Recently, I was reading an article by James V. Toscano of Toscano Advisors that talked about the non-profit trends of 2015, in order to predict the emerging trends for 2016. Can you guess what trend was in the top three? Demand for a measurable return on investment.
To quote Mr. Toscano:
“Whether resources are going to non-profits or for-profits, additional scrutiny will focus on empirical results. To receive resources, non-profit agencies must develop better, more systematic ways to measure impact, while for-profit companies need to not only produce data that show positive change but also produce an acceptable return on investment.”
The question is, how? How can non-profits show that measurable return on investment to their board, internal staff, donors and the public they serve?
First and foremost, you must have metrics. You simply cannot have accountability and transparency without knowing and gathering metrics that are important to your audience. Your organization can’t make well-informed decisions based off feelings and hunches. You need concrete and empirical evidence.
So you’ve gathered the data through your donor, volunteer management and accounting systems – maybe you even have some Excel reports that you manually update. Maybe you try to summarize, or create charts within Excel. But then the data changes (as it always does), leaving you to complete a convoluted process each time your board meets. Now what?
With all the information you have, it’s critical that your board and staff have access to it. Having the data is one thing, but it’s another to effectively communicate that information.
That’s where dashboards come in! Data dashboards give your audience an easy-to-understand, digestible, real-time view of the information they need.
Effective dashboard solutions automatically update as the data changes, so you never have to re-create the same charts ever again. Non-profit professionals have enough on their plates without having to sift through their data to find trends and outliers. By consolidating and tracking important data in dashboards, you can easily spot correlations and take action immediately to improve ROI.
Dashboards can serve as insight for the board and your internal staff, but what about donors or potential donors? You can use dashboards to visually communicate exactly what their donations are being used for in your program.
At iDashboards, we work with a variety of non-profits that leverage our dashboards to gain better-informed insights, improve transparency and ROI, and make timely, informed decisions. If you’re interested in seeing how your non-profit can leverage dashboards, check out our Turn Your Data into Insight Whitepaper or contact us today for a live demonstration.