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Are you data rich but analytically poor?

By Gary Seaman 9 September 2015

Not-for-profit organisations play a critical role within the societies they serve, providing services and materials that are often not available from central or local government, or from private organisations.

In the course of fulfilling this vital mission, many organisations find they have access to massive amounts of information about their work, but are unable to make the most of it—to transform it into actionable insights and successful strategies. Others find that they lack the data they need to understand which actions might improve their overall effectiveness. In either scenario, the inability to collect and understand data regarding beneficiaries, donors and payment by results programmes is a significant obstacle to competing and succeeding in our rapidly changing environment.

This is more important than ever within the current climate in which many charities and other non-profits currently operate, not least over-stretched resources. As the scope and scale of non-profits has expanded in recent years so have the challenges.

Already many organisations are operating on a shoestring budget and with less funding from central and local government. Yet we know that, from programme development to distribution of services, personnel and beneficiary management, to supplies and, office space—it costs money to deliver your mission and also to raise money.

What business analytics can do

A new approach is needed to cope with these challenges, so that non-profits can reduce costs, increase efficiency and attract more funding to help them continue and improve the work that they do. At Social Imp8ct, we help not-for-profit organisations to achieve their goals by taking them on a ‘Data Discovery Journey’ and empowering them to use their data more effectively.

Forward-looking organisations are now using business analytics to gain new capabilities and to overcome their challenges. Through data visualisation and textual analytics, among other business analytics processes, organisations can unlock hidden patterns within their data so that they can make smarter decisions and execute more effective strategies.

This technology can determine, for instance, which factors are inhibiting or driving the success of programmes, which is particularly useful if you have been commissioned to deliver payment by results programmes. It can also enable you to analyse beneficiary information and determine which data characteristics contribute to a failed outcome. Or it can predict the propensity of success for individual beneficiaries on a return to work training program. And business analytics can provide an effective way to monitor measure and manage your overall performance—determining your key performance indicators (KPIs)—but also help to identify key performance predictors (KPPs).

By acting on analytic insights, instead of relying on intuition or gut feel, not-for-profits can increase their contributions, improve productivity, reduce costs and ensure that programmes are accomplishing their intended goals.

Come and hear Gary Seaman talking about measuring the impact of social networks at NPC Ignites, our fifth annual conference in mid-October. Sign up today.