No Data?

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Ok, Nonprofit leaders, now that I have your attention……Shameless use of a cat and Star Trek GIF I know.

In fact, I bet you are actually drowning in data, but it’s just not organized and used!

I once worked with a large nonprofit and when I asked them if they collected data, they enthusiastically said, yes! Then promptly pulled out a yellow legal pad with, I kid you not, tick marks. Their Annual Report was very slick, but I can only imagine the time it took someone to add up and present all those tick marks! Let’s just assume it was accurate.

You, my nonprofit friend can do better. The best part is you don’t need any fancy or expensive software to get started!

I know you are probably most concerned with fundraising for your nonprofit right now, but stick with me here! To attract donors and funders, you have to be able to tell your story. In order to do that, you need information that shows your nonprofit’s value and impact.

Here is a simple way to begin. Start by listing all of the information you collect about the people your nonprofit serves. Whether you run a program or service or a community coalition, this is your first step.

All you need is a simple Excel spreadsheet (or Google Sheets if you prefer) that lists these 7 categories in separate columns:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Community sector they represent (if applicable)
  • The organization they represent (if applicable)
  • The Program they participated in
  • Contact information (email)
  • Dates of attendance

You can use simple formulas to sum the total number of people attending, the number of sectors, organizations, or programs and attendance by sectors.

Still confused? Let’s fix that.