As we approach the end of 2020, many of us are eager to “turn the page” on an obviously challenging year, and look forward to a fresh start. And yet, for the nonprofit sector in particular, this is a crucial time when leadership must focus on the present moment. As is the case in any other “normal” year, the holidays present fundraising opportunities, but this year, taking advantage of these opportunities is even more crucial for many nonprofits who have not been able to rely on traditional fundraising avenues (galas, in person events, etc.). Unique to 2020 also, is that this time will necessitate reflection and strategic planning, as many nonprofits confront the realities of this year - limited fundraising channels and budget cuts as the demand for services rises - and how they will continue to serve their communities in spite of these challenges. With this in mind, for many nonprofit staff, leadership, and board members, it will be “all hands on deck” and require a lot of collaboration for the remaining weeks this year.
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.
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.
“The inequity in this district as compared to the other districts surrounding us has always been so tangible and clear,” explains Jenna Wachtel Pronovost, Executive Director of the Ravenswood Education Foundation. “Then COVID happened and the schools closed. The inequities have intensified in this environment, and we knew we would have to act quickly to support our students and the greater community.”
“The SBYD [sports-based youth development] conversation has thoroughly evolved in the three years that I have been attending this event,” reflects UpMetrics Director of Client Services, Stephen Minix.
What kinds of metrics can you track to ensure that you are helping foster the change you hope to see in the world?
Here's how foundations can help nonprofit leadership be even more effective.
While it’s clear that Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada (SONC) is having a positive impact on the athletes they serve, it’s also obvious that they’re not interested in resting on their laurels. Already, they’re using data in order to better inform their decision making and more effectively tell their story of impact. But, as is the case for many nonprofit organizations, those steps involve navigating multiple systems and adding to workloads across the chapter.
Having data isn’t an end in itself—numbers don’t do anything for you unless you know how to use them to your advantage.
In our increasingly data-driven world, access to data is no longer a “nice to have.” It is essential for any organization across every sector. As such, data is transforming how the philanthropic sector understands and drives impact. But analyzing impact doesn’t have to be complex. Here are four steps to take to leverage data to start analyzing impact.