Taking Action Option3


    Plans are important, but they’ll never work unless you take action.

    This month, the DBD team will be sharing ways for you to jump start your work in 2022.




    For many of us, the start of a new year means plans have been developed, goals have been set and you have begun the activities toward successfully achieving both while continuing to serve your mission. As the year moves forward, what happens when things don’t go according to plan? How do you know what to focus on next?

    The answer to both of those questions is DATA! No matter what department you work in or what role you play, there is valuable data available to you. Leveraging this data in various ways can help provide warning signs when strategies are not tracking to plan or identify strategies that are exceeding plan.

    Here are some ideas for using data to take action in 2022!



    From Finance to Fundraising and every department in between, data metrics are important measures of activities. Think of a benchmark or metric as a barometer of how your team or department is performing against plan or progressing toward your goals. When the correct metrics are tracked, they should provide you with information allowing your team to react with adjustments to strategies based on the variables impacting those benchmarks.

    For a fundraising or development team, a benchmark could be donor retention. Tracking donor retention from period to period, allows your team to determine how your donors are reacting to your mission and/or stewardship practices. If your team identifies a drop in retention, it might be time to evaluate how you are communicating with donors or specific pieces of your stewardship plan.



    In addition to specific benchmarks, analyzing trends in your data is an important step in helping you to take action. Reviewing the same sets of data from month to month, quarter to quarter or year to year, can provide critical information to your team. Unexpected shifts in these data sets can assist your team in identifying areas that require attention or areas that are performing well within your organization.

    A finance team may track trends in revenue and expense accounts to ensure the organization is successfully progressing toward their goals. By reviewing these data trends, a team can easily identify an underperforming revenue stream or a skyrocketing expense and provide management with appropriate supporting information to review and adjust strategies to realign with the organizational plans or goals.



    Once you’ve selected the pieces of data important to your department or organization, how do you present them in an organized way? A summary dashboard is a great way to present the key metrics to an executive team, finance committee or board. Dashboards should be designed to clearly depict how actual activity is tracking toward the historical benchmarks and trends you’ve selected to track for your organization.

    As we progress through 2022, take action and put your data to use! Determine a few metrics and trends that would assist your team by providing you with the indicators you need to help manage your department or organization. Once identified, develop a clear and concise way to present the data to organizational leaders and boards, providing them with additional tools to assist them in leading the organization.




    Header Photo by olieman.eth on Unsplash


    Posted by Nathan Sprenger
    Nathan Sprenger

    Written by Nathan Sprenger

    As COO of DBD Group and an active consultant with the team, Nathan brings a unique perspective to DBD's work with nonprofits across the country.

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