Nonprofit data analysis

5 ways nonprofits and CBOs use business intelligence (BI) and how to get started

If you want to make more informed nonprofit decisions, you need to know about Business Intelligence (BI).

Business intelligence unites organizational objectives, data, and visualization tools to help nonprofits make smarter choices that directly impact future planning. 


5 ways your nonprofit can use BI

Data is the most powerful tool in a nonprofit’s arsenal. Nonprofits take data a step further, using business intelligence to:

1. Donor analytics

BI tools can help nonprofits analyze donor data to identify trends, patterns, and opportunities for engagement. This can lead to better-targeted fundraising campaigns and increased donations.

2. Program evaluation

Nonprofits can use BI to track program outcomes, measure impact, and identify areas where their programs need improvement.

3. Budgeting and financial management

BI tools can help nonprofits track expenses and revenue, forecast future income, and make informed decisions about resource allocation.

4. Volunteer management

Nonprofits can use BI to track volunteer hours, monitor engagement, and identify areas where volunteers can best contribute.

5. Board and staff evaluations

BI can be used to evaluate the performance of nonprofit staff and board members, identifying areas where training and development are needed to improve performance.


Nonprofit business intelligence

How does my nonprofit get started with business intelligence?

1. Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

What do you want to improve or better understand in the coming months or years? Identify your pain points, the areas in which the nonprofit struggles, in order to create such KPIs as:

  • Donor & Donation Growth and Retention Rate
  • Fundraising ROI
  • Donation Conversions by Channel
  • Program Attendance
  • Employee Retention and Satisfaction Rates
  • Absenteeism Rate
  • Year-Over-Year Growth
  • Program Efficiency

2. Gather data.

Collect data from various sources, including internal databases and spreadsheets, social media, customer feedback, etc.

3. Choose a BI tool.

Choose from a variety of BI tools, depending on your needs and budget, including Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, and Google Analytics. 

(Check out the survey results in “How to Choose the Right Business Intelligence Tool” from Stitch.)

4. Analyze the data.

You’ll likely need to employ a database strategy to decide how to cull all your data into the BI tool you choose, which will help you to analyze the data and identify trends and patterns. You’ll relate your findings back to the KPIs you defined in step 1.

5. Create dashboards.

Build dashboards that visualize the data in a way that is easy to understand and actionable. 

6. Share insights.

You’ll want to prepare reports and share insights related to your KPIs with key stakeholders, including managers and board members, to drive decision-making.

7. Iterate and improve.

But this is not a one-and-done process! Continuously monitor and analyze the data to identify areas for improvement and optimize your nonprofit’s performance.

Do you think it’s time to introduce a more robust data strategy into your nonprofit or CBO’s planning? We can help! Visit our Services page to see what we do.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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