Reporting on your organization’s impact is the most important – and effective – way to assess your organization’s data. Effective reporting leads to time and resources saved, more mission delivered, and can also bring more funding from donors! There are so many opportunities to grow and promote your organization and they all begin with knowing how to measure and report on good data.
Nonprofit leaders are realizing that it’s no longer enough to say, “We do a good job! Trust us, we know what we’re going and that’s all you really need to know.” There is a growing need for nonprofits to learn how to tell end-to-end stories that are backed up by data in order to excite donors. Donors and board members are increasingly asking for as much (relevant) data as they can get their hands on. But what EXACTLY is the data they want? That’s a good question, but before you can deliver this mysterious figure, first you’ll have to set up the framework.
Setting up Nonprofit Measurement Practices
Before the reporting can begin, there needs to be a healthy measuring practice that shows how your operations are working. Knowing how to collect and measure data is almost as important as reporting on that data. Think about it: knowing with data to collect and knowing how to collect that data sets your organization up from going from good to great.
Collecting the right data, which is data that expressly relates or proves your impact, can be tricky. There’s so much data to you can measure, so how can you sift through everything and find gold?
- Regularly take photos, personally or by a professional, that show impact.
- Using social media more effectively to continually demonstrate impact and engage with your community.
- Interviews with funders, the people you serve, and your volunteers can also give good insight into measurement points.
- Make note of stand-out engagements with your community, both in person and online.
An example could be: “John’s been showing a lot of drive, especially after his Tuesday outreach.”
You know what your organization’s mission is, but tying the delivery to engagements will help you find the measurements for success. After a few weeks of gathering this data, you should be ready to begin collecting data.
In Part 2, we’ll expand on what data funders are looking for and how to best collect that data for your organization. Remember, the data that you collect will ultimately be used to build reports and tell your story.
If you can accurately measure the data your organization needs, it can drastically improve your data collecting and reporting process. It can extend your reach, give your constituents more potential for care, and bring your mission more awareness.
Stay tuned for Part 2!