Five Ways Process Innovation Improves Tribal Nations’ Use of Federal Funds
By ImageSource Team on August 3, 2023
In March of 2023, President Biden’s White House announced the U.S. government’s largest-ever direct federal investment in Tribal Nations and Native communities. Fiscal year 2024 sees budget allocations of $9.4 billion to the Indian Health Service (IHS), $4.7 billion for Tribal programs administered by the Department of the Interior (DOI), and more than $1 billion to fund Tribal efforts to expand affordable housing, among other investments.
Tribes also stand to see a significant increase in funding earmarked for Native and public safety, water rights settlements, infrastructure, internet, clean energy initiatives, increased enrollment for Tribal colleges and universities, and economic opportunity in Tribal and rural communities.
To realize the full potential of these funding opportunities, Tribal Nations must embrace process innovation. Leaders should seek high-utility technology solutions that support a wide array of activities including, but not limited to: grant applications, budgeting and spending, program management, and reporting spending data to the U.S. federal government.
How Process Innovation Empowers Tribal Nations
- Streamlines Federal Funding Allocation
Manual allocation and federal funds management is time-consuming and vulnerable to human error. Process automation relieves the stress on Tribal Nation employees by modernizing this critical task.
Automated systems streamline the application, approval, and disbursement of funds resulting in faster qualification, receipt of funds, and program funding that enhances community prosperity. These solutions reduce bureaucratic delays and ensure that funds are distributed more equitably. By eliminating manual errors and data inconsistencies, process automation ensures accuracy and accountability in fund allocation.
- Financial Management and Reporting
Sound financial management is crucial for any organization, and Tribal Nations are no exception. Process automation technology simplifies budgeting, expense tracking, and accounts payable while also improving accuracy. With automated systems in place, Tribal leaders have real-time access to financial data, enabling them to make well-informed decisions about spending and investments.
Automated reporting also facilitates compliance with federal requirements, creating transparency in how funds are spent. Prompt, clear, and accurate financial reports confirm Tribes’ eligibility and qualifications for future funding.
- Program Efficiency and Effectiveness
Tribal Nations manage a large variety of programs for community benefit – including programs focused on social services and healthcare, natural resource management, economic development, and cultural preservation. In every situation, process automation enhances insights for both administrators and participants.
Content management systems maintain rich information databases that support 360° views into member profiles and benefits history, while workflows facilitate processes like enrollment, program registration, and project management. Enhancing digital processes in this way frees Tribal leaders to focus more on the actual delivery of services to enrolled members.
- Data-Driven Decision-Making
Process automation not only centralizes data collection and access but also facilitates data analysis and actionable insights. Automated analytics give Tribal Nations a valuable line of sight into community needs and emerging trends – enabling Tribes to make accurate predictions about future requirements.
Data-driven planning enables leaders to allocate resources where they are most needed, leading to more effective benefits programs and better outcomes for Native communities.
- Community Engagement
In order to make a positive impact, Tribal Nation members must know about and be able to access programs easily. Process innovation is an essential resource for enhancing community awareness and involvement.
Automated digital experience (DX) platforms use customized information displays and notifications to inform community members about programs, events, and opportunities. AI can make service recommendations based on member history or eligibility, while online survey tools enable the community to provide the valuable feedback that helps improve Tribal Nations policies and program offerings.
Tribal Nations enhance the well-being of their communities through an array of vital services. To secure the maximum amount of available funding and create the best quality of life for members, they must implement technology solutions that support processes like streamlined fund allocation, financial management, program effectiveness, and data-informed decision making.
By automating processes, Tribal Nations can foster greater efficiency, transparency, and accountability – allowing leaders to use financial resources more effectively and remain in good standing for future funding from external sources.
Investing in process innovation is not just a step towards technological progress, but also a commitment to stewarding and disbursing funds responsibly to generate the most benefit for Native communities.