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Why is a Data Strategy Important for Your Organization’s Impact?

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Why is a Data Strategy Important for Your Organization’s Impact?

Every day, human biases dominate decision making processes.

The public service sector, including nonprofits and governments, often doesn’t have access to unbiased insights a data-driven strategy can offer. Usually, this is due to a lack of time, budget, or training.

However, using technology to gain those insights can work as a vital step in understanding your organization’s goals and impact on the communities you serve. 

Having a clear roadmap of your goals can inform your data strategy, meaning how you collect data and analyze it, to enable more growth and unlock additional hidden values.

As global issues continue to grow and gain attention, data-driven solutions are more relevant and beneficial than ever for community-based organizations. Ultimately, an upfront data strategy can highlight wins and new potential goals to help the communities you serve to thrive.

Drawbacks of Not Having a Data Strategy

Many nonprofit organizations collect survey information through paper surveys and siloed spreadsheets — this can often lead to unreliable data.

But due to the multi-level pressures that nonprofit organizations face every day, there is a demand to be adaptive and respond quickly to changing policies, natural disasters, failure of infrastructure systems, and more. 

A 2016 report shared human error can lead to mistakes and gaps that cost valuable data for organizations worldwide. The report found the data currently captured by the public sector only realizes about 10-20% of its potential value.

This can affect a nonprofit’s overall objectives, possible donor reach, and, ultimately, the efficacy of the help that their aid recipients receive.

Community leaders and organizers need faster decision-making capabilities, which they can accomplish with technology. At New Story, we created Felix to move away from paper. We aim to get to know the actual issues within the communities we serve by using custom surveys to see our impact in real-time.

For example, we can record how much the family reads before having home during the intake survey and see how much their reading time increases over time through every impact survey after that.

What an Upfront Data Strategy Can Offer

Additionally, using an upfront data strategy can make a difference within your organization and with your donors, most notably by highlighting efficiency and growth capacities – which can result in an overall expansion of social impact. 

You can drive your nonprofit’s KPIs based on actual data, so you know you’re addressing the right issue. 

For your donors, they will be interested to see the impact of these more focused KPIs on your aid recipients and see where their dollars go, encouraging them to give and participate more. If you have a large donor base, a data collection strategy can help you understand their interests, better engage them, and leverage connections. 

As we can see, creating an upfront data strategy has a multitude of benefits in regards to impact. 

Putting People First

At New Story, before we build homes, we ask for feedback from the families who will live in them through our Lean Participatory Design process. This data helps us listen more to their current needs and helps give them a voice. 

That’s why organizations need to have a more panoramic and granular view of their work when employing a clear initial data strategy. 

Ready to get started? Start by doing a comprehensive review of the organization’s future goals, followed by an assessment of current data collection processes. With your precise objectives, you can know what data you need to capture and reach your outreach goals faster, or pivot if necessary. 

It is vital for data strategy to have the communities you serve in mind. When planning a data strategy, the social impact should be one of the main focal points and that’s where technology comes in to.

Enhance civic engagement. Using a data collection tool like Felix, you can gain aid recipients insights to help understand the root of the problem within the community.  

The faster data collection leads to speedier aid. You can quickly reduce technology debt with Felix’s quick onboarding and training process and bring innovation to your organization. 

Prioritize accuracy. A data-driven approach can help detect fraud, reduce financial costs across programs, provide consistently reliable data to minimize errors and create more efficient programs. 

Make better recommendations. Data-driven decisions foster collaboration between departments and create unity within the organization.

Promote transparency. Improve relations and compliance with community members, stakeholders, private sector, and government officials.

New Story’s data collection and analysis platform, Felix, allows you to see the high-level view of your data within a dashboard. Felix stores your data in one place — no paper to keep track of, and everyone has access to one truth.

Interested in learning more about how Felix can help your data strategy and analysis? Request a demo.

Written by Minah Kwon