Developing Dashboards To Drive Success
The future success of nonprofit organizations, like their for-profit counterparts, depends on leadership’s ability to identify and set meaningful goals. But to achieve these goals, the correct revenue and expense models must be established. As the overall operations and plans for your nonprofit changes over time, having a well-developed dashboard that utilizes the organization’s financial data to provide you with a timely snapshot of the nonprofit’s overall health will give you the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of your services and programs.
Read Also: Nonprofits Consider For-Profit Advantages
Nowadays, having your organization’s data displayed in a visual manner is a must, and there’s no better way to do this than with dashboards. These tools can be used to assist your board (or other members of your staff) in their efforts to communicate better, handle substantial amounts of data and find important financial indicators. Also, dashboards have simple design layouts that make it easy for your organization’s leaders to use and understand the bigger picture.
Developing A Dashboard
Building a dashboard for your nonprofit starts with establishing a strategy, setting goals and outlining which metrics are important to highlight. The board and key staff members from each area of the organization should be actively involved in the dashboard development process.
As a starting point, your nonprofit dashboard should:
- Highlight key relationships between the organization’s activities.
- Define the nonprofit’s standards of success.
- Display organization data in a simple, intuitive format.
- Graphically present industry trends and the current status of the nonprofit.
- Compare performance metrics against targeted goals.
- Manage key performance indicators.
Developing an effective dashboard will help you identify opportunities for continued success.
Listen to episode 45, “Don’t Automate Bad,” of our award-winning business podcast, unsuitable on Rea Radio, to hear Brian Harr, president of Three30 Group, talks about how collecting and compiling the right data can drive organizational growth.
Prepare For Use
More nonprofits are turning to dashboards for data management, and for good reason! Having a well-developed dashboard gives you an interactive place to evaluate all of your most important data. But, before you go ahead and implement your nonprofit’s dashboard, make sure you’re actually prepared to effectively use these tools.
- Consult with an experienced professional who can make sure your organization’s priorities are properly aligned.
- Make sure that each of your dashboard’s models are comprised of relevant data.
- Work to match correlating data together to achieve better results.
Having this type of in-depth visibility into your nonprofit is vital and a major step in the right direction when it comes to making more effective decisions and navigating your organization toward sustained growth.
Dashboards provide you greater control over your financial processes, giving you the ability to dig deeper into important data points and give key members with a visually engaging snapshot of the organization’s key performance indicators. If you’re thinking about beginning the dashboard development process at your organization, the professional nonprofit services team at Rea & Associates can help. Feel free to either email our team or call me directly at 614.923.6568 for further professional guidance and insight.
By Brent Ardit, CPA (Dublin office)