In part 2 of the 2021 Not-for-Profit Leadership Summit, keynote speaker Sheri Chaney Jones focused on turning data into dollars – how non-profits can use data to better tell their story and drive greater success with fundraising.

The event, hosted every fall by Barnes Dennig, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and The Leadership Council for Non-Profits, drew record numbers of attendees from across virtually every segment of the non-profit community, all anxious to get fresh perspective from Sheri Chaney Jones. The founder and CEO of Measurement Resources Company and SureImpact, Inc., Sheri led two full workshops on the power and impact of data for non-profit organizations: “Data-Driven Strategic Planning for Fundraising Success” and “How to Turn Data into Dollars: Demonstrate Your Social Impact.”

We covered Data-Driven Strategic Planning in our previous post – today we’re focusing on strategies Sheri provided for turning Data into Dollars.

A Changed Landscape

From galas to golf outings, many traditional in-person fundraising events were essentially non-existent throughout 2020, and although some have slowly reemerged in 2021, it’s likely that this form of securing financial security across the social sector will be changed forever.

Simultaneously, CARES Act funding will disappear, and many organizations will experience a dramatic increase in their reliance on grants to continue to operate their programs and services as they work to meet the increased need in their communities.

This environment has left many fundraising professionals and leadership teams asking:

  • How can we explore new methods to replace these long-standing traditions?
  • Will we have to continue to maintain a hybrid approach to maintaining donor relations, in terms of virtual vs. face-to-face?
  • How can we develop new ones in this new environment?
  • How can we plan for this increase in competition for grant funding?

The answer is impact. Organizations that can demonstrate and communicate their social impact and articulate their social return on investment (SROI) will be the organizations that will win across multiple sources of funding.

How Data Translates to Impact

Having data to support the impact is necessary.  To determine what data is needed, start from key questions – what do you want to know? Get answers to related to your program and services – then select what data to use and what should be measured.

Data can help use precious resources wisely, stand out from the crowd, and ensure financial stability.

Data to review:  What was done (outputs), How well was it done (quality), and who is better off (outcomes).  Organizations should use impact data for continual improvement.  This allows an organization to create a high-performance culture, clarity, capture attention, change/celebrate, and engage the community.

The data gives you a way to tell your impact story.  Storytelling is key to communicating your impact on the community, and data is a vital component of successful storytelling. A great story grabs the attention of potential donors and engages them in your mission. It also provides an enhanced level of credibility for your organization, engage emotion, and increase donor/organization connections.

Throughout the session, Sheri fielded a dazzling array of questions, providing insights and ideas to help non-profits thrive. You can watch the full event on-demand and download the slides here on the Barnes Dennig website.

Connect with Us

Barnes Dennig’s dedicated Not-for-Profit team includes more than 40 professionals who have experience working with a wide array of not-for-profit and governmental organizations. We can help you maximize your resources and further your mission. If you’d like to talk to one of our non-profit accounting specialists at no charge, contact us. We’re here to help.