As you consider new programs and initiatives for the year ahead within your foundation or nonprofit, one of the most valuable things you can do is look back. Bringing a critical eye to what your organization has done thus far can help you get farther faster. Here's how.
Goal-setting and vision-casting certainly play an important role in growth, but if you don’t know what is working and what’s not working, your goals for new and expanded grant programs are just handfuls of spaghetti you’re throwing at the wall.
By analyzing the data you have collected on your current grants, you’ll be able to successfully launch new programs based on what you’ve learned. That way, instead of tossing noodles about, you’re actually crafting a gourmet pasta dish that pairs nicely with a vintage pinot noir.
Asking the right questions and having clean, clear, reportable data to answer those questions makes a world of difference in achieving these goals:
Clean, organized data allows for efficiency on both the back end and front end of your operation. Collecting the answers to the questions that will aid your organization’s growth can be messy if it’s not automated correctly. Sometimes the data is inherently available even if it’s not organized. But often, the data cannot be collected until you know what questions you need to ask. Knowing which answers you want to have available allows for organized and efficient data collection from the beginning of a program.
Once that’s in place, you’ll also save time in moving your foundation or nonprofit forward with increased decision confidence. Armed with the clear data collection put in place means you can make better decisions faster on implementation of new initiatives. You’ll already have the necessary information to know what will work. It’s almost like having a magic crystal ball, except better because it’s reliable and repeatable instead of just a really great guess! Customized dashboards, intuitive integration, and simple user experiences will allow you to get the data you need in a few clicks and a couple minutes.
Not only does thorough and intentional data collection and reporting save you time, it also ensures excellence - when it’s done right. Having the information about elements such as what attracts the best qualified applicants and what creates the smoothest and most fair review process means you are able to make the kind of tweaks or major overhauls necessary to create a process that is envied industry-wide.
A clean and clear data collection and reporting system can allow your application and review process to:
Attract highly qualified applicants
Ensure a diverse pool of applicants
Create a streamlined application submission process
Determine how to make the application process more efficient for applicants
Figure out how to make the review process more unbiased and objective
Streamline the review process overall
Improve the notification process and timeline for all applicants
Increase decision confidence for new programs within your organization
Eliminate trial-and-error initiatives that waste time and resources
The right kind of data collection and reporting system can put your organization in a position that exponentially improves the excellence of your applicants, your efficiency and your reputation.
Growing Your Impact
If you can save time and ensure excellence in your entire awards process, growing your impact is simply inevitable. Automating your reporting so that it’s running like a well-oiled machine in the background lets you and your staff keep moving forward, innovating and connecting your organization’s impact with the world around you.
Think about it - your best people were not hired to figure out IT glitches, track down paper trails or cross reference spreadsheets to get the kind of information you need to really grow your impact. Now all of that data can be integrated into a seamless suite of systems you already use in tandem with a grant management system. Put all of that on auto-pilot so you can do what you do best - make the kind of positive impact on our world that truly makes a difference.