April is volunteer month, and before it comes to an end I wanted to take the opportunity to call out the importance of giving a voice to your volunteers and, by extension, your community. At UpMetrics, we often speak to the power of qualitative data. Numbers can only provide so much information – to translate those numbers into desired action, next steps, and a strategy that will impact the areas with the most need, you need qualitative data. Those on the ground can tell you whether they are seeing an impact of your efforts with the audience you intended, or if you’re indirectly solving for something else with your efforts.
Your organization has spent years collecting, inputting and storing data, ensuring you have your i’s dotted and your t’s crossed in terms of following best practices and requirements of data tracking and management. However, have you ever looked across your organization at the breadth and depth of the data you have, only to realize you’re not sure how to use all of this information? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. UpMetrics has been collaborating with many organizations like yours who are at a similar stage in their data journey. In order to get your data to work for you, to help guide your program, operations and overall strategy, there are a few key questions that you need to ask. In return you’ll have data with purpose that you can learn from, take action on and communicate out to your board, funders, or other partners. Here are a few questions to to guide you as you advance in your data maturity and start to get your data to work for you:
The concept of digital transformation is not new in philanthropy. It is necessary to have a digital strategy to meet stakeholder expectations (and often requirements) around data collection and reporting. What we saw in 2020 was a shift in how we view this data. It is no longer enough to simply track and evaluate one’s data once or twice a year. This year demanded that impact organizations take an active stance to collecting and analyzing data, pivoting as events trigger unexpected areas of need or when data has identified areas of optimization for existing programs.
It’s the time of year for lists. Whether it be a grocery list for a (smaller than usual) holiday dinner, a shopping list for gifts for your family, or simply a lengthy to-do list for the week, there are a lot of items competing for your attention as we reach the end of 2020. For most working in social good, that list also extends to two crucial items: end-of-year fundraising and board meeting prep. It can be challenging to find the time needed to truly dive into the data that drives the development of donor outreach materials and presentations, but without that information it can be difficult to speak to the current landscape and the strategic direction for next year. Both of these items are areas where insight can lead to stronger donor conversion rates.
As we head into Thanksgiving we’re receiving constant reminders from virtually every channel that we’re nearing the end of the year. Whether it be Black Friday discounts, cold weather or holiday plans, you can’t ignore the fact that we’re creeping towards the end of the year that was 2020. For the social sector, that also means a heightened period of fundraising, both around #GivingTuesday and general year-end appeals.
Teamwork is not a new concept. Whether it be in business, sports, or politics, what can be achieved with the help of many almost always surpasses the work of one. This is for two reasons. One, each contributor offers different skills, resources, and perspective, fostering an environment that encourages new ideas and solutions to old problems. Two, working as a team ensures that all players are bought-in to what you’re trying to achieve - each person has a stake in the game.
It’s rarely easy to raise money, and the global pandemic isn’t helping. The nonprofit sector has always relied on relationships to fundraise. Events and in-person meetings are a thing of the past. What do you do when traditional fundraising channels are no longer possible? Fortunately, many nonprofit organizations have not taken advantage of their board members' full reach, due largely to lack of clear data about the organization's impact.
Surveys are an important form of data collection to support program improvement and storytelling. We also know it can be challenging to create, disseminate, and analyze surveys amid all your other priorities.