Data, reporting & business analytics - getting started

When considering what system your organisation needs to gain data insights of your services, start by asking what insights am I looking for?
Data, reporting and business intelligence - getting started

According to the Digital Technology in the Not-for-Profit Sector 2023 report, only 22% of respondents agreed that their system enables them to understand the impact of their services and outcomes and 30% agreed that their data is easy to use and understand.  It makes sense then, that only 33% of organisations surveyed agree that their data regularly guides decision-making across their organisation.

So how do you harness the power of data to drive improvements and better decisions in your organisation? And how can your organisation get data ready for the benefits of using Artificial Intelligence to improve services and processes? 

Data intelligence/analytics offers specific benefits to the not-for-profit sector, including:

  • Better understanding of your organisation’s impact and outcomes
  • Improved membership recruitment and retention through deeper insights into membership characteristics and preferences
  • More effective fundraising and outreach by identifying fundraising prospects, providing insight into the most effective fundraising methods and most favourable target markets, ensuring campaigns target those most likely to donate, generating efficiencies and helping determine where to best allocate resources
  • Better accountability and reporting by providing the big picture of operations that helps not-for-profits understand the impact of staffing choices and asset management
  • Improved budgeting and forecasting by streamlining processes.

Starting out on data projects

Our Community has produced Developing Data Capability in Your Not-for-Profit to help guide you through the six types of data that not-for-profit organisations most often work with — such as fundraising data and program data — and what you can do with this data.

The framework outlines the types of data that are likely to exist in a not-for-profit organisation and examines how they can maximise social impact by building the skills and capabilities required to effectively manage their data.

The framework should be used as a starting point to help get your organisation thinking about data before embarking on data projects. Most not-for-profit organisations recognise the potential of data, but fewer know how to start putting this data to good use.

Getting going

Next, take a look at Data Projects from Go to Whoa! This guide can help get things rolling and ensure your data projects are as successful and sustainable as they can be.

You'll begin the step-by-step process by developing an understanding of data science and scoping projects and learning how to ask the right questions. Next, you’ll learn to lay the foundations for project success, and make sure you've got the right tools and skills at hand. They talk about deriving insights from data — and overcoming any obstacles that crop up.

Finally, as you wrap up your project, Our Community discusses how you can keep up your momentum and move forward strategically.

Going further

If you're looking for a free solution to easily capture your report your impact, Impactasaurus is well worth investigating. It is easy to use and inexpensive software designed to help small and medium size charities measure and understand their social impact, demonstrate value to stakeholders and drive service improvements.

Data Capture & Analysis Webinars & Courses
Access our array of webinars and training on data, analytics, reporting and business analytics.

Case studies
Our Community has worked with several Melbourne-based not-for-profit organisations to help them have greater impact.

Our Community mailing list
Get regular updates about upcoming events and tutorials run by the Our Community Innovation Lab.

Our Community data science tutorial
A gentle introduction to data science for not-for-profit organisations interested in becoming more data-driven.

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