You know that data can make your organization stronger. In NTEN and Idealware’s 2012 data survey, 99% of nonprofit organizations responded saying that they keep track of some kind of data. But, shockingly, only half of the respondents said they actually did anything with that data. This means that half of the data collected by almost all nonprofit organizations is just tucked away, never to be seen again! Why is this happening? The problem is that data collection, like many nonprofit initiatives, comes with its own particular set of barriers and challenges. Maybe you don’t know what data is most useful or perhaps the way you’re keeping track of it just doesn’t work the way you need it to. But you still want your organization to make quick, smart, and intuitive data-driven decisions. One way to overcome these barriers is to digitize your data with a client relationship management (CRM) solution.
For years, being a nonprofit has involved a whole lot of one thing: paperwork. Lots and lots of it. In various forms, including reporting processes, internal affairs, donor and donation information, nonprofit status renewals, communication… and the list goes on, and on. Sometimes it may seem never ending. But there is a way to make your work life easier! By digitizing your information with a CRM, you create a database that’s secure and accessible for anyone who needs to use it. In doing so, you can escape your seemingly endless amount of paperwork and move towards making smarter, data-driven decisions.
Although digitizing your data can cut costs, improve efficiency, and take the burden off of your administrative team, to be an effective solution your data must also be accessible. Perhaps before your team would spend hours looking through filing cabinets for specific donation documents. If you only digitize these documents, you will still be losing time but instead of sorting by hand, you’ll be manually searching your database. But by just taking the extra time to effectively organize your digital documents in a CRM, you will increase your information’s accessibility and allow your employees to find and use it much more efficiently.
If you organization’s information is stored in overflowing filing cabinets, labyrinth-like digital folders, or a variety of separate solutions, it is time to reorient your system. Using a single searchable, automated database lets you find the information you need by simply hitting search. By giving your team access to structured data, they’ll always be prepared, and able to collaborate. When you have multiple different data sources, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s coming from where. But by integrating all of your data into one system, you can ensure that all of your team can have access to the same data and allow for easy collaboration.
Another benefit of digitizing your data is that you will have quick and easy access to the data that will impress your funders. These days, everyone wants to know where their money is going – especially your donors. Without digitized information, it can be a struggle to pull together your most convincing information. By keeping all of your organization’s information in a CRM solution, you’ll always be able to use your data to prove your innovative, cost-efficient history with ease.
Along with accessibility and collaborative benefits that come with digitizing your data with a CRM, you can ensure that your information is being accessed by the people you want, when you want them to have access. Having an intelligent system allows you to have complete control over who accesses what, while also making it convenient for them to navigate as well. Also, no matter what system you use, there are a few security tips that you should always keep in mind. Remember to set the bar high for password strength, ensure your staff install mobile apps only through vetted platforms, and always update. You don’t want to be knocked down by this year’s hackers because you still have last year’s weaknesses! Finally, when choosing a solution, look for a CRM that has various mobile options so your organization stays up to speed with our increasingly mobile society.
So by digitizing your data using a CRM solution, your organization can have the collaboration, accessibility, security, and mobility needed to make educated decisions and thrive in today’s digital world. For more tips on how to better manage your organization’s data, click the link below to download our free eBook “How your data can change the world: 5 nonprofit tips for using better data to do more good” now!