Increase Funding for Your Nonprofit with the Power of Data
In recent years, the non-profit industry has vastly transformed to become more data driven and impact focused. Many non-profits have had, and continue to have, difficulties keeping up with their shifting industry. Grant-makers and foundations are increasingly asking for more data. Understandably, they want to know that the money they are putting into your organization will yield valuable results. Now, it isn’t just enough to tell your story, you need to prove your impact.
If you’re struggling to keep up with the continuous push for data, you’re not alone. According to the study, The State of Data in the Nonprofit Sector, only 40% of nonprofit professionals use data very often or for every decision they make. There are a lot of reasons why collecting and using data is difficult, right? Well, yes and no.
What are some of the things keeping you from utilizing the power of data? Here are a few of the barriers you might be facing:
Not enough personnel and time for data dedication
Lack of tools to help track and analyze data
These are all very valid issues, but there are ways to overcome them.
Define your success
Before you get too excited about getting started with collecting your data, you first need to define what success looks like for your non-profit. Your data should be measuring your success as an organization. Think about what metrics will help you show that you are executing your mission.
Next, come up with the steps to get you to complete that goal, as well as the quantifiable measurements to track your progress. Some of the types of data you can, and should be, reporting on are:
Fundraising data Example: I want to raise 10% more than the previous year for our annual holiday event.
Financial data Example: I want to decrease billing write-offs by 5% in the next year.
Program data Example: I want to decrease physical interventions required in behavioral programs by 20% in the next six months.
Once you know what exactly it is you want to accomplish to advance your mission, the next steps for data collection and usage become a lot easier.
Shift your organizational culture
In order for your organization to make data collection and analysis as seamless as possible, you will have to adjust your organizational culture to be more data-driven. Your team members are key to data collection and analysis, which is why having a data-driven decision-making culture is extremely important. Without this cultural shift, data collection and usage will become increasingly difficult as the funding environment continues to change.
You can get started with this shift by choosing one goal and defining the metric to achieve that goal. Next, collect data over time that isn’t too difficult to track and then use it to demonstrate to your team that the thing measured is actually making a positive difference in your organization. Once they see the impact, you can start collecting and analyzing more data.
It is important that your team members are champions of data collection and understand that it will help them do their jobs more efficiently and more effectively. Having the tools to easily track the data they need is essential to the organizational transition.
Find the right tool
Many nonprofit organizations are currently lacking the necessary tools to track and analyze important data. Even when they do have the tools, they often find them to be outdated or difficult to use. Another issue is that many organizations have multiple software programs which all focus on different aspects and many of which are not compatible with one another. This can make data management even more difficult and can lead to inaccurate and duplicative data.
Figure 1: The State of Data in The Nonprofit Sector
Finding a software platform which can do the job of multiple platforms under one umbrella is key. For instance, the imPowr platform gives you the ability to manage your clients, employees, board, fundraising, grants, and much more, all in one system. These capabilities give you a 360° view of your organization, allowing you to focus on providing the best care for those you serve.
If a data tracking tool isn’t in your budget, then it is time to make it a top priority. Having your organization’s data easily monitored and clearly presented can lead to an exponential increase in funding opportunities.
Funders need to know that the money they put into your organization will yield quantifiable results. Using the correct tool can help with proving your impact. Not only will you be able to provide the information that funders are asking for, you will also be able to use that data for your own strategic planning to see what’s working, and what isn’t, in your organization.
To get started with a platform that can help you prove your impact and increase your funding, schedule a free demo.