3 Common Outcomes Data Mistakes Nonprofits Make – And How to Fix Them
Today, nonprofits are emphasizing outcomes data tracking, measurement and analytics more than ever. Nonprofit organizations are tracking, monitoring, measuring and analyzing data points related to strategies, programs and impact goals to attract more funding, improve decision-making and communicate better impact stories. That said, you don’t need to think about outcomes data strategies as all or nothing – it’s a process.
Read on for our list of common outcomes data mistakes nonprofits make and how you can fix them on your journey to outcomes data management maturity.
Data Mistake #1: You’re Keeping Data in Silos
Like many organizations, nonprofits often make the mistake of keeping data in silos, storing and tracking different metrics in separate places and non-standard formats. Data silos often mirror program silos or similar divisions within a nonprofit or strategic priority area, making this a common issue that various organizations face. Over time, keeping data in silos makes it more difficult to marry up metrics and tap into deeper insights.
Solution: Leverage a centralized data repository with some standard input and report formats so that you can see patterns across data sets and combine data points to create smarter insights for organizational decision-making and stakeholder reporting.
Data Mistake #2: When It Comes to Data, Everything Is Manual
Many nonprofit organizations still rely on pen and paper, emails, spreadsheets and documents to store and track data on an ongoing basis. However, when it comes time to build reports or answer a big question from a funder or board member, it can be incredibly difficult to locate all the necessary data points to get the answers you need.
Solution: Invest in simple-to-use outcomes data technology that can automate formerly manual data management and analysis processes, saving you time and stress.
Data Mistake #3: You’re Attempting to Track Anything and Everything
While you may need to capture some unique data points for particular funders or agencies based on the reports they require, it is possible that you could be putting an undue data management strain on your team. Some nonprofits operate under the assumption that anything that can be tracked should be tracked, but this can pull focus away from the data that matters most.
Solution: Take a step back and see if there are ways to streamline the number of data points you track so that you can focus on the most important metrics and measures of success.