How Finance Can Support Traveling Nonprofit Employees


Running a nonprofit means having meetings.  And many of those meetings mean travel.  Whether the purpose of the trip is to scout a new location, visit a major donor, or cementing a partnership with an affiliate, it’s important that traveling workers have what they need to make their journeys successful.


According to current statistics, business travel is more common than many realize. In the U.S. alone, employees take 488 million business trips each year (including 12 trips a year for older travelers and 14 trips a year for younger employees).

With so much travel taking place, it’s imperative that your organization’s traveling workers are supported with the right tools and strategies. Let’s take a look at three keys to support your traveling employees, your finance team, and your organization:

1) A clearly understandable travel policy

There’s nothing worse for a staff member than to be asked to take a trip for the organization without understanding the organization’s travel policy. This policy must outline what is expected of employees, as well as what’s expected of the company, especially when it comes to paying for travel costs and reimbursement.

According to a report from the Global Business Travel Association, 79 percent of traveling employees noted that their organization’s travel policy has the largest impact on booking decisions. In fact, this policy has become even more critical than overall convenience and the price of the trip.

A clear policy ensures that travelers understand all guidelines, reimbursement and other important factors that contribute to their plans. Staff members should be completely clear about corporate travel guidelines, reimbursement and other important factors that contribute to their plans.

“The study results show that travelers want to do the right thing,” said Tobias Ragge, CEO of the hotel giant HRS. “Communicating the travel policy through the right channels at the right time and listening to your travelers’ feedback is key.”

2) Continual communication

Communication isn’t just important where the travel policy is concerned. It’s also essential that traveling employees are able to communicate with their managers and other co-workers, even when operating outside of the office.

According to research from Office Vibe, the majority of staff members – 65 percent – crave more feedback about their work. And because 69 percent of employees work harder when their efforts are recognized, and 78 percent noted that this recognition contributes to being more motivated on the job overall, it’s important that managers don’t let communication lapse during a business trip.

“Feedback and engagement becomes especially important for team members who are less visible or interact with colleagues infrequently because of remote working,” Forbes contributor Kavi Guppta wrote.

3) An easy-to-use expense reporting solution

Finance managers know that one of the most complex factors of travel surrounds the process of keeping track and reporting expenses.

Expense management software must not only be user-friendly but it also must:

  • Integrate with your nonprofit accounting software (such as Sage Intacct or Abila MIP), making it easier to sync and utilize data across these important internal platforms.
  • Support multiple different currencies, particularly if employees make frequent trips out of the country.
  • Be accessed via mobile devices, enabling employees to more easily track and report expenses on the go.

An expense management solution can considerably streamline the approval process and reimbursement for employees, while making it easy for executives to glean real-time visibility they need into their company’s travel costs.

To learn more about expense management, visit here

CATEGORIES: Best Practices