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Over the past few years, nonprofits have started to wake up to the great value of data. However, it’s important to remember that data in and of itself is not particularly valuable. What’s valuable is the insight found within the data. Basically, data is just the shell — and you want to get to the nut inside.

As many organizations have discovered in recent years, extracting insights from data can be more difficult than it initially seems. A recent McKinsey article references this eye-opening survey finding: Only 18 percent of companies believe they have the skills necessary to gather and use data insights effectively.

Unlocking the Full Potential of Your Data

The statistic above tells us that the majority of organizations don’t know how to pull the necessary insight from data and put it to work. So what’s the solution to this problem? According the McKinsey article:

Organizations need specialists, or “translators,” who can analyze, distil, and clearly communicate information of the greatest potential value.

With the increasing importance of data for making a wide range of decisions, a “data translator” can help you fully unlock the power of your data and integrate it across your organization. Put simply, having a data translator enables you to crack the nut and move smoothly from data to insight to action.

Three Ways Your Nonprofit Can Get More from Your Data

To get the most from your data, you need to be able to take these three essential actions:

  1. Analyze — Many nonprofits might analyze giving data such as recency, frequency, and monetary value, but that doesn’t provide a complete picture of your donors. It’s imperative to pinpoint the metrics that will have the greatest impact. For example, we’ve created a holistic Donor Listening Platform that takes into account valuable insights beyond giving data to help organizations analyze their donor base.
  1. Distill — Data can be overwhelming at times. How do you transform the information you discover into insights? You must have a solid understanding of statistics and analytics to improve fundraising strategy and organizational decisions.
  1. Communicate — How will you use insights to take action? You have to provide direction and vision across your organization about the data-driven decisions that will be used to optimize the strategy.
Are You Maximizing the Impact of Your Data?

Remember, collecting data is only the first step. You have to analyze it, distil the insights, and clearly communicate how they will be used to deliver results. If your organization does not have the personnel or processes in place to take those steps, you may not be maximizing the value of your data.

Learn more about Pursuant’s process for turning analytics into actionable data that drive donor support by downloading our free resource, Balancing the Art and Science of Fundraising.

On a scale of one to 10, how would you evaluate your organization’s current approach to data?