Performance management data analyzation and sharing best practices

A popular blog from iATS Payments detailed how nonprofit organizations can break performance management into five steps. Today we're going to take a closer look at the fourth stage: analyzing and sharing data. Security and data are major parts of nonprofit management. Here are four tips that can help your organization thrive:

1. Notice trends
Now that your data is compiled, what's next? Look for patterns in the information. For example, if you asked employees for their thoughts on your payment processing system's back-end ease of use, were there common answers? Perhaps the staff noticed higher transaction fees and were not fans of the third-party transfers due to the higher cost. Analyzing data trends is a great way to figure out what course of action you should take next. In this case, consider looking into ACH processing instead or switching processors altogether.

2. Analyze security
Nonprofits have a legal obligation to keep donor and recipient information safe. This means everything from contact info to addresses and bank account numbers must be stored in a secure manner. How do you know if this process is working properly so you can safely accept donations online? Partner with companies and systems you trust. These businesses must follow regulations on information storage and sharing that are compliant with current government standards. Consider changing your account passwords on everything from social media to payment processing methods on a monthly basis to increase security. Make sure only trustworthy people have access to such accounts and enact company policies that protect data. Update these rules as necessary. Also learn about credit card information storage - it may be helpful for long-time repeat donors but can be a liability to your organization.

3. Consider where you get the data
Biz Tech Magazine wrote that many organizations don't have access to data when they need it. Then, the end of the year becomes a scramble to integrate information from many sources, like staff members, back-end website data and payment processing analytics. Don't let data analysis become a once-a-year afterthought. Instead, you can learn a ton from data on a monthly or even weekly basis with the use of enterprise reporting tools. 

4. Make forecasts
Data isn't just important for in-the-moment information. How do you think meteorologists predict the weather? They analyze data like temperature, humidity and past climate trends to establish what they think will happen with the weather in the next few hours, days and even months. Nonprofits can also use data for forecasting purposes - especially when addressing budgets and annual donation totals. Consider past trends involving total funds given, times of year donations are made and even who is giving to map out what you think your next year as an organization will look like. Just remember - this isn't a hard and fast system. It's merely a way to predict what might happen.

Data can provide nonprofits with extensive information on everything from budgeting to donor satisfaction and more. It's important to safely gather and store data so you can analyze your findings and take actions to improve your organization.

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