The Secret to Every Nonprofit's Success? Create a Data Culture

Data is the gold standard of today's modern world. It plays a critical role in decision-making for many organizations but is especially helpful for nonprofit organizations.

Adopting a data culture can help nonprofits improve their efficacy and efficiency and better position them to make a lasting impact. Nonprofits are nothing without their mission. They work tirelessly to bring about change and help those in need, but things can get murky when they don't have the right data to make informed decisions. With a systematic, data-driven approach, they can quickly deliver key insights to board members and constituents.

Often underfunded and understaffed, nonprofits struggle financially. They're competing against other organizations for the same limited pool of resources. And when employees manually handle payroll, workforce management, human resources, and other administrative tasks, they waste time, energy, and funding. Switching to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution can help nonprofits access better data and insights, making it easier to demonstrate their worth to the public.

6 Benefits of Having a Data Culture in Nonprofits

When nonprofits leverage a data-first approach, they reap many benefits, such as:

  • Effective operations
  • Informed decision-making
  • Realized goals

Data metrics help create definable goals while eliminating the superfluous. Since nonprofit budgets are always tight, a data culture provides an extra layer of protection.

1) Efficient Fundraising Efforts

Access to data can help nonprofits improve their funding outcomes. With the right systems in place, organizations can get access to data that helps them better understand factors that influence fundraising initiatives, like:

  • Timing
  • Economy
  • Methodology
  • Relationships
  • Communication

Often, nonprofits will integrate their ERP system with their CRM. This software helps track all communications with donors while segmenting them based on demographics and interests. This segmentation allows nonprofits to build solid relationships and personalize their fundraising initiatives. Instead of sending a one-size-fits-all fundraising campaign, nonprofits can easily create messaging that will resonate with each sub-group.

When integrated, a CRM and ERP system can provide a holistic view of an organization's operations, enabling staff to manage donor relationships more effectively while streamlining core business processes. This integration can lead to increased efficiency, better communication, and improved outcomes for the nonprofit.

Nonprofits that use data from both systems to understand their fundraising efforts yield the highest outcomes. As a result, organizations can create thoughtful campaigns and add more surplus.

2) Competitive Advantage

Nonprofits are constantly vying for the same small pool of funding sources. The competition is steep, and proposals for grants aren't always accepted. Most struggle with their success rate and verifiable outcomes. According to The National Center on Charitable Statistics, nonprofits' failure rate is over 30% within the first 10 years. Without quantitative data, funders lack the confidence to provide support. But, with a data culture, nonprofits can weave their success rate into their mission, creating a compelling, stand-out story in an oversaturated space.

3) Improved Communications

With an ERP system, nonprofits can fix performance issues and inefficient procedures. Inaction and financial mismanagement kill organizations, but a data culture helps build a seamless infrastructure. Nonprofits can use data to communicate more efficiently with directors, volunteers, and board members by sharing important procedures and operations such as:

  • Timeline of events
  • Training and orientation
  • Event planning
  • Project management

4) Cost-effective 

Nonprofits founded in data culture avoid wasting resources on undesirable programs or initiatives. Without this excessive waste, nonprofits can focus on programs that drive more impact. Moreover, data can help nonprofits streamline manual and redundant processes saving them even more time and money.

Imagine a small 501c3 collecting donations from various sources for different causes, and the organization needs something to automate or streamline donation collection or tracking. They're likely managing multiple lists on multiple platforms and exporting and importing spreadsheets for every donation and donor.

Time is money, and this is not time well spent. Moreover, manual labor alone results in energy depletion and leaves room for errors. With a data culture, nonprofits have a consolidated view of their donors and can easily create cost and labor-saving systems.

5) Improved reporting

An ERP system allows nonprofits to track and report on important operational metrics easily. These might include:

  • volunteer hours
  • programming
  • fundraising and grants
  • budgeting
  • forecasting
  • KPI monitoring

Form filling and fundraising plans are essential to bringing money into nonprofits, but applying for those much-needed grants requires the right dataset. With an ERP, nonprofits can leverage key insights to clearly define their roadmap and strategic plan one year ahead and five or even ten years. 

6) Greater Credibility

Nonprofits must have an upstanding reputation and always promote transparency and accountability.

With data-driven decision-making, nonprofits can easily communicate their programs' results and impact to their stakeholders. This level of transparency allows nonprofits to build trust with their donors, supporters, and the communities they serve and demonstrate the value of their work.

Data culture helps nonprofits achieve their goals and make a lasting impact. With an ERP, Nonprofits can use data to prioritize their infrastructure by:

  • Measuring programming
  • Promoting transparency
  • Operating efficiently
  • Remaining competitive 

Embracing a culture of data guides nonprofits with insightful decision-making so they can continue doing the crucial work of helping others.

Choose An ERP Solution Today To Help Build A Data Culture

An ERP platform can make all the difference in any nonprofit organization's day-to-day operations. And while many solutions are on the market, Sparkrock's innovative ERP software is designed with nonprofit organizations in mind. With Sparkrock 365 and Microsoft, you can access integrated data capabilities, AI, and machine learning to enable organization-wide data connectivity. Contact the Sparkrock 365 team today to learn more about our services and see what our software can do for your nonprofit.

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With Sparkrock 365, you'll have the tools to manage your finances and workforce more efficiently so you can focus on what you do best. Go from paper-based processes to intelligent online workflows, and access the data you need to make a real difference in your community.
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