Technology is constantly improving, and many of these improvements end up being extremely beneficial for businesses. Data analytics, which is the use of data sets to learn more about the information contained in the data, has proven particularly useful in helping businesses run more efficiently and improve their performance. Commercial businesses were the first to get on board with analytics tools, and nonprofit organizations soon followed. Here are a few of the basic ways data analytics can help your nonprofit organization.
Improving Your Fundraising Campaigns
Fundraising campaigns are an important part of a nonprofit organization’s success, even if it also has products it sells to raise money. Putting together the most effective fundraising campaigns can be hard, as you need to determine how much of your resources to commit, what groups to target and the optimal methods of soliciting donations.
Data analytics can answer those questions and dramatically improve your fundraising process. Many large nonprofit organizations have used analytics with fundraising efforts to great effect, including Amnesty International, which saw its active donor base in Belgium double in large part due to its use of RapidMiner.
With analytics, you can check your returns with various fundraising methods to determine where you should pull back and which methods deserve additional resources. For example, you may find that sending out mailers has a low success rate that doesn’t justify its cost, and your organization gets better results through phone calls to each donor individually. You can also set up predictive models with your analytics to get a better idea of who is going to be receptive to your fundraising campaigns.
Setting an Accurate Budget
The budgeting process can be a hassle, especially when you need to get financial information from departments throughout your organization. You could end up with data sets in many different formats that you need to bring together to forecast costs for the next year and create your budget.
Analytics makes your budgeting process much more efficient. Instead of sorting through data on your own, your analytics tools can centralize it for you, making it simpler to understand. With the financial data from your entire organization in one place, it’s easier for people from different departments to communicate and work together when setting the budget. Predictive tools can provide more accurate forecasts regarding the financial needs of each department, making it more likely that your organization can stay within the budget it sets. You can anticipate expenses and payments to better manage your organization’s cash flow and avoid situations in which you’re short on funds.
Understanding Your Web Traffic
The way visitors interact with your organization’s website can provide helpful details on what the site does well and where it needs improvements. Through data analytics tools, you can check out several key metrics about your site, including where its traffic comes from, the demographics of that traffic, how long visitors spend on the site, the bounce rate and what visitors do when they come to the site. Google Analytics is one free option that provides all this information.
By finding out where your traffic comes from, you can see which sources deserve more of a marketing push. For example, if you get considerable traffic from social media, you may start running Facebook or Twitter ads. Demographic information helps you determine the groups of people most interested in your organization, allowing you to tailor your marketing efforts towards them.
Bounce rates and average session times are both important in evaluating your organization’s website. If a page has a high bounce rate with visitors leaving right away, it could be time to redesign it so that visitors are encouraged to check delve deeper into the site. A long average session time is usually a good sign indicating visitors are interested in your site, but it can also occur if your site is difficult to navigate. Your site’s conversion rate is one way to tell the difference in whether your site is appealing to visitors or it needs to be more user-friendly.
Working More Efficiently
Data analytics tools come in handy for more than just the behind-the-scenes work. They can also improve the efficiency of relief efforts and other work your organization does.
Nonprofit organizations have teamed up with organizations offering data analytics tools many times to provide better relief for those in need. When Ebola was spreading through Africa in 2014, data analytics helped choose locations for isolation beds based on how the disease was spreading and which areas lacked treatment centres. After a devastating earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, it was analytics tools that helped track how much different areas of the country were affected and developed a relief spreadsheet to ensure each area received enough supplies.
Raising money for the causes your organization supports is step one. To make the most significant positive impact, your organization needs to know the best ways to use those funds. Analytics can help you make more informed decisions when you’re putting the money you’ve raised to use.
The right data analytics tools can be a huge asset for your nonprofit organization, and there are plenty of options available, some of which don’t cost you anything. When you incorporate analytics into your organization, it can run more efficiently and get better results.