Interview with serial digital entrepreneur and McKinsey advisor James Bilefield on the ingredients of a successful digital transformation.
Business Analytics comes to the NFP sector to drive success, reduce resource strain, and better understand your mission. And, more importantly, it’s not going to burn a hole in your finances.
By Rushad Billimoria, Information Systems Manager: Not-for-Profits & Aged Care
What sort of analytics are you using in your NFP? Spreadsheet queries? CRM reports? User-friendly, in-depth Business Intelligence or Analytics is no longer a bleeding edge technology, it’s now within reach for non-profits to produce deep insights, without a huge price tag.
Analytics products can produce:
- Standard Reports
- Ad Hoc Reports
- Query Drilldown or On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP)
- Alerts or Triggers
- Statistical Analysis
- Segmentation or Descriptive Data
- Predictive Modeling
- Decision Support System (DSS) or Prescriptive Analytics
(via The Definitive Guide to Nonprofit Analytics)
These can all be applied in critical areas of your NFP, such as donor and volunteer insights, strategic partnerships, and goal setting.
Insight into donor and volunteer behaviours
How do you currently track donors and volunteers and their behaviour? Via a self-made spreadsheet or database? Perhaps a lightweight CRM? What are you doing with all that data you have? Simply tracking donations, priming donors when alerts pop up, asking volunteers to reach out to their networks?
There is a lot more that you can do with donor and volunteer data with the power of analytics.
For instance, when Target Analytics, a division of Blackbaud, used analytics to conduct research into the influences on donors surrounding their first $1000 donation. What they found was that 14% made their first $1000 donation after the 7 years of giving mark, and 21% after 8 years.
By used advanced analytics and time series data, you too can discover these sorts of patterns in your donors and volunteers. This will help drive business decisions and set realistic and achievable goals.
Strategic partnerships driven by data
In 2019, collaboration is easier than ever. With the power of the internet, we can easily find strategic partners that can help us along in our journey, connect with similar NFP heads or commercial figures nationally and internationally via the power of LinkedIn, and strategise together across borders and boundaries.
Analytics can help pinpoint the connections and partnerships you should consider by clever market segmentation. For further discussion on this topic, we recommend reading “Community Influences: Implementing Nonprofit Market Analysis to Evaluate Partnerships.”
Working together with other agencies and individuals can be facilitated by new technologies making data sharing simple, organised, frictionless, and with instant collaboration.
Not only this, with these systems in place, you can then utilise all the captured communications, updates, movement of data, and quality of the relationship to assess the effectiveness of the partnership itself, as well as guide you in choosing new partners in the future.
Heightened effectiveness and razor focus on NFP goals
The beauty of data-driven decision making is most clear when it comes to your monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. goals. When you have clear goals in place with associated quantitative measurement factors, business analytics can keep you on track, help focus goals more clearly, guide next period goals, and time-predictive analysis to truly see how effective your efforts are.
“Most nonprofits measure the age-old standard known as RFM — recency, frequency, monetary value. Business intelligence takes this data and turns it into actionable intelligence. This means that the type of information that is analyzed through BI (Business Intelligence aka Analytics) can lead to the steps necessary to not only improve those KPI figures, but develop new metrics for measuring performance success.” – Heather Hawkins, Stratus Live
If you use analytics in only one place in your NFP, it should be for goal tracking and improvement.
Think analytics software is difficult and expensive? Think again
Using commercially available business analytics software such as Microsoft’s Power BI is not only decades ahead in terms detailed, AI-driven analysis rather than personally developed spreadsheets, it’s also relatively easy to use once you get the hang of it. If you already use the Microsoft suite of products – and particularly if you’ve already made the switch to O365 – you’re already in a good position to start taking advantage of their data analytics product, Power BI. It utilises your data from other sources such as spreadsheets, CRMS, and email communications to find key insights from your existing data. Their pricing plans for nonprofits are also very reasonably priced, from $3/user/month at the time of print.
Separate to the latest products like Power BI, there are other options that we use at Bremmar and find effective, such as SRSS (SQL Server Reporting Services). SRSS is effective at delivering highly customised reports and dashboards with built-in calculations.
If you would like to test the waters first, we recommend thinking about one custom report that you think would benefit your organisation or a particular staff member the most. Work out how you would like the report to look and what information you would like in it. Depending on how complex your report is, we usually require between 4 to 16 hours labour to complete a custom report on your behalf and we aim to teach you as we go.
Now that you are armed with all this information, you need to put all the pieces together and start that learning and insights journey – and that’s where we come in. We help with recommendations through to planning, implementation, ongoing support and training.
Contact us on 1300 991 351 to start making your data work harder for you – instead of working harder for your data.
Get an initial consultation with Bremmar!
We can help with software, technology implementation, strategy and staff training.
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