Data, compliance and reporting are consistently cited among the most tedious and time-consuming challenges that victim and survivor service nonprofits face. Read on for a Q&A to find out how to make reporting easier and data more impactful.
Question (Q): People outside of the nonprofit sector are often surprised to learn just how extensive the data, compliance and reporting requirements are for social good organizations. What does this challenge look like for victim and survivor service organizations?
Answer (A): Compliance – and the data and reporting that goes along with it – is consistently a key challenge we hear about from victim and survivor service nonprofits. There are several data points to track and report on to demonstrate where funding dollars are going and what outcomes are being achieved as a result. From tallying how many clients served to classifying victimization types to segmenting clients into age groups to tracking hotline calls… there are so many pieces of data that victim and survivor service organizations need to collect in order to report back to funders and monitor programs and services.
(Q): Do victim and survivor service organizations have data and reporting tools they can depend on to handle compliance challenges?
(A) Yes and no. Among pen and paper, desktop files and some HMIS-comparable software, victim and survivor service organizations have ways to track data and manage compliance and reporting but most acknowledge that the system could use a refresh.
For instance, paper tracking may get the job done for tallying numbers for VOCA reports, but using this method takes a lot longer and can yield more errors than if the organization had a centralized data management solution keeping track of things on an ongoing basis. Similarly, HUD reporting requires HMIS-comparable software, but not all software options are created equal. So, can nonprofits manage compliance? Yes, but it tends to be a tedious process.
(Q): Tedious. Time-consuming. Challenging. These are terms we’ve seen in the conversation around compliance and reporting. Is there any way for victims and survivor service organizations to change the narrative?
(A): Absolutely. Data collection, compliance and reporting doesn’t have to be quite so tedious or time-consuming anymore. When victim and survivor service nonprofits invest in a centralized, cloud-based solution like Apricot AVS from Social Solutions, they often realize three key wins almost immediately.
- ONE: They can save considerable time collecting data points and completing reports. With a cloud-based solution that leverages automation, there’s no more sifting through stacks of paper to find an answer or waiting for a colleague to respond with a data point that’s stored on their desktop. With pre-built and configurable forms and reports, it becomes simple to access data when needed and build reports when required.
- TWO: They can increase data accuracy and precision. While victim and survivor service nonprofits depend on critical funding from HUD, VOCA, and other sources, these funders also depend on the nonprofits to report as accurately and completely as possible. With a centralized data management solution, the information doesn’t get lost on paper or transposed incorrectly from one format to another.
- THREE: They can derive deeper insights from their data. With a more efficient approach to compliance, victim and survivor service organizations can use some of that time savings to ask new questions of the data they are tracking in their system. With a solution that can run calculations in the background, nonprofits can gain new insights about the clients they serve and the outcomes they are achieving that go beyond the check-the-box compliance.
(Q): What would going beyond check-the-box compliance look like?
(A): Going beyond compliance could look a lot like leveraging data to gain a new level of insights about clients or programs, or it could look like using data to develop compelling impact stories that attract new and diversified funding.
If an organization is saving time on compliance and has a comprehensive solution in place, they can track and measure outcomes that can help with strategic decision-making or client-specific needs. For example, if an organization’s victims’ advocates are using AVS to track clients’ restraining orders, our software can notify them when the order is nearing its expiration date. This gives advocates the ability to proactively work with clients to keep them safe in a way that paper-based systems simply can’t provide.
Similarly, if an organization is interested in diversifying its funding sources away from formula grants, it is critical to have a compelling story to share with private funders and individual donors. With a system like AVS, a victim and survivor service nonprofit can surface outcomes and insights – without having to be a data scientist – to weave into a story of how the organization is achieving its goals and changing lives.
Curious about how we are making compliance and reporting a simpler process for victim and survivor services nonprofits? Contact our team to learn more about how AVS by Social Solutions could help your organization today.