Nonprofits: Held Hostage…By Spreadsheets?!

Nonprofits: Held Hostage…By Spreadsheets?!

Many nonprofits around the world are using manual processes, for example Google Docs and Excel spreadsheets, to capture and report on important client and program data. Capturing data this way can be effective, but it can often bring an organization’s operations to a grinding halt! When your organization feels stuck, your team’s effectiveness can drop. If you find that your organization is in a constant tug-of-war with reporting – it could be that you’re being held hostage by spreadsheets!

From your data not being consistent to not having control over who can or cannot view sensitive client data, spreadsheets are putting your operations in danger. They are hindering your growth and not showing your organization’s full impact. It’s not too late to break free from your captors, but you need to know the signs of foul play. Below are a few ways you’ll know if your operations are being held hostage by spreadsheets.

 held hostage by spreadsheetsInconsistent Data

Having data live in multiple places may seem like a good idea at first, but when you actually need that data, it tends to be hard to find and harder to consolidate. If someone changes a data point in one location, you automatically are at a disadvantage, unable to see the updated spreadsheet. It’s difficult to ensure that every file is current. Even the most organized efforts often result in outdated spreadsheets and missing data. Simply put, version control is a nightmare, one that should keep you up at night.


Your Data is At Risk

When a nonprofit organization saves client data locally, on an individual’s computer desktop or even a server located in the office, important client data can be at risk. If a laptop disappears, an office fire breaks out, or a physical or electronic security breach occurs, your data may be lost (or stolen by an outside party). It’s never a good idea to tempt fate… and not having a back-up of your data is definitely not a risk worth taking.

held hostage by spreadsheetsSlow Data Management

With spreadsheets, accessibility can be a major problem. Being able to pull a client’s information during a site visit or the latest service delivery count when you run into a board member can dramatically change a conversation. If you’re constantly needing to pull up a spreadsheet to find information or count rows, your spreadsheets are keeping your data under lock and key. This may be a sign that there’s room to improve data accessibility.

held hostage by spreadsheets

Little to No Access Control

Not all data is created equal. Some data is extremely sensitive and if it falls into the wrong hands, could cause very serious issues for your organization. It only makes sense that your team has appropriate access to data. Being able to assign access to certain types of data or to certain clients helps ensure security within your organization and prevents sensitive data from ending up in nefarious hands, or simply with benevolent staffers who just don’t need that level of detail. With spreadsheets, everyone has access to the same data points, so data has the potential to be at risk.

When you start to suspect that spreadsheets are no longer a friend and have become a foe, it’s time to act. It’s time to think about investing in nonprofit case management software.


Apricot to the Rescue!

One of the most effective – and efficient – ways to break free from spreadsheets is to invest in nonprofit case management software. Instead of hindering your organization, case management software is designed to help your outreach flourish and grow to the next level, empowering your nonprofit! Case management software grows with your organization’s needs. Case management software supports your evolving mission and updated with that in mind. Once you invest in a solution, it’s with your organization for the long haul.

Your operations are at stake! Download our new Guide “Held Hostage By Spreadsheets” now to liberate yourself from spreadsheets and save your organization from a data disaster!

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