You already know how important data collection is for your nonprofit organization. Reporting on your mission is critical for understanding the outcomes of your efforts, as well as for telling that story to funders. We know that as a nonprofit, you’re focused on delivering mission – not reports! However, the fact of the matter is that reporting isn’t going away. It’s understandable that many organizations struggle to capture, interpret, and utilize data in a meaningful way. The best way to combat this struggle is to incorporate reporting best practices into your nonprofit operations.
Best practices are a set of items that ensure that everything you do is standardized. This is especially important for reporting because if your data is not standardized and consistent, your organization cannot prove its impact on your constituents or how funding dollars are being used. By introducing best practices into your operations, your organization will set itself up for a successful – and impactful – future.
3 Key Reporting Best Practices To Implement:
To start documenting your influence on the community, begin by incorporating these best practices into your reporting:
1) Be strategic with your reporting
Having an end goal in mind is the first step in the reporting process. If your organization doesn’t know where it’s going, it will never get there. Map out your data journey and start off on the right foot.
2) Simplify the data being collected
While it’s interesting to see every data point, utilizing each of these points in a manual report can cause it to take days, weeks or months to complete. Only collecting the data that aligns with your end goal will ensure consistent and expedited reports. You will also not collect more data than your organization needs, vastly simplifying your data management system.
3) Coordinate with team members to ensure consistency of data
When multiple people are involved in report building, it’s important to be able to get the same measure of data, at the same point of time, from the same team member. To do this, coordination is key. Make a plan, stick to it, and your reporting practices will run smoothly and data will be consistent every time.
While this provides a basic overview, there are many more points to practice that can’t fit inside of a blog. We’ve built an in-depth best practices resource for Nonprofit Reporting. It expands on these basic points and will help ensure your organization is up-to-speed on reporting. Check it out!
Case Management Software Can Help
Case management software, like Social Solutions’ Apricot Software, ensures that the reporting process is easy with features including fully customizable templates, shareable data and easy-to-understand logic. With reporting best practices pre-built into the tool, organizations can have a turnkey solution that they can implement and use quickly.
Case management software has the ability to connect clients, services and programs so there is no overlap in data, maintaining data integrity. Additionally, this helps with controlling the sheer amount of data that can be collected.
With the adoption of best practices and the investment of case management software, any nonprofit organization can become data-driven. Being data-driven leads to more awareness of operations, better treatment for clients, and better mission. Download our new eBook “Showing the Best Data for Nonprofits” today!