Not-for-profit outcomes. That’s the subject of this ongoing blog series highlighting why (and how) organizations must prove their mission is working to keep funding streams flowing.
Not-for-profit dashboards are the final component of any effort to track outcomes. After identifying what KPIs to track, and how, not-for-profit dashboards offer a means to put those outcome metrics to work on behalf of the mission; where the rubber meets the road.
Our last blog article introduced the concept of a not-for-profit KPI dashboard: A tracker that collects the most important outcome metrics in one place and updates them automatically based on changes to the underlying data, financial and operational. Like the dashboard of a car, it makes the performance of the not-for-profit clear in a glance.
A study from the Journal of Accounting, Audit, and Finance
showed that not-for-profits with a seal of transparency from Guidestar, a charity evaluator, increased their donations by 53%. People are enthusiastic to support causes they believe in, but first they need to believe in the not-for-profit too. That’s where not-for-profit dashboards come in.
With the right dashboards, not-for-profits can monitor outcome metrics to understand their own performance, then make targeted changes or improvements as necessary. In that way, dashboards help deliver the positive results that funders, volunteers, staff, and program participants all hope for.
Another advantage of not-for-profit dashboard, when properly implemented, is the ability to highlight outcomes in an instant. When someone wants to know how program participation is trending, for example, that information is available on demand – an example of the kind of transparency expected of not-for-profits.
Finally, when a not-for-profit has dashboards that incorporate the right financial and operational metrics at its disposal, it has other advanced ways of utilizing data and leveraging outcome metrics. Financial reports for not-for-profit boards, for instance, are simple to produce when all the data already lives on the same platform. The same goes for program performance audits or disclosures about financial management. If data can feed into a dashboard, it can serve any purpose, including the most important of all: running a not-for-profit that people trust.
As not-for-profits gain a better understanding of their performance – informed by the right not-for-profit dashboards and focused on outputs and outcomes – they can make success a bigger part of their message. Instead of emphasizing who they serve and how, they can shift the conversation to the results they achieve and why.
Whether your not-for-profit wants to make outcome metrics the centerpiece of your fundraising strategy or just a component, it takes data – fully-integrated, automatically-updated, intuitively organized, and carefully analyzed. Without it, and without the not-for-profit dashboards to reference it, a not-for-profit is basically flying blind.
In our next and final post, we outline the easy way to add not-for-profit dashboards to your toolkit and optimize the insights within. Think of it as a shortcut between where you are and where you want to be. To learn more now, download the e-book.