Using Data To Increase Your Impact
Good data management practices can transform the way your organization operates, allowing you to make more informed decisions based on the data you collect, and ultimately maximize your impact!
Here are some tips:
Collect Relevant Data
The most important thing to remember is that if you want to be able to use data to increase your impact, you need to determine what data will be most useful to your organization and make sure you collect that data. Start with a set of goals that you want to achieve, and establish what you will need to measure in order to reach those goals.
If you want to better coordinate your volunteers, start by collecting data about your volunteer demographic and the ways people volunteer their time to your organization. If you want to raise more funds, start by collecting data about the ways people donate to your organization and how much they donate according to several variables like demographic or the time of year. If you want to lead your staff to achieve more positive outcomes, find a way to connect your mission with various outcomes from a specific program or project, and measure those.
charity: water, for example, connects their mission with water projects around the world and they track this data very carefully to drive their mission and inspire donors to give!
Give Your Data Context
Data itself is useless, unless you give it meaning. Once you’ve collected data relevant to your goals, analyze it to determine exactly what the data is telling you. Maybe you wanted to know more about your donors: where they live, how they give, what times of the year, and what inspires them. You can answer those questions now and start asking new ones. Is there anything that surprised you? And most importantly, based on what the data is telling you, what changes can you make to increase your impact? Apply the insights from your collected data to your organization, and contextualize what any trends, patterns, or new insights really mean for your organization.
Use Your Data to Inform Actions
Data can tell you about your volunteer demographic, how much money you have raise, or what your organization’s work has achieved, but data cannot change anything. Data cannot coordinate your volunteers, raise more funds, or lead your staff. Data can only inform your actions. If you don’t use data to take action, then you aren’t allowing your data to increase your impact.
The insights from your data should drive your strategic planning and decision-making. Use the insights from your data to establish new goals or strategies, and continually use your data to monitor performance. Your organization will continue to evolve and grow, so make sure you regularly re-examine your process of collecting, analyzing, and actioning data. With all of the data you are collecting, you can turn your data management system or CRM into a powerful tool to increase your impact and deliver your mission.