Analytics is a process that uses tools to collect those ever-increasing volumes of diverse types of data from multiple sources, sort them out at record speeds, analyze them, and use them to gain new insights. This concept has existed for decades, and it has been recreated with modern and more powerful tools to consolidate today's data upsurge.
Non-profits run the extent in terms of using analytics. Some are only getting started, utilizing business intelligence and dashboard software for their budgeting and forecasting procedures, while others have gone far along the continuum and are considering effective ways to get more unstructured data to further enhance their existing analytics models.
Indeed, there are plenty of reasons a non-profit should use analytics. It is highly beneficial in the following areas:
Managing and consolidating data: The challenge for most non-profits is not that they have no data, but rather they cannot get to the data they need for certain situations. Data come from various sources across numerous applications, and having one source takes massive effort. Instead of sifting through different data silos, non-profits can utilize enterprise reporting tools for consolidating several data sources into one data model, as well as for getting a global view of the operations. Organizations can get a better gist of who's using their services and how they're using them.
By viewing past external and internal data, non-profits can plan for future strategies. Analytic tools can help organizations spot patterns, set goals to improve historic metrics, and address all issues moving forward. Using charts, graphs, and animation, users will be able to visualize data by means of customizable dashboards. Managers can design interactive dashboards, operate queries, and draw out reports based on the organization's needs.
Budgeting & forecasting: For non-profits, the annual shuffling of the spreadsheet is a dreaded yet unavoidable reality. It is an all-hands-on-deck procedure that intends to pull data from various systems, people, and departments. Analytics can help non-profits do away with the challenge of planning, forecasting, and budget management processes through several unsynchronized spreadsheets. The tools centralize the information and streamline collaboration, allowing sophisticated "what-if" models to enable complex designing and analysis. Scorecarding and integrated reports enable non-profits to monitor their progress towards their goals real-time.
Raising more money and organizing outreach: Fundraising is the driving force of non-profits, and the bottom line of fundraising programs is always productivity. To raise more funds, a non-profit need to request for more in a smart way. From deciding on the campaign ask amount to determining readiness for solicitation, and from analyzing staffing to gauging return on investment, analytic tools can help non-profits raise more funds.
Non-profits must work smarter and aim for outreach programs and efforts to prospective donors. Predictive analytics can accurately pinpoint which prospects are most likely to donate. By leveraging these tools, non-profits can prioritize personal outreach and minimize overall outreach and marketing expenses, thereby maximizing returns.
Making better decisions: Most executives behind non-profits are mostly not data people and they often have no one to provide them with data. Modern, effective leadership in non-profit organizations requires a more thorough decision support, and this is where analytics could come in. Analytics [excel dashboards] can pin down gaps, shed light on production clogs, and reveal more opportunities than any other tools there are to date. Equipping organizations with relevant and timely data can be transformative and productive for non-profits.
Doing more with existing workforce: Staff efficiencies is one of the immediate benefits of analytics. Prospect researchers will be able to find prospects for an assignment by looking at fewer names. This can produce twice the output from research. Analytics can also help in tuning procedures such as engagement strategies and prospect management.
Complying with requirements: Non-profits are bound by certain regulations that govern the types of data they gather, how they use them, and what information to report. Analytics' business intelligence helps organizations collect, manage, and analyze data, as well as compile reports, while complying with requirements.
Improving global perspective: Analytics is also used to get a global insight of all aspects - from asset management and staffing to forecasting and fundraising. Aside from consolidating and making existing data sensible, analytics can create new sources of data available to non-profits, providing exceptional insight into the operations.