Nonprofit Organization Plans In Volatile Times
Case Study

Nonprofit Organization Plans In Volatile Times

by Brenda Kahler
March 10, 2021

A San Francisco nonprofit organization enhances access, recreation and education programs to the some of the most visited national parks in the U.S. The organization depends on tourist tours, seven visitor centers and 10 retail sites for 80% of its total operating revenue. When COVID-19 stay-at-home orders took effect in March 2020, the nonprofit needed to quickly reforecast its budget and be able to support a remote workforce with financial software that was easy to use and agile.

At A Glance


Heavily utilized spreadsheets for budgeting.


Implemented cloud CPM software to automate data collection, streamline the budgeting process, build custom models.


Achieve a 360-degree view into their data organized by any dimension.


In the past, the organization heavily utilized spreadsheets for budgeting. The finance team was using a software program for their financial calculations, but it did not offer cost allocation modeling. They were relying on spreadsheets to figure out allocations, and it was challenging to get the budget prepared on time.

The software was also on-premise, which made it difficult for the team to work from home. It offered limited visibility into data, and they could not organize the data in a way that allowed them to directly tie it to the budget system or create custom modeling. “It would take 45 minutes to make a change in the payroll model and then see the change in the budget. And while it was cranking through calculations, the screen was locked up and we couldn’t do anything else,” said the nonprofit’s Vice President, Finance & Analytics.

Reporting was very limited without the flexibility to categorize reports in the way they needed to. It took more than 30 minutes to run a report.


The organization partnered with Armanino experts to implement Workday’s Adaptive Planning Business Planning Cloud to automate data collection, streamline the budgeting process, build custom models, and have the work-from-home and reporting flexibility they needed. The cloud-based solution allows every functional group within an organization to plan, including finance, administration, operations, HR and more.


After a successful implementation that was on time and on budget, the finance team now has data integration from a variety of sources, including Sage Intacct, and can quickly drill down into the data as needed. “We have less manual data entry and can build models in the software itself that can be made to our specifications. A big change for us has been that we can now make adjustments and see the results in our budget book with lightning speed,” said the VP of Finance & Analytics.

Adaptive Planning has enabled the nonprofit to:

  • Use flexible revenue planning and modeling with automated updated versioning
  • Achieve a 360-degree view into their data organized by any dimension
  • Use detailed personnel assumptions based on position level and allocate staff costs across departments, grants and projects
  • Easily create reporting with specific parameters that meet any user’s needs
  • Generate board confidence with clear forecasting and reporting based on accurate data
  • Support a remote workforce with cloud-based internet access

“Because we can so easily model and reforecast, we’ve been able to change our model and create a budget that we can live within while we prepare multiple forecasting models based on what may happen when the pandemic eases,” said the VP of Finance & Analytics. “Without Adaptive [Planning], we would not have been able to do this as fast or as effectively. Being able to do so has been critical to enabling us to continue our mission.”

This has helped the finance team and the entire organization not only weather the pandemic but also plan for what business looks like after.


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