ProSpeak: Nonprofit Fundraisers Can Learn a Thing or Two From Business Intelligence
It’s been a long wait, but business-intelligence technology finally is within the reach of nonprofit organizations.
Business enterprises have had these tools to play with for some time, but many nonprofit fundraisers are new to the game and are left scratching their heads, wondering what to do with them.
Since nonprofits are without established best practices, they first need to get a clear understanding of business intelligence and start asking themselves some questions. They should find out whether the staff is effectively managing the donor pipeline, if the board has clear insight into the organization at all levels, whether real-time campaign-performance monitoring makes the effort more effective, and whether spreadsheet-based reports are the best use of staff time.
Business-intelligence technology aims to dig deep inside an organization’s IT systems and make sense of all the data stored across the organization. It allows nonprofits to solve all the “needle in a haystack” operational performance puzzles dreamt up in real time without the headaches, time and complexity of pulling and compiling manual reports. Results are returned as online interactive dashboards that make drilling into any data point as easy as the click of a mouse. But how can business intelligence be applied in the nonprofit sector?
Increase fundraising performance
Since business intelligence is only as smart as the criteria the technology is focused on analyzing, spend some time thinking about what “intelligence” will improve the organization. For example, a capital campaign might span 18 months and be organized internally by three main groups: communications, events and donor management. The information needed to monitor the entire capital campaign is very different from that needed to manage each event or the effectiveness of an e-mail program or whether donors are being managed properly. In this scenario, the business intelligence needed to monitor the capital campaign might be split into three different levels — overall, tactical and operational.