For nonprofits, the most significant obstacle to data and analytics isn’t technology. Those roadblocks are vanishing thanks to dramatic declines in storage costs, powerful and flexible Software-as-a-Service solutions, and open-source and cloud-based platforms.
The primary barrier? Organizational mindsets.
|The real challenge is creating a data-driven culture, determining how to use and synthesize data effectively and meaningfully. And it doesn’t end. We are constantly utilizing the data to test new ways of reaching supporters.
|There is a fear about just using analytics, and thinking that everything is just a number. People are uncomfortable with that because it doesn’t pick up the whole story. You really need to look at the right numbers, and need to balance perspectives.
Pinpoint the target outcomes
Are you aiming for higher operational efficiency? Greater beneficiary reach? Be clear about your end goal.
Get support to understand the tools
Grantees, grantors and those working in the social impact space can streamline efforts globally by creating a baseline standard for reporting.
Don’t be afraid to fail
When diving into analytics, you may face some difficult truths about outcomes or processes that need to change. Maintain an open mind, be ready to fail fast, and reboot to try again.
Share, collaborate and scale change
Digital analytics are here to stay. Grantees, grantors, innovators, data geeks and creatives must work together and be open to sharing methods, data and results to enhance social impact initiatives and causes around the world.
|We are looking at using data and information responsibly to drive our decision making—and we are being good stewards of our funds because of that.
|Over a seven-year period, we accrued $85 million with 25 percent more efficiency, 25 percent increase in students served and 35 percent graduation rate increase. We used data-driven process in student outcomes and operations. The ROI was a product of a virtuous cycle. I do believe that data in the absence of story are dead on arrival.