Data-Driven: Harnessing the Power of Data in Nonprofit Decision Making

Did you catch MemoryFox’s Jennifer Bingham on August 30th? Watch it now!

About the NXUnite Panel:

Join Jennifer Bingham, VP of Operations at MemoryFox, for an inspiring, informative panel discussing data-driven decision making. This panel took place on Wednesday, August 30th at 3 pm EDT, hosted by NXUnite.

Calling all nonprofit changemakers! In a world overflowing with data, effectively harnessing its power is paramount for nonprofits to optimize programs, evaluate outcomes, and allocate resources wisely. Whether you’re a nonprofit leader, program manager, or passionate about data-driven insights, this panel offers invaluable knowledge and practical guidance. Join us and discover how data can elevate your nonprofit’s decision-making and propel your organization toward its goals!

What will be discussed?

  • Benefits of using data to support decision-making for nonprofits
  • Common challenges nonprofits face when handling data
  • Best practices for managing data

Full Transcript:

1:54hello everyone and Welcome to our panel my name is mudi grasa NX unite team member at Nexus marketing and your

2:01moderator for today’s panel session today’s panel topic is datadriven

2:06harnessing the power of data and nonprofit decision making as usual before I introduce today’s panelists and

2:13we jump into this fascinating topic I have some quick Logistics to cover NX

2:18unite is made in partnership with Nexus marketing and serves as a powerful community resource designed to Foster

2:24connections and facilitate lasting relationships within the mission driven sector on anex can find upcoming

2:30industry events suggested influencers to follow trusted Solutions and cost irent

2:36podcasts anex unite also provides webinars demos and of course panels with experts such as these lovely folks in me

2:43here today today’s our long panel will include time both for questions created

2:48by my team and questions from you all are fantastic audience at any time during the panel please feel free to

2:54submit your questions bya the questions tab or you can drop them in the chat if you want we will spend the second half

3:00of the panel addressing as many as we possibly can now if you have any

3:05technical if you have any technical difficulties or have any Logistics questions my team member Anton is in the

3:12chat under the team NX unite username ready to assist you the best he can I

3:18also wanted to share that this panel is being recorded So for those of you watching live the the the recording will

3:24be sent to your email after the session ends people can continue to register and

3:29access the recording after the panel so if you have any friends in the industry you want to share the insights from this

3:35panel with simply send them that same registration page and they will be able to access the

3:41recording all right finally before introduce today’s panelists I want to thank you all for attending this panel

3:47we are very excited to be in touch with you the mission driven Community thank you for taking time to be with us today

3:53to learn from these outstanding experts who I will now finally introduce I’d like to First introduce

4:00Brian Lacy who is the data consultant at NP info and is the principal of Brian

4:05Lacy and Associates a fundraising and and data services firm with more than 30

4:11years of experience that provides leading industry resources and Veteran talent to maximize opportunities across

4:18the giving Spectrum from annual giving solutions to Major and principal giving strategies they have helped more than

4:25400 nonprofits raise more than 1 billion in Phil traffic support great to have

4:31you Brian thanks Colleen welcome everybody also with us is Jennifer

4:37Bingham who is the VP of operations at memory Fox a tech startup

4:42revolutionizing the way nonprofits collect and share stories of impact within with their Community before

4:50coming to memory Fox Jennifer spent over five years in the non-profit sector where she helped build and launch Tech a

4:57tech platform to to to connect military and Veteran families to lifechanging

5:03resources during this time she also gained handson fundraising experience

5:08Drafting and promoting peer-to-peer campaigns coordinating live and silent

5:13auction events and overseeing external communication and marketing efforts as a result Jennifer is passionate about the

5:20importance of data and how if harness correctly can drive successful and Powerful outcomes for nonprofits great

5:28to have you Jennifer likewise thanks everyone for being here today also with us today is Stephanie

5:35King who is the senior Salesforce consultant at Red path Consulting Group

5:40she Bridges the gap between the tech nerds and the rest of us she has spent a decade working as a s Salesforce

5:47consultant helping nonprofits leverage Cloud technology to support their

5:53mission Stephanie is a seven times certified senior Salesforce consultant

5:58on the nonprofit practice team at Red path Consulting Group thanks for joining us

6:04Stephanie thank you I’m happy to be here and finally with us is Tim koll who

6:10is a consultant for data analytics at JGA Associates he leverages his

6:16background in Finance and Accounting along with with experience in quantitative analysis benchmarking and

6:23Staffing and analytics to assist JGA clients in putting their data to use for

6:28better fundra racing outcomes Tim ensures consistency and Security in J’s

6:34data operations including Equity development audits wealth screening

6:40benchmarking and visibility studies great to have you Tim thank you very much looking forward to the

6:46conversation thanks for joining all right now it’s finally time to hear from our panelists and Brian I’ll have you

6:52start us off with the first question how can nonprofits effectively utilize data

6:58to in to inform their decision making processes and enhance their overall

7:08operations oh I think you’re muted

7:16Brian sorry thank you um I’m just going to go through a couple of points and I’ll be quick because I know that we’ve

7:22got we’ve got a great panel that’ll probably go into some of these in more detail than I will but I think it’s imp

7:29important first of all that we Define clear objectives whenever we’re working a project um data is not helpful to us

7:36if we don’t know where we want to go uh so again we need to Define clear objectives we need to collect the

7:41relevant data that allows us to discuss that issue to think about that issue uh

7:47that sometimes involves creating and implementing new systems of data collection so that we’re collecting data

7:53accurately and then retaining that data uh data data cleansing data validation

7:58making sure you keep that data current finally data analysis starting to understand the data but again you have

8:03to collect it correctly you have to keep it current and then trying to understand that data looking for patterns and

8:09Trends finally uh making decisions based on the data based on your analysis based

8:15on your identification of patterns and Trends and then you have to regularly Monitor and evaluate yourself the one

8:21thing I’ve seen happen so many times is I’ve spoken with hundreds of nonprofits literally hundreds of nonprofits who say

8:28we’ve been doing this for years and that’s just given as an answer to supposed to close the book on something

8:34and I’m thinking but so many things have changed you’re doing things the way you did them 10 years ago it’s not good

8:41enough anymore and there’s so much more data available today that you may not even be using the most important data so

8:49I’ll uh there’s a few other things that I would talk about with regards to you know data privacy and ethics and

8:55feedback loops but I’ll just stop there and say that that’s where I think we need to begin the

9:01conversation thank you so much for starting us off Brian Stephanie I’m going to bring the same question over to

9:06you how can on profits effectively use data to make better decisions and improve their

9:12operations I was starting in my head exactly where Brian started which is to say that by itself data doesn’t do

9:19anything it doesn’t determine your success it doesn’t achieve your success for you um that success starts by

9:25defining what success means and and what your strategy is to acheve it uh so whether we’re talking about fundraising

9:32or programming having clear measurable definitions of success and once you have that then data can support your work on

9:40both a macro and micro level and I just want to think about that those two different levels for a second um that on

9:46a macro level understanding um you using data to understand if you’re on track to meet your goals and and then having the

9:52forsight to be able to Pivot when you need to before it’s a crisis and then on the micro level having good data that

9:59can drive daily decisions about what you need to do in a day’s work to to be effective in your

10:06role wonderful thanks Stephanie all right Jennifer over to you how can nonprofits effectively use data to make

10:13better decision and improve operations yeah definitely I mean to Echo what Brian and Stephanie said like

10:19I have to agree you have to set those goals first to try to figure out what kind of metrics do we want to look at in

10:25order to establish that success and show that story to our community whether it’s our fundraiser our funders or our

10:32volunteers or even our program participants one thing though that um from a boots on the ground perspective

10:38of being at a nonprofit I do know that resources can be very scarce and then

10:43time is also something that just seems to fly by so definitely making sure that

10:49because as Brian said there’s tons of different data out there that you can collect so making sure that you’re

10:54really focusing in on the ones that are going to Showcase that success the best for you but also you want to have a

11:00realistic idea of what can you collect I mean we I worked at an organization

11:06where we use Salesforce and so that was really helpful in having us track certain kinds of data very easily but

11:12definitely you want to take a hard look at the systems that you have in place to really make sure that you’re able to

11:17consistently collect that data so that way the insights you collect are are

11:24valid absolutely thanks Jennifer Tim anything you want to add to this conversation how to effectively use data

11:30for decision making and improve operations I mean overall I would I would agree with everything that’s been

11:35said thus far obviously it’s it’s for starters you have to know what you’re trying to to collect as far as data goes

11:41and and what is your end result at the end of the day um we I I work with a lot of our clients that are are looking at their donor database trying to figure

11:48out who to who to go have conversations with and one of the first questions I always ask them is what kind of data are

11:54you collecting as far as engagement are people coming to events are they what what what make somebody that you want to

12:00have a conversation with on the fundraising side somebody that’s raising their hand saying I really care about the organization that’s usually the

12:06first part the the of the question that they go well I don’t even know we what we actually track so making sure that

12:12you you do uh try and track those that information and make sure it’s all in a central location too because we have

12:18problems around that as well and that doesn’t go just for for fundraising information that goes for all of your data making sure it’s easily accessible

12:25and that you can regurgitate it out to whoever you need to get it out to as

12:32well thanks Tim all right we’re off to a great start and Jennifer I’ll have you start us off with the next question what

12:39strategies have proven successful for nonprofits in harnessing the power of data to drive both programmatic

12:45Effectiveness and fundraising efforts yeah definitely so I think one of the biggest strategies that I’ve

12:52always found pretty big success with is looking at the impact per dollar um um

12:59within your organization that can go a long ways both on the programmatic side and the fundraising side and so I

13:05definitely recommend like looking at that strategy and trying as best as you can to pull out per $1 that is donated

13:13to your organization figuring out the impact and all those data points that it actually leads to because you can then

13:19go ahead and use this in Grant applications um in towards your fundraising community in newsletters and

13:25social media and things like that um so that’s one of the key strategies that I would recommend another one that I

13:31absolutely love because I think nonprofits are perfect for this is AB even C testing um at memory Fox we offer

13:39a really great option for organizations to test out different campaigns targeted

13:45at different sectors of their community so you can really take a deep dive to learn what works when talking to

13:51volunteers when talking to donors and then when talking to program participants so definitely you know make

13:57sure you’re AB testing and then tracking those results I think that’s one of the biggest strategies you can find to

14:03figure out what works I love that thanks Jennifer all right Tim over to you what successful

14:09strategies should nonprofits use in harnessing the power of data for better programs and

14:15fundraising first off on the fundraising side I think one of the things that I have run into a number of times with

14:21especially smaller not for-profits is they don’t necessarily look at the they don’t do a wealth screening of their

14:26database of their doing a database to see who has who has funds even available to go have conversations with um so

14:32making sure you’re doing that every three to five years some something along those lines but it’s easy to get bogged

14:38down once you receive that information you you get this huge database back with all this information you look at it and

14:44say okay there’s a donor that has all this money that they have they have tremendous wealth capacity well

14:49oftentimes that may be somebody who a friend asks to give one time they’ve given one donation and so they’re on

14:54your list but you don’t really have a true um relationship with them so so trying to look at are they engaged with

15:01the organization as well and we have a product at JJ that kind of can help do that but it doesn’t need to be us it’s

15:06just looking make sure that are they attending events are they doing are they opening emails if they if you’re sending out emails all that kind of things

15:12anything you can track from a data side and then we’re on the uh the programmatic side we’ve helped some of

15:18our clients to uh to look at not just how are their programs doing currently and and are they helping their

15:24constituents but also looking externally to see to do some um

15:29Geo fencing to say okay the people that are not that could be served by us but are not currently be are being served

15:35what are they are they not hearing about us are they do they think the programs are not what they need is there something else that’s needed to really

15:41kind of help enhance what the programs could be in the future as well is something else that that I think is is very important

15:48to to make sure you’re not just looking at what is happening internally but also

15:53externally great thanks Tim all right Brian same question over to you what successful strategy should nonprofits

15:59use for better programs and

16:07fundraising sorry Colleen thanks uh very much um I like what I heard already you

16:13know AB testing measuring outcomes Prospect research um I would add to that

16:19um donor Behavior Analysis you know we know um we know what we’re told you know

16:25many times any of us who’ve sat in on a board meeting has probably heard a board member say I don’t understand why we

16:31send so many letters if you just sent a letter every December everybody would give and you’d have your money that’s in

16:38fact what the donors tell us it’s not in fact what they do so a little bit of donor Behavior Analysis as well on top

16:44of our Prospect research um and you can bear it out almost certainly with AB testing um is important I would say one

16:52of the old tried tested and true old ideas but it’s still absolutely relevant is segmentation and personal ization I

16:59continue to get mail that is not personalized and I don’t understand why

17:06in 2023 I’m getting a dear friend letter um especially when I look at the letter

17:12carefully enough and I’m in the industry so I can tell that they laser printed the letter because they’ve personalized

17:18some elements of the letter but they haven’t bothered to call me out or address me by name so uh so I would add

17:26segmentation and personalization donor Behavior Analysis and one other one I I

17:31won’t I’ll just mention it because I bet that Stephanie’s gonna talk about it and that is datadriven

17:38storytelling um if we have the data we need to be doing our storytelling based on the

17:44data thank you thanks Brian all right Stephanie what would you like to add what are some strategies nonprofit

17:51should use in harnessing the power of data yeah so I’m going to bring up one

17:56of my favorite things um at Red path where I work and with my clients I am known for my love of data dashboards so

18:03a dashboard if you’re not familiar with it um is is really just what it sounds like it’s like the dashboard of your car

18:09a collection of gauges and metrics that’s pulling live data from your system about the status of everything

18:15right how fast are we going how much gas is in the tank are we too hot is anything on fire with a typical client I will work

18:22with them to develop dashboards in three areas uh two of these areas were mentioned in the question programmer Rel

18:28ated dashboards and fundraising dashboards uh the third type of dashboard helps make sure the first two

18:33are as useful as possible this dashboard is what I like to call a data quality dashboard there’s been some mention of

18:40this concept uh as as folks have been talking so in all of these categories um

18:46uh especially the first two uh we often have different dashboards aimed at different levels of interaction so back

18:52to uh the concept that I talked about the first time around about the uh concept of macro versus micro level

18:59views uh so from a macro perspective you want to see overall results how much money have we raised which campaigns

19:05were most effective how do these results compare to last year uh or on the programming side how many people have we

19:11served what demographics are represented what are the outcomes of our work these dashboards are the money shot

19:17that you take with you to the next board meeting or you throw in the monthly newsletter or the annual report um if

19:22your dashboard is connected to live data in your system it no longer takes weeks to compile and visualize your results um

19:28I’ve heard amazing stories about the time and the Manpower that is sometimes invested in just pulling together what I

19:35think should just be at your fingertips every day uh ideally um so instead

19:40having that available at the click of a button and all in one page um that’s the vision for that macro level dashboard

19:47and then on the micro Dash micro level um you should have dashboards that drive daily decisions uh so who are your major

19:55donors who have not received a personal touch yet this year let’s say or how many open cases do you have on the

20:01service side who needs to get a call today uh where are all your Grant applications at in the pipeline and what

20:07due dates are coming up this month uh the details about what this what this microlevel dashboard looks like are

20:13super specific and personal to what you know to your business right um but that

20:19that concept of that dashboard is one of the best tools available to both Empower those individual contributors uh and to

20:25enable good oversight Insight continuity from from a management perspective and then really quick that

20:32last type of dashboard that I mentioned is the data quality dashboard um all these other dashboards are only as good

20:38as the data behind them so it’s important to put some thought into how you manage and Control Data quality issues um duplicate contacts incomplete

20:46records common data entry mistakes however those tend to happen in your system uh those all very quickly impact

20:53the usefulness of your data so um a dashboard can also be used um as as a

20:59way to keep an eye on those common issues and and both prevent them and treat

21:04them dashboards thanks Stephanie all right

21:10very quickly I’d like to remind our live audience to start submitting those questions at any time so we can address

21:17the topics that are relevant to you and your team all right here’s our next question and Tim I’ll have you start us

21:23off with this one can you share insights on the different ways nonprofit can leverage data across various aspects of

21:30their organization from program planning to donor engagement I will do most most of the

21:37mine most of my answer will be around the donor engagement side just because that’s where my focus really is at JGA

21:43um but realistically I just actually came from a conference um here in

21:49Indianapolis and we had a long discussion about Ai and how it can actually potentially help with with data

21:54and those things moving forward we we’ve uh we’ve got a great partner that we work with that is currently they do a

22:00lot of well screening but they’ve added a lot of AI touches to it as well they they’ll look back at the last five years all of your transactions and they can

22:07actually tell you who’s an emerging person that in the next year is going to give 10% more than they’ve ever given in

22:14their lifetime or who’s a person that in their lifetime is gonna they’re not

22:19currently there but they’ll potentially be in the top 10% of donors in the in their in eventually down the road those

22:25kind of things or and there’s also traditionally the when you look at donor screening a lot of the a lot of U donor

22:32screening companies look at an rfm score recency frequency and how much money somebody’s giving you and two people can

22:39look identical by that score but can be be completely different donors they can give $10,000 over the last five years

22:45and the last gift was last December but one is given you every year they’ve given you do donations the other one has

22:51given that in the last five months of the last year those are two drastically different people but that rfm score the

22:57traditional one looks at them completely the same well using that data over

23:02looking at the last five years all the transactions it’ll separate those people out so that you know let’s have a

23:08conversation with that person now that is having that has been giving more of those gifts recently something may have happened in their life that now they can

23:15give the donations or they’ve just recently discovered your organization and really care about it there could be

23:20a lot of different reasons for it but um utilizing the data that you already have in your system to try and find those

23:25individuals that you can get um the those fundraising dollars to really support your organization to really improve what you’re doing in your in

23:32your organization is one of the top things that that we really see at JGA thanks Tim all right Jennifer on to

23:39you any insights on how nonprofits can use data in different areas areas like Pro program planning and donor

23:46engagement yeah definitely so I mean in regards to specifically with fundraising

23:53you know we look at all the different avenues that we can take from a fun fundraising perspective and really the

24:00data is going to show you where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck and that’s one of the like key things

24:05that I recommend everybody doing before they like start their fundraising event is look at the historical data that

24:11you’ve collected from the past years or from past similar events to make sure that you are targeting the people that

24:17you want to that you’re putting your time and your energy into those events that are going to be those like tent

24:23pole fundraisings for fundraising events for you but particularly on the programmatic side I think sometimes we

24:29get a little bit lost in the data because um I I hate to say this but I

24:36feel like in nonprofit We have a tendency to really rely on anecdotal evidence which is helpful it’s part of

24:41the story but really taking a look at those programmatic numbers and doing deep Dives um wherever you can so for

24:49instance when I worked at a nonprofit and we were developing uh this software platform for veterans and military

24:55families we had a lot of of assumptions that actually were not validated by the

25:00data and It ultimately changed the entire course of the way that that platform was built and like pushed out

25:07to the community so definitely taking a deep dive on the data side programmatically I think creates very

25:13strong programs that you know uh your community that you’re trying to impact will actually

25:20appreciate thanks Jennifer right Stephanie overt what would you like to add to this conversation and how

25:26nonprofits can use data in areas um like program planning and donor

25:31engagement I just want to say that I loved Jennifer’s uh concept there of

25:38challenging those assumptions with your data and being you know asking those questions of your data and and seeing

25:44that how how your strategy can change what you’re doing can change based on what you see in the data um I love

25:50seeing users rallied around a database um together and understanding how to use it in their daily work there are really

25:57simple examples of how this works um for example using your data to send timely thank yous to your donors or reaching

26:04reaching out to big donors who are due for annual renewals these are the simple things that you would think are just a

26:10given except I’ve seen that they’re not always that that people if you haven’t

26:16figured out how to use your data these really obvious winds can um can float away down the river uh data allows

26:23organizations to spend their money strategically for example sending Gayla fund invitations to your whole contact list

26:30uh might be prohibitively costly and not very effective if some of the people on that list have never donated or haven’t

26:36been in touch in years uh so using data effectively means sending that invitation to a curated list of engaged

26:42donors who are most likely to attend and participate uh using services like

26:47wealth screening we’ve heard uh about that from Tim and I’ll just back that up um using wealth screening can be used to

26:54um enhance your data beyond what you’re ever going to be able to col collect organically uh you might discover that someone who has been a passive

27:01participant so far actually has deep top pockets and an inclination to donate in your sector that’s very useful

27:08data um zooming out a little bit I have seen organizations pivot their whole strategy

27:14as it sounds like Jennifer has um based on what that data reveals um for example without seeing aggregated data it could

27:20be easy to miss that there’s a massive Trend in how your constituents like to engage with you uh maybe people used to

27:26attend in-person events and now online offerings are getting way more attention your program delivery people with their

27:31feet on the ground probably have certain you know hunches and insights that this is happening uh but when you actually

27:37put together those numbers in a way that really shows it you might make that strategic shift in how you’re delivering

27:43services and do it much sooner than you would have done without having that that visual insight to your

27:50data thanks Stephanie all right Brian we want to hear from you as well what are the different type different ways

27:56nonprofits can Leverage data thank you um we heard about program

28:02planning we heard about that from Jennifer and Stephanie um we also heard uh about resource allocation from

28:08Stephanie fundraising all three of the other panelists have talked about fundraising I would agree absolutely

28:15with all of them on all those things I’m going to add three more very quickly marketing and Outreach we now have more

28:21social media data available to us than at any time and yet most of us aren’t

28:26looking at it I mean people are telling us through their social media profiles what they care about what they’re

28:32interested in and so forth we can lean into all of that data and they’re telling us where they like to

28:38communicate as well so we can lean into those opportunities so it’s a it’s another another place where you can use

28:43data certainly is marketing and Outreach um volunteer management many of our organizations continue to use volunteers

28:50um sometimes the volunteers are used to affect uh program uh goals but also that

28:58volunteer opportunity those volunteers that we that we cultivate and and and

29:03encourage um we’re getting them to more deeply invest in our organization it’s very very unlikely that if somebody

29:09volunteers with your organization over a couple of years that they won’t become a very significant donor over over time

29:17you know um it used to be in the old days we used to talk about the three eyes interest invest or interest involve

29:24invest you first get their interest you then involve them in your work as a volunteer and then you’ll find that they

29:30start investing in you so I would my second one my or my additional one is volunteer management last one I’d say is

29:36collaborations and Partnerships those wealth screenings that they’ve all talked about um one of the beauties of

29:42those things is we discover oh my Lord we’ve got this person who owns this business in this sector or we’ve got

29:48this person who’s a serious SEC Insider at a serious you know at a large company

29:54we have these people who have these connection connection and these relationships and we can build

30:00collaborations and Partnerships from that data so using data we know where to

30:05go we don’t have to guess at oh golly how the heck how the heck are we going to get this this thing to work better we

30:13have people who care about our organizations we have information that tells us where they might be able to

30:19leverage their relationships on our behalf we just need to lean into that data and it’s available to

30:26us thanks Brian all right Stephanie here’s our next question in your view what role

30:33does data play in helping nonprofits build a holistic understanding of their impact internally and externally and how

30:40can this inform future strategies right so I think a lot of

30:46people get into nonprofit work because of big feelings and a desire to do good

30:53um in the course of our work and those big feelings come from lived EXP experiences and your gut instincts about

30:59about what you have as an organization and what the world needs um and those gut instincts uh about things do tell us

31:07a lot but it’s hard to sell gut instincts to a donor who might not have seen what you have seen in your life or

31:13uh what you see in the day-to-day of your work and the impact that you are having so data allows you to tell your

31:19story uh about your impact and a way that is both verifiable and compelling

31:25So when you say you’re having a big impact you can demonstrate what that means with numbers uh in addition to

31:30testimonials and anecdotal evidence and and really together those make the full package um when you say you want to

31:35double your impact you can plan for exactly what that’s going to mean and

31:41ask for what you are going to need to get there and measure your progress toward that goal and data helps you do all those

31:48things thanks Stephanie returning to Brian how does data help nonprofits

31:53understand their impact both internally and externally

32:00thanks um I’m going to give sort of an example so I would say there I break it into three eras I’d say there’s internal

32:06insights there’s external insights and then I’ll put the Strategic and planning and and future strategies into a third

32:12area um one of the things we learned I mean I’m I’m old enough now and I’ve been in development so long uh about 35

32:19years and I worked I’ve worked with universities my entire career I work with lots of other nonprofits now as well but you know I’m old enough that

32:25when we started in the nonprofit world the annual fund meant two things one you

32:31spent the money annually but you only asked for one gift a year okay um I have

32:36annual giving Consulting clients that I am persuading to seek three gifts a year

32:43from their donors what we learned uh over the years in annual giving is that

32:48those people who care about us they’ll give us two three four gifts a year okay

32:53um H what they’re saying is what we kind of learned is at times is they establish

32:59for them the amount they’re comfortable giving so you know we have to Nuance

33:04that and massage them and we can move them slowly up but somebody who’s giving a $100 um is is just as likely to give

33:11you $100 three times a year if you ask them at the right time or if you ask them frequently enough and with a case

33:17that’s persuasive enough um so you know that’s one of the things we’ve learned I would call that an internal Insight we

33:23learned that by looking at the behavior when we asked for second game gifts we got second gifts far more frequently

33:30than we got donor gifts from non-donors so it became golly it makes a lot more

33:36sense to ask the donors three times a year than before we ask any non-donors for even one gift we will do better on

33:43the third appeal to non to the previous donors than we will on the first appeal to the non- donors you know so that

33:50would I would call that an internal in Insight the out the external Insight is you know we’re we’re going to learn um

33:56you know from our board who don’t live and breathe us every day they’re living in the world they’re working in the

34:02world and they have assessments they make mental assessments of us and our ability to serve the community based on

34:09what they see so I think listen to those people um they’re not always correct but

34:14certainly their perception is important to us because it’s telling us how we’re

34:20perceived in the community so we should be listening to that kind of information and then going forward uh with respect

34:27to strategic planning or future strategies I would say that we have to think about long-term sustainability uh

34:33of our ideas and our Concepts and we also have to think of innovation because obviously things have changed and what

34:40the tools available to us are very different today than they were even five or 10 years ago so you know informed

34:47decision- making with iterative Improvement where we keep looking looking looking um I hope that I you

34:52know again I still hear it occasionally when I go to clients who say we’ve all always done it that way um I hope that

34:59we hear that less and less and that people are more and more open to new ideas I don’t I don’t throw the baby out

35:04with the bath water the stuff that works a lot of the stuff that worked before still works um so um I encourage people

35:11to consider those things but I would say that’s how I some of the things I’ve noticed over 35 years in the

35:17business that’s wonderful thanks Brian all right Tim anything to add on how data can help in understanding impact

35:24internally and externally and how the shapes future plans sure um everything

35:29has been said is fantastic already um but I would add just a couple things to it um we’ve we’ve helped some of our

35:36clients as I kind of alluded to earlier to to really look not just internally as far as getting one thing I I we

35:43definitely recommend doing is doing surveys of the people that you’re you’re giving services to or you know if it’s a

35:50university to the students and to the parents and those kind of things but also looking externally and finding out

35:56some survey information from them too as far as what do they what do they look for that they’re not receiving currently that might be house underneath your

36:03organization or it could be um because lots of organizations are very good at certain things but if they make small

36:10tweaks very small ones they can help out more people as well um and the best way to find that out we’ve seen is through

36:16survey work and that kind of thing um and then I’ll I’ll kind of piggyback a little bit on what Brian said just a bit ago as far as the boards go um we’ve

36:24seen a lot of boards also uh when they’re looking at the fundraising side of things say you know you’re staffed up

36:29well enough in the development side you’re good you don’t need any any other resources or they don’t want to give

36:34other extra resources to that side if you do a little bit of ROI analysis looking at what you actually have in

36:40your donor database and who potentially those those people that are potential to go out and have good conversations with

36:47um if it’s more than what you can currently get to in visits do a little ROI analysis see how much in the next

36:52five years they might a new person might come in what are you’re paying them what what they uh would potentially get in

36:58return and a lot of times once you bring that to the board it’ll get them to say

37:04okay that that’s an investment that we need to make but we see it a lot of times where where development staff is

37:09saying we need more we need more we don’t have enough people to really get out and see the right individuals um and

37:14that’s the best way we’ve seen to do it is to really look at what you already have you have the hopefully you have the data from wealth screening or or that

37:21that kind of information and you already know what you’re going to pay people and kind of but remember to look at benefits as well that’s one thing I always want

37:27to say because a lot of people forget that they just look at the salary make sure encompassing everything and do an

37:32ROI analysis over the next five years the first year might be slow they have to do a lot of cultivation that first

37:38year but as they go out further those individuals they can bring in a decent amount of money and cover those costs as

37:45well thanks Tim all right Jennifer what would you like to add and how data can help nonprofits understand their impact

37:52and how this shapes future plans so I definitely want to Echo a lot

37:58of what Stephanie said because I think that that is so true I’ve seen it happen um both from inside and outside of

38:04nonprofit where um it they seem to kind of separate anecdotal and testimonial

38:09evidence and actual hard data um as if they’re like mutually exclusive and

38:16that’s not the case it’s really they really really really do go hand inand and I think by understanding that and

38:23looking at it from both sides I think that that allows both a nonprofit from the internal perspective and external

38:30perspective in terms of like messaging but also like connection to the mission really appreciate the impact that

38:37they’re having on the community and that just creates you know like a better sense of worth like I understand what

38:43I’m doing here and it it helps like kind of raise morale in a nonprofit but specifically talking about informing

38:50future strategies in particular I think we see the marriage of both of these as being truly important to inform

38:56strategies in regards to grant funding because really grantors want to see both

39:02and I think sometimes we can get caught up in that uh oh we have this really great testimonial evidence that we want

39:08to put into this grant but if you’re not putting up those numbers the likelihood that you’re G to even get the grant or

39:15even if you do get it sustain the grand so that way they can become a multi-year funer start to slowly and slowly

39:21decrease we’ve seen that all the time and so I definitely recommend wherever possible to try to pull out both the

39:29like hard quantitative data and and also the qualitative data of like the impact

39:35boots on the ground impact that your organization is having um it’s so so crucial especially when it comes to

39:41Grant making absolutely thanks Jennifer all

39:47right this is the last of my questions before opening it up to our wonderful audience but before I open that door I

39:53want to sneak in my next question and Tim I’m I’m going to have you start us off with this one what are some key

39:59considerations for nonprofits aiming to foster a culture of datadriven decision

40:05making and continuous Improvement regardless of their specific Focus within

40:12organization I think a lot of this goes back to kind of what’s been said a number of times here is making sure you have the right data up front and and

40:18it’s the data that goes to what you’re trying to aim towards for starters and

40:24one thing that I we see a lot is even though you may have the data that backs up what you’re trying to to maybe make

40:31changes within the organization because you see some things that are that are proving out in the data that like you

40:36all have said that anecdotally you may see one thing but there needs to be changes helping with change management

40:42with within your organization to really help people that are a little bit resistant to change have good

40:48conversations with them make sure you’re involving them early and often to to have those conversations early so they

40:54know that um there’s a real true reason for the change and get their Buy in early the better you do getting Buy in

41:01instead of just pushing through a change the better it’s going to be for the organization overall um one example I’ll

41:07give is and it’s kind of on the fundraising side is we have several clients that they’ll have an MGO that

41:13major gift officer that will have the same person inside of their database or

41:18their portfolio for years they meet with them regularly they have coffee with them often but that person’s not

41:24increasing their giving or they’re not really giving much at all let’s get that person we we we’ve shown them data that says that person doesn’t

41:30really have the capacity you thought they did but they don’t let’s get that person moved out let’s get somebody else moved in sometimes that’s really hard

41:37but coming to them and having a conversation about this is what we’re trying to do and this is why we’re trying to do it early so they get their

41:43get their true Buy in before you utilize that data to really show why you’re going to make changes that can be on the

41:49program side as well obviously if you if you see some changes that need to be made a lot of people inside

41:54organizations that run programs they’ve been doing for as Brian said a number of times this is the way we’ve always done

42:00it why would we change get the Buy in early from individuals be based on data and based on good information than to

42:07make those changes that you’re looking for in the future absolutely thanks Tim all right

42:12Stephanie over to you thoughts on key considerations for nonprofits aiming to foster a culture of data driven decision

42:20making yeah I spent some time with these questions ahead of time and just something about key consider ation I

42:26started making a list and it it’s I started with it was like there’s a lot of key considerations I think but um so

42:32I narrowed it down to three things that I’ll speak to in terms of key considerations either because I thought

42:38they were maybe the most important of the key considerations or just one that I found maybe personally interesting uh

42:44so one that I think is really important that we haven’t I don’t think touched on too much yet today is the idea of

42:50leadership commitment uh to this idea of data driven decision-making uh thead

42:56leadership team must be committed to the idea of data driven decision-making uh leadership sets the tone by valuing data

43:03by incorporating it into their own decisions and by consistently expecting the same throughout the organization uh

43:10individual contributors will value data if they see it modeled from a leadership level and I have seen where that is a

43:16little bit upside down and it does not work as well uh number two data collection and

43:22management we’ve talked more or less quite a lot about this but that’s we’re here for um but uh here thinking

43:30specifically about the the the fact that you have to have the right systems in place to collect store and manage data

43:37effectively uh ideally I think that means creating one source of truth if your donation data marketing data and

43:45service data are all in different systems or spreadsheets spread around you are

43:50missing insights uh red path as I I think we mentioned at the beginning we work with

43:55nonprofit use so that’s an option um that is an Enterprise quality CRM dat database that is used by

44:02topshelf businesses around the world but which also offers free user licenses to nonprofits uh but whatever system you

44:09choose there needs to be some there probably needs to be some kind of upfront investment in implementing a

44:14holistic data management system for your orc uh keeping in mind that you can tell uh a compelling story about how

44:21investing in data will drive your mission and you might be able to find funders who are interested in partnering with you to to do that kind of

44:28project uh oh number three um experimentation and learning so this is um sort of a passion area for me um

44:35encourage a culture of experimentation when it comes to looking at your data um

44:41uh what I was resonating with earlier with Jennifer about challenging assumptions um and and using data to do

44:47that uh being open to trying new approaches and learning from both successes and failures it’s not just

44:54about finding your success in your data um with my clients I like to model an attitude of positivity and excitement

45:00when we find bad or scary things in their data uh for example when I help clients organize and get insight to

45:06their data it’s not uncommon that we might discover that they have 10,000 duplicate contacts on their list or that

45:12they have big donors who haven’t been reached out to in over a year uh this might be distressing to

45:18learn um but I like to point out that discovering these issues is awesome because they were there before you just

45:25didn’t know it um uh but they were there they were affecting you in invisible negative ways

45:32uh seeing our data clearly allows us to then take positive action um modeling that attitude wherever you’re at in your

45:38organization um empowers people to know that any insight is better than no

45:45Insight that’s wonderful Stephanie thank you Jennifer you’re up next what are some key considerations when aiming to

45:52foster a culture of datadriven decision- making and continuous Improvement so I think when both

45:59Stephanie and Tim touched on this but definitely making sure that everyone knows it’s everybody’s responsibility

46:05and training your staff on how to collect data I think sometimes you know we joke about in the nonprofit sector

46:12that we all wear many hats and kind of when you when you’re faced with taking on a new responsibility um it can seem a

46:19little bit daunting it’s not exactly the like most exciting activity that you

46:24could be doing but making sure that you know it’s everyone’s responsibility

46:29totally get that staff Buy in and make sure that your staff are trained and that they feel confident and competent

46:35to use the systems in place that are collecting that data because I think a lot of times we’ve seen this in

46:41nonprofits is they’ll be like one champion in an organization for data and then they leave and the rest of the

46:48organization is kind of scrambling to try to to figure out okay well how do we collect that data like how do we keep

46:54moving forward and so so definitely if every if it’s everyone’s responsibility

46:59then you don’t have to worry about those turnover situations and you can make sure that you’re consistently collecting

47:04that data another thing that I think is a key consideration for nonprofits is putting

47:12the processes in place um like I said wearing a lot of hats your your

47:18bandwidth is already so thin and as much as you possibly can whether it’s from using Salesforce or using something like

47:25a campaign monitor or a hoot Suite that pulls those analytics for you making those processes as automatic as possible

47:33so that way all you have to do is pull the report and begin to analyze it I think makes looking at the data a little

47:39bit easier and less timec consuming and also seem less daunting uh from a nonprofit like employee perspective and

47:47then lastly and I think this is another crucial thing is sharing that data with

47:52your organization with your team it’s great that now you know everyone has staff buying about this data that you

47:59have the processes in place but if you’re not sharing that data then you’re keeping those key insights to yourself

48:05and potentially prohibiting your team or even leadership from really making the best course of action going forward so

48:12you want to make sure whether it’s you know at a weekly team meeting or I mean at the very least at a quarterly board

48:18meeting situation presenting and sharing the key insats from that data so that way everyone is prepared um with all the

48:26information going forward to actually drive that decision-making process

48:32properly thanks Jennifer all right Brian any additional thoughts on key

48:37considerations when aiming to foster a culture of datadriven decisionmaking yeah I’m gonna I’m gonna stay gonna keep

48:44going where Jennifer and and and Stephanie went at the end um yeah with regards to that data and where Stephanie

48:51maybe went at the beginning data has to be accessible it has to be access accessible to everybody whether you’re

48:56making it accessible through dashboards that make it understandable for people

49:01accessible for people um I I know that I’ve been guilty of this in the past where I’ll start talking about data in a

49:08way that I understand it but then my understanding comes from 35 years of looking at this data and understanding

49:14it in a certain way and I realized wait a second you know the value as Jennifer points out in everybody appreciating it

49:22before we all move on uh can’t be a can’t be overstated um if I’m expecting

49:29the person doing the data entry to fully understand why I want all of these things done and checked and why we build

49:37systems that you know spit out little error reports so that we can fix things if I want them to buy into the whole

49:44process they have to understand why we’re collecting the data and ultimately later how we’re using it otherwise it

49:50just feels like more work for them and and we’re presenting them with more work work and they just think we’re

49:57nitpicking or what have you you know so um when we say no no no the reason we want all this detail is this is how we

50:04use the employment data you know we actually collect matching gifts off the employment data but if the person who’s entering the data never understands that

50:11we have a matching gift program and how that works then they just think that we’re making it harder for them to enter

50:17a gift you know or we’re making it harder for them to do something they used to do because they only had to

50:22enter six fields of data and now we’re asking them to enter 10 fields of data um so making everybody appreciate you

50:29know front to back um how the data is used is important and I’ll also speak to

50:35what Jennifer was saying leadership yeah buyin critically important then the leaders have to demonstrate that their

50:42decision making is datadriven and then the final thing that they can do for

50:48everyone at the organization is celebrate the successes and particularly

50:53highlight the ones that came about because of datadriven decisionmaking right I mean you know we’ve got the kpis

51:01we’ve got the way to measure things we’ve begun to measure things if we don’t celebrate success then again it’s

51:07still it’s still we’re still Rats on a wheel working working working and nobody’s telling us we’re succeeding

51:14that’s no fun um and work is work you know but in the end if it isn’t fun

51:20people will find somewhere else to go and that’s a new reality in the last two or three years is none of the nonprofits

51:28I’m working with feel they can maintain all the quality people they need so um

51:34we need to make work fun again for people who aren’t enjoying themselves thanks Brian all right we’re

51:41officially Opening Our Q&A portion and Jen I’ll have you start us off with this question this is from Maddie she said

51:49these are all exciting suggestions any tips to get Buy in from colleagues who may feel too overworked work to dive

51:56into Data Insights with our dbaa I think one of the biggest things

52:01where we saw success in bringing other staff members into the data collection process is having them see the impact of

52:10what their like actual job was through the data so maybe on the program side

52:16for instance um we had um like counselors case managers who would meet

52:22with veterans and I feel like you know day in and day out it seemed like they were just taking a lot of phone calls

52:28but then when we were able to sit down with them and show okay well for every phone call that you’re having this is on

52:35average the number of like people in their household their family members who you’re having an impact on and then we

52:42were able to correlate that number to like a financial like uh Improvement that they

52:49received so by helping this one person you’re essentially helping the four other people living in their household

52:55and you’re providing them a value of x number of dollars every time you hop on a phone call with them and showing that

53:02relationship had them buying into understanding okay this is why it’s so important to collect this data to log

53:09this data accurately and that way when it came time to reporting out those numbers whether it was to gr tours or

53:16for a fundraising campaign they were much more excited to like sit down and see the quarterly impact sometimes even

53:22more than we were um just because they were excited to see the true impact of what their work was having on the

53:27community so I definitely think making those relationships as strong as possible will help get staff buy in for

53:33sure and then also a great default is generally speaking you know the more

53:38numbers and data that you can have around the impact that you’re having uh typically I say that fingers crossed uh

53:45typically it relates to better stories and numbers that you can provide in Grant applications which will hopefully

53:52result in more money which means more re resour sources at the end of the day for your nonprofit and one thing that I

53:58think will motivate a lot of team members is the prospect of maybe a new platform or even a new team member

54:04that’s able to help out in some of those problematic areas so always always a good

54:09incentive thanks Jennifer anyone else want to add to that if I could really quick um

54:17something so she’s asking about uh you know asking people who are already busy with so many things on their plate to

54:22sit down with the database person and dig into Data together like where does that fit into your your day-to-day job

54:30um and what I want to raise is this idea is that it’s uh it’s it rarely works

54:36well I think for it to be a one-way Street of um people saying well here’s what I need from my data database person

54:44clearly defined XYZ now you give it to me um that’s maybe not how you’re wired

54:50if you are a program delivery person or even I mean any any any kind of role um

54:57we’re all doing different things and think and thinking in different ways your database person okay here’s I I see it as more of a circle um where uh so

55:05encouraging your database people encourage I’ve also seen database people who are just sitting there just waiting

55:10for that directive that doesn’t come because there’s someone sitting over here saying I’m just a program delivery person I’m just a fundraising you know

55:17relationship person and the database person sitting over here saying well I have data I think I’m doing a pretty good job with it but like you’re not

55:23using it and I don’t know you know um so maybe it takes a little bit of initiative on both sides I like to see

55:29that initiative start on the side of the database person to saywell I don’t I maybe am not in the seat to like dictate

55:36what you need to see but I can show you some of the things that I see in the data

55:41so P pull some reports put it into some pie charts made some bar graphs it

55:47literally doesn’t matter what they look like at first it’s just kind of maybe whatever that first person has to show

55:52in the data because then you can start to have this iterative conversation so now you’re not just demanding someone to

55:58step out of their role and think of something you can say I have something to show you look at my pie chart look at

56:04my bar graph and they might say oh that’s cute well but you know what would

56:09be actually really useful to me could you make a bar chart that does this and like all of a sudden that Sparks the conversation so it’s not just one

56:16person’s job to Define it and then you build it it’s it’s this circular conversation where you participate

56:23together wonderful all right unbelievably the hour is going by so quickly so we’re going to wrap up this

56:29portion of the panel so we can stick to our schedule so sorry if we haven’t addressed your question or if you have

56:35any more questions for panelists please complete the survey that will be dropped in the chat to indicate which panelists

56:42you have questions for and we’ll make sure to connect you with them after the session I’ve had such a wonderful time

56:48hearing from our panelist today and I’m hoping to get one final piece of insight from them all in this speed round and

56:55Stephanie I’ll have you start us off with this one what do you see as the future for nonprofits and how can they

57:00get ahead today um what I think every business has learned in the past three years is the

57:06importance of adapting to change uh the pandemic supercharged that rate of change for for many of us but I think

57:12the overall reality of a changing world is here to stay especially in terms of how technology fits into our lives and

57:18what it means to stay ahead of the technology curve um data and Technology really go hand inand so today’s focus on

57:24data can’t be separated from that topic of technology um as I mentioned earlier data Insight powered by technology tools

57:31allows your organization to Pivot and adjust when it needs to so I think in this quickly changing world that ability

57:38to harness technology is what separates nonprofits that are getting ahead from those that will be left

57:43behind thanks Stephanie all right Brian thoughts on the future and how to get ahead today yeah I’d make I’d make i’

57:50I’d lean in as well to the technology aspect of it but I would uh with one

57:56Proviso um uh I would say that we use the technology to make ourselves more

58:01efficient we use the technology to give us deeper understanding and then we have

58:06to think very carefully about how we put our personality and the human factor

58:12back on top of the actual connection and the experience in fundraising we know that people give to people right um but

58:20the organizations uh you know all of us know the the organizations that raise the most money are doing deep research

58:26identifying the best prospects you know and all of that but in the end it’s people giving to people yes the

58:33technology helps us know which people we should be talking to perhaps when and for how much um but again it’s the

58:41personal contact in the end and the personal stories about the personal

58:46impacts that that will drive the actual giving um so we use the technology but

58:52again we have to put the human layer on it and I think that’s the other thing we’ve learned from the pandemic was we all came out of that that horrible

58:59period of of isolation realizing we want to be closer together than ever before

59:06um but how to do that right I mean how to do that well um I think is is going to be something that we’re looking at

59:12going forward so harnessing the technology but then reminding people that that we’re people and and the work

59:18we’re doing is about helping people thanks Brian Jennifer over to you

59:24thoughts on the future and how to get ahead today I definitely think the future for nonprofits is very exciting I

59:30think they’re maybe on the Forefront of a lot of trends that we’re going to see maybe more so than other Industries and

59:37in particular especially around this conversation of data and testimonials

59:42with the rise of gen Z and their need for authenticity I think the hand inhand of providing hard data along with those

59:49testimonial human impact stories is going to be so pivotal in the nonprofit

59:55space going forward over the next like 10 15 years as gen Z starts to develop and become more and more activated so

1:00:02definitely gonna be something to keep your eyes on thanks Jennifer Tim over to you

1:00:08thoughts on the future and how to get ahead today sure um as I said earlier I was at a conference earlier this week

1:00:14and they were discussing Ai and how to utilize that in not for-profits because as they they did some research the

1:00:20person who was talking had showed that about 60% of for-profit organizations in the last year are fully utilizing AI in

1:00:27their day-to-day operations and only 25% of not for-profits work is always not

1:00:33for profits always seem to lag a little behind the for-profits as far as utilizing technology and that thing so

1:00:38making sure that we’re we’re really utilizing that but the one a couple caveats that we had with that as we had

1:00:44the discussion in the group is let’s make sure that um we’re not making fundraising and and work not for

1:00:51profits they doing more transactional it needs to still be as Brian just alluded to we still have to have that human

1:00:57element use it as what it is and this is the second point it’s a tool Ai and this new technology all this it’s just a tool

1:01:04to be able to really utilize what you can what you have in your organization to really help you know whatever your

1:01:10organization’s there for to really drive that impact and uh and utilize those tools though make sure we’re not shying

1:01:16away from it because it’s new and scary and those kind of things make sure we’re really embracing it as

1:01:22well thanks Tim all right and with that we have reached the end of our panel I

1:01:27want to give a big thank you to our panelists for sharing their insights today I also want to give a big thank

1:01:32you to our audience thank you so much for your time and I hope you enjoyed yourself and learned something that will benefit the work that you do on a daily

1:01:40basis please keep an eye out on the NX unite website and on and on our LinkedIn

1:01:45page to make sure that you don’t miss out on future panels all right that is

1:01:50it for me once again thank you all for joining us and have a nice recipe a day bye