Using Data to Better Tell Your Nonprofit’s Story: A Webcast Review

By - April 25, 2023

DDS (Data and Digital Services) Leadership recently presented a webcast for nonprofits, Using Data to Better tell your Nonprofit’s Story. This presentation provided an excellent overview of five data-centered capabilities commonly leveraged by nonprofit organizations. The webcast also gave nonprofit organizations tools to increase effectiveness, improve forecasting, and enhance constituent engagement.

When performed well, storytelling can be a powerful method to illustrate vision realization and garner enthusiasm from members and donors alike. Our presenters emphasized the influence of data in storytelling and the importance of employing a varied data toolset to successfully tell impactful stories. Below is a summary of the data capabilities highlighted in the webcast:

Data Strategy & Governance allows organizations to leverage data as a strategic asset and make confident decisions. From a big-picture perspective, Data Strategy & Governance views an organization through four critical lenses:

  • People: Who are the critical data stakeholders? Are they supported and enabled to make educated decisions with the data they have?
  • Data: Is the data presented to stakeholders trusted and ready for analysis? Does the organization have access to all necessary datasets and points?
  • Technology: Is the correct architecture in place to support analytics? Is the architecture scalable, and does it allow for trusted self-service reporting? What tools, applications, software, and platforms are available to query and analyze data?
  • Future state vision: What is the organization’s current analytical maturity? What must the organization do to advance its analytical maturity and integrate the necessary data capabilities that accelerate the realization of its mission?

Business Intelligence helps nonprofit organizations understand their needs to support their long-term strategic goals and create opportunities to resonate with members, constituents, and donors. Nonprofit organizations can harness the power of Business Intelligence to…

  • Derive actionable insights and use them to improve and redirect fundraising efforts
  • Improve efficiency, thereby allowing members the time and resources to further the organizational mission
  •  Visualize past, present, and projected future metrics (donor retention, average gift amount, etc.)
  •  Implement a strong digital marketing strategy by using member data to track engagement and demographics and leverage social media to target future marketing efforts

Advanced Analytics examines data using sophisticated techniques and tools to discover deeper insights, make predictions, and generate recommendations. Nonprofit organizations can

leverage Advanced Analytics to produce insights, predictions, and actions surrounding lead scoring and fundraising, member activity, and member churn.

Advanced Analytics can deeply understand donation amount and frequency, communication touch points, event attendance, and membership longevity. Nonprofits can then factor these insights into a comprehensive plan for a path forward.

Nonprofits can leverage Customer Insights to enhance the volunteer and donor experience, as well as the experience of those served by the organization. There are four aspects of the Customer Insights application to nonprofit organizations:

  • Donor personalization: Meaningful selection and targeting of specific donors with relatable and appealing content
  • Churn analysis: Collection and tracking of specific metrics (first-time donor retention, returning donor retention, and lifetime value) for effective donor stewardship
  •  Intent: Gauging interest level to deliver the right message at the right time
  •  Donor experience analysis: Determining customer sentiment, perception, and actionable themes; leveraging customer feedback surveys


Finally, nonprofits can leverage software applications to automate budgeting & forecasting processes. These applications enable organizations to look to their future and, as a result, define, analyze, and execute their strategic goals and properly allocate resources to serve their people. Budgeting and Forecasting can aid nonprofits in…

  • Making data-driven decisions: Budgeting and forecasting allows nonprofits to make operational decisions about programs offered and geographical locations; it also can help leadership adjust to request rate increases and shifts in client needs
  • Driving personnel changes: Nonprofits can use budgeting and forecasting to determine if staff utilization is optimal, examine activity by location and service offering, and understand overtime usage
  • Reduce time spent on monthly rolling forecasts, annual budgets, and administrative tasks: Devote more time serving constituents and furthering their mission; gain the ability to quickly pivot and reallocate resources based on various scenarios.

In Summary…

  • Every nonprofit organization has a unique story to tell, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution, platform, or tool that can successfully illustrate each organization’s vision realization.
  •  Data Strategy & Governance, Business Intelligence, Advanced Analytics, Customer Insights, and Point Solutions each serve a distinctively impactful purpose for nonprofit organizations.
  •  These solutions apply to all nonprofit organizations to varying degrees. If your organization faces a limited budget, focus on selecting a solution that will make the biggest immediate impact. · If you are interested in viewing a recording of this webcast, please check it out here.


About RSM

RSM is the winner of the 2022 Microsoft Partner of the Year Nonprofit Award. Additionally, RSM has a dedicated Nonprofit industry team and a service line of data analytics experts. We would love the opportunity to talk with you about your organization’s objectives and analytics goals over a complimentary call! If you have any questions, please contact Lillian Buziak at

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