Are We Still Dancing With The Dinosaur?

on June 11, 2013

I’ve Dancing Dinosbeen working with non-profits since 2003. Coincidentally the same year Centresource opened its doors. For years, I have continued to learn the importance of analytics and I continue to teach non-profits the benefit of knowing how to measure things like:

  • Who comes to their site?
  • What do they want?
  • What did they do?, or more importantly,
  • What did they not do?

Today what I find is, most nonprofits are tracking their data but only to make decisions about big areas like budgets or programs.

What amazes me is that many of these organizations are not using this data for strategic decision making. They are simply tracking data from tools, traditional or interactive, that they have used for external messaging and (or) for fundraising.

Something is blocking them…don’t let it block you.

There are four main areas of blockage. Can you identify with any of these?

  1. Issues related to collecting and working with data
  2. Lack of expertise – there are many books and webinars that can help with this
  3. Issues of time and prioritization – whose responsibility is this? How much time CAN they devote to analytics?
  4. Challenges with technology – it’s constantly changing, so it can be difficult to keep up.

I have found that the way organizations are currently using their data does not necessarily reflect how they really want to use it.

Look what a recent NTEN survey found,

  • 99% track some sort of metric
  • 89% are tracking useful financial data
  • 50% are tracking data about the outcomes of their audience
  • 41% are tracking external data about their focus area
  • 39% use donor data to make budgeting decisions
  • 26% use donor data to make program decisions

So my point is this- LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR AUDIENCE IS SAYING….sorry, my caps lock got stuck. :) But, really the data that appears is not just data, it is a voice, THE voice. Most likely it is the voice of the one that can help you and your organization be more effective in every area. But wait, maybe that’s not who you exist for.

Think about it.