Paypal vs Integrated Donation form

Time for a Spreadsheet Intervention? The Critical Importance of Organizational Memory

We’ve all seen them – spreadsheets that have gotten out of hand; with columns going on into infinity. Some nonprofits rely on them entirely, with their organization’s data scattered across dozens of spreadsheets. How can anyone possibly use this information? That’s the problem: they can’t! Keeping information in a spreadsheet is like archiving it. You might as well pack it away in a box and store it in the basement to collect dust.

So, what’s the problem? Well, the accumulation of your organization’s data or “organizational memory” can be instrumental to its success, but only if that information is usable. So, it may be time for a spreadsheet intervention.

The Importance of Organizational Memory

Consider, for a moment, the importance that memory plays in every aspect of your life: in building relationships, working, or perfecting a recipe for something you like to cook. In whatever you do, memory helps you improve decisions and avoid problems. It works the same for organizations. For decades, big business has appreciated the importance of what is termed “Organizational Memory”, and it is just as important to nonprofits.

Organizational Memory is defined as “the accumulated body of data, information, and knowledge created in the course of an individual organization’s existence.” [From Wikipedia. Available here.] That body of knowledge is incredibly valuable, helping organizations do just what it helps individuals do in everyday life: improve decisions and avoid problems.

Why Spreadsheets Just Don’t Cut it

If you use spreadsheets to store that body of knowledge, however, the benefit is lost. Information captured in spreadsheets is static and one-dimensional, so organizational memory is lacking in richness. Also, once data is captured, it’s hard to use and manipulate. For example, while you can easily gather a simple list of donations from last year, anything more complicated than that is a nightmare.

With spreadsheets, therefore, organizational memory is so limited and difficult to use that it isn’t really much help at all. That body of knowledge that is critical to improving decisions and avoiding catastrophe is lost; archived away. And with no organizational recollection of the past, your organization is missing out on valuable opportunities to learn from and build on your collective experience.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana

The Integrated Database: Creating Rich, Accessible Organizational Memory

With an integrated database, on the other hand, your organization’s data is captured in a dynamic way that enables rich organizational memory. Think of the integrated database as the brain of your organization. It has a section for each type of information: contacts, communications, donations, events and so forth. Because each section is capable of communicating with the others, you have access to much more than a simple list of donations. You can see what event it was associated with it, what fundraising letter brought in the donations and anything else you can think of that will help with your analysis.

With an integrated database, therefore, one dimensional information gives way to rich organizational memory that allows you to see the bigger picture. And this information is at your fingertips at any time. Just do a simple search and there it is: data from the past helping you make better decisions for the future!

Download Your Free Guide on Choosing CRM Software for Your Nonprofit!

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

GET MORE CONTENT LIKE THIS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX!

Sign up for our newsletter packed full of nonprofit help!

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Scroll to Top

Premium Case Management Package

Take your program to the next level by integrating your fundraising.
Includes:

All Basic features:

  • Client profile & case intake definition
  • Complete case lifecycle tracking
  • Resource management
  • Service tracking
  • Email marketing
  • Reporting
  • Communication tracking
  • Workflow management
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Cloud-based access
  • Phone & email support

All Standard features:

  • Specialized Case Management setup (configured for health & social services, transition & emergency shelters, hospice & palliative care)
  • Client registration & intake webforms

Plus:

  • Donor management
  • Donation webforms
  • Pledges & monthly donations
  • Automatic receipting
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Event management

Includes: Up to 750 contacts; Up to 5GB of storage capacity
(cloud-based); Up to 13 concurrent users

Need more contacts, storage, or users? Just ask us!

Premium Memberships Package

Take your program further by integrating fundraising.
Includes:

All Basic features:

  • Manage member lifecycles
  • Member & membership tracking
  • Custom membership level definition
  • Email marketing
  • Reporting
  • Communication tracking
  • Workflow management
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Cloud-based access
  • Phone & email support

All Standard features:

  • Membership registration webforms

Plus:

  • Donations & fundraising
  • Donation webforms
  • Pledges & monthly donations
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Event management
  • Automatic receipting
Includes: Up to 750 contacts; Up to 5GB of storage capacity
(cloud-based); Up to 3 concurrent users
Need more contacts, storage, or users? Just ask us!

Standard Memberships Package

Membership purchases flow from your web forms, through payment processing, and into your database, so there's less effort and less errors.
Includes:

All Basic features:

  • Manage member lifecycles
  • Member & membership tracking
  • Custom membership level definition
  • Email marketing
  • Reporting
  • Communication tracking
  • Workflow management
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Cloud-based access
  • Phone & email support

Plus:

  • Membership registration webforms
Includes: Up to 750 contacts; Up to 5GB of storage capacity
(cloud-based); Up to 3 concurrent users
Need more contacts, storage, or users? Just ask us!

Premium Donations Package

Manage complex donations for planned giving and larger gifts.
What's Included

All Basic features:

  • Donor & donation tracking
  • Email marketing
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Pledges & monthly donations
  • Event management
  • Receipting
  • Reporting
  • Communication tracking
  • Workflow management
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Cloud-based access
  • Phone & email support

All Standard features:

  • Donation webforms

Plus:

  • Grant Management
  • Major Gift Proposals
  • Prospecting
  • Volunteer Management with online signup

Includes: Up to 750 contacts; Up to 5GB of storage capacity (cloud-based); Up to 3 concurrent users

Need more contacts, storage, or users? Just ask us!

Standard Donations Package

Donations flow from your website forms, straight through payment processing, and to your database, so there's less effort and less errors.
What's Included
All Basic features:
  • Donor & donation tracking
  • Email marketing
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Pledges & monthly donations
  • Event management
  • Receipting
  • Reporting
  • Communication tracking
  • Workflow management
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Cloud-based access
  • Phone & email support
Plus:
  • Donation webforms
Includes: Up to 750 contacts; Up to 5GB of storage capacity
(cloud-based); Up to 3 concurrent users
Need more contacts, storage, or users? Just ask us!

Basic Memberships Package

Manage your members and membership campaigns, engage members, and increasing revenue.
Includes:
  • Manage member lifecycles
  • Member & membership tracking
  • Custom membership level definition
  • Email marketing
  • Reporting
  • Communication tracking
  • Workflow management
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Cloud-based access
  • Phone & email support
Includes: Up to 750 contacts; Up to 5GB of storage capacity
(cloud-based); Up to 3 concurrent users
Need more contacts, storage, or users? Just ask us!

Basic Donations Package

Manage your donations and fundraising campaigns, engage donors, and increase revenue.
What's Included
  • Donor & donation tracking
  • Email marketing
  • Fundraising campaigns
  • Pledges & monthly donations
  • Event management
  • Receipting
  • Reporting
  • Communication tracking
  • Workflow management
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Cloud-based access
  • Phone & email support
Includes: Up to 750 contacts; Up to 5GB of storage capacity
(cloud-based); Up to 3 concurrent users
Need more contacts, storage, or users? Just ask us!

Standard Case Management Package

Pre-configured client management modules fit your exact program and make your administration even easier.
Includes:

All Basic features:

  • Client profile & case intake definition
  • Complete case lifecycle tracking
  • Resource management
  • Service tracking
  • Email marketing
  • Reporting
  • Communication tracking
  • Workflow management
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Cloud-based access
  • Phone & email support

Plus:

  • Specialized Case Management setup (configured for health & social services, transition & emergency shelters, hospice & palliative care)
  • Client registration & intake webforms

Includes: Up to 750 contacts; Up to 5GB of storage capacity
(cloud-based); Up to 8 concurrent users

Need more contacts, storage, or users? Just ask us!

Basic Case Management Package

Manage intake forms and client data securely so data transitions seamlessly from when a case opens to its close.
Includes:
  • Client profile & case intake definition
  • Complete case lifecycle tracking
  • Resource management
  • Service tracking
  • Email marketing
  • Reporting
  • Communication tracking
  • Workflow management
  • Quickbooks integration
  • Cloud-based access
  • Phone & email support
Includes: Up to 750 contacts; Up to 5GB of storage capacity
(cloud-based); Up to 3 concurrent users
Need more contacts, storage, or users? Just ask us!

Wait, don't go away empty handed.

Join 50,000 other nonprofits in getting the BEST nonprofit tips, tools, and how-to guides delivered right to your inbox!

Subscribe to our newsletter: