Small nonprofits may not have a full-time maintenance manager, and those that do often have volunteers handling the bulk of maintenance and repair work. Attendance can be unpredictable, and there aren’t always enough people to finish maintenance tasks — not to mention the difficulty in finding volunteers with the right skills to do repairs.

It’s also challenging to communicate what needs to be done, since someone who comes in once or twice a week won’t understand all your maintenance needs. And if something breaks and you only have one or two volunteers who know how to fix it, there might be no one available; you would have to either wait until their next volunteer day or hunt for an outside contractor who can do the job.

Many nonprofits use old, donated equipment that breaks more often and their facilities may not be in particularly good repair, requiring more upkeep than newer buildings. But with unpredictable budget constraints, there’s always the temptation to defer maintenance tasks as long as possible.

Although grants and donation campaigns are helpful in funding important non-profit programming, these funds are typically allocated to one project and cannot be used for facility repair or maintenance.  In short, you’re depending on inexperienced (and sometimes, unreliable) volunteers to maintain outdated equipment and facilities on a shoestring budget.

What is CMMS software?

A Computerized Maintenance Management System, or CMMS, is software that streamlines all aspects of your maintenance duties. It makes it easier to:

  • Schedule and automate maintenance tasks on a computerized calendar
  • Provide a simple work order request portal for clients, staff, and volunteers
  • Track work orders and create them on-the-go via a mobile CMMS app
  • Generate scheduled work orders for outside vendors
  • Monitor equipment and worker performance and generate reports.

“Without software, maintenance personnel are forced to manage with manual methods, such as paper work orders or spreadsheets and calendars,” says Taylor Short, CMMS market researcher at Software Advice, a website that compares and reviews CMMS Software and other business software.

CMMS is used by everyone from small businesses to multinational corporations, however the complexity of some maintenance management software can make it impractical for most nonprofits. Hippo CMMS is designed to be user-friendly enough for the smallest non-profit, but feature-rich enough for large organizations with complex needs.


Do you host fundraisers or press events at your facility?

No matter how chaotic things get behind the scenes, your organization needs to look perfect during a fundraiser or media event. The building needs to be spotless, the climate controlled, and any unsightly damage to the facilities has to be fixed.

Additionally, you may have to set up an AV system or other rarely used equipment to entertain and inform your guests. A missing mic cable or a blown internal fuse could mean the difference between an effective keynote speech that impresses the donors, and a fiasco that makes them think twice about supporting your organization.

Hippo’s On Demand Work Order Management Software can help you make sure all repair and setup tasks are completed before the big event. You can use the tool to connect staff, volunteers, maintenance managers and outside technicians. Anyone you add can submit maintenance requests when needed, notifying the maintenance manager immediately.

The manager can then assign each task to a volunteer or outside contractor, categorize it, mark its priority and add other pertinent details. Managers can also access in-depth reporting to track completed work orders or discover overdue projects.

Because Hippo CMMS works from any device, anyone with access to the system in your organization can update work orders. That means you’ll know the PA has been set up, and the meeting room has been cleaned, instead of realizing that the mic won’t turn on when it’s too late to do anything about it.

Do you manage multiple properties?

Small nonprofits can run on good leadership and a few dedicated volunteers. Working across multiple properties, however, drastically increases the complexity of facility management and building maintenance.

Logistics get trickier. You can’t depend on word of mouth or managing work orders with paper, since information won’t flow reliably from one building to another. Tools you put down at one building end up in the other, as staff or volunteers borrow them to do needed repairs. Without a centralized system, reporting on maintenance progress across all facilities becomes more time consuming.

This lack of organization often goes unnoticed until there’s an emergency. The plumbing breaks in the new building, or the electricity goes out, and you realize you don’t know what parts are on hand. You can either hope your tools are where you saw them last, or dole out money for an emergency hardware run.

Hippo CMMS software eliminates the stress of maintaining multiple sites. Our asset and equipment maintenance management system allows you to view all your equipment from a floor plan and stores images, O&M manuals and other crucial information, so volunteers, employees and outside contractors will always have important documents on hand. You can even set up inventory warnings to restock when parts get low, and schedule regular maintenance for HVAC, water heaters, and anything else that needs consistent tune-ups.

Do you provide healthcare services?

When healthcare is involved, small mistakes can have drastic consequences. Whether you work at a large nonprofit hospital or a small, free clinic, keeping the facilities clean and the equipment in good working order makes a big difference in the quality of patient care provided by your staff.

Additionally, maintenance procedures are more complicated in healthcare. There are specific rules for how and when facilities need to be cleaned, and strict access control policies, which can complicate maintenance scheduling. Specialized equipment like MRI machines need to be maintained on a consistent basis, requiring outside technicians. And on top of all of that, you still have to do all the regular building and facilities maintenance.

Hippo CMMS software provides healthcare and hospital maintenance management solutions for organizations of any size. It’s scalable and comes with unlimited users, allowing you to give the right level of access to everyone who needs it, from the head administrator, to technicians who only come in when a specialized repair is needed.

Doctors, nurses and other staff can submit work requests to the maintenance manager, who can prioritize them and assign them to cleaning staff, contractors or outside techs in real time. Managers can also set the software to automatically create task lists of preventive maintenance activities, which workers can receive and update on portable devices.

Because the software organizes and stores contractor information, it’s easy to keep track of specialized preventive maintenance as well. Whether you need the floors scrubbed tomorrow or the x-ray machine serviced by an outside technician in 6 months, Hippo CMMS automatically sends out and tracks the work order.

Are the assets in your facility irreplaceable?

The quiet, reflective atmosphere of a gallery or museum may seem like the polar opposite of a busy healthcare facility, but both require painstaking care from maintenance staff. Neglect needed maintenance to the climate control system, and you could damage a priceless painting or cultural artifact. Use the wrong cleaning chemical, and you could destroy a one-of-a-kind antique.

Hippo CMMS software reduces the possibility of human error. Work orders aren’t relayed by word of mouth or jotted down on paper — they’re logged and tracked in software, with as much detail as necessary. Preventive maintenance work orders contain step-by-step task checklists, ensuring a standardized approach to each work order.

That’s not a trivial difference; it would be impractical to send a cleaning crew around with a binder filled with specific instructions for each item or section of a fragile collection. With Hippo, however, it’s easy. Each worker receives individual work orders from their smartphone or tablet, with special care instructions for each task. With greater accountability and more information, you can be sure each member of your maintenance staff will treat the works with the care they deserve.

Do you have difficulty keeping up with codes or inspections?

If you operate in the U.S you’re probably already on the hook for OSHA and labor laws. There are also building safety codes to follow — smoke alarms and fire extinguishers to maintain, and exit ways to keep free of clutter. There are additional codes if you provide housing or medical services, teach skills or operate a machine shop, sell products or cook and serve food — nearly anything your organization does adds compliance requirements. A single failed inspection could result in big fines, facility shutdown and a damaged reputation.

Hippo CMMS software makes it easier to keep up with all the little details. Routine compliance tasks like making sure exits are clear can be turned into automatic work orders that recur as often as needed. The CMMS automatically informs the maintenance manager, ensuring that even tasks that only have to be done once every several months, like checking the smoke alarms, aren’t forgotten. 

In a non-profit, every dollar counts. An inefficient maintenance department can stress your budget, and make your organization less effective. Hippo CMMS can help your nonprofit organization accomplish all the work that goes on behind the scenes, while saving more money for your mission.

About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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