A common prejudice views nonprofits as an inferior version of for-profits. Charities are less “serious,” less “professional.”
This view impacts the world of software. If nonprofits aren’t as ‘professional,’ then they don’t need the same tools as their bigger, better counterparts. They should be happy with leftovers.
Nowhere are these dynamics more evident than in insight. Most charity management systems combine lazy coding with lackluster insight tools, if they include insight tools at all.
There are two problems with this.
First, whether single or multi-country, a multi-entity nonprofit will have much greater insight needs than most for-profits.
Second, the charitable sector faces challenges that their for-profit counterparts couldn’t image. They have to do ever more with ever less. They’re triply accountable—to those they serve, to those who fund them, and to those who regulate them.
Nonprofits should set their sights higher than the market standard. Especially in today’s world, BI should matter to every organization, regardless of their tax status.
So what should nonprofits search for? How can they tell whether or not a management solution will satisfy their BI requirements?
The right solution will support every one of the following stages:
Retrieval: Nonprofits need rapid, anytime access to data—especially in low-broadband countries. This in turn requires multi-tenant architecture and a well-maintained database.
Inquiry: Suppose that a charity’s fundraising team needs to see multi-year giving trends among a particular demographic group. They need the ability to define and retrieve precisely that dataset. No more, and no less.
- Analysis: In the age of big data, nonprofits need robust analysis tools. They must have the ability to:
- Drill-down to any dataset’s most granular levels, including to underlying records and documentation.
- Drill-through multiple views for 360° understanding
Visualize data, whether as a chart, graph, heat-map, or pivot-table.
Export: Every nonprofit needs flexible options for data export. These options should include different modes of delivery as well as different formats delivered.
Nonprofits too often sell themselves short. They face equal or greater insight challenges than their for-profit counterparts, and they have just as much right to solutions as good or better.
Some of the world’s most complex nonprofits have found their solution in Xledger. A true cloud ERP provider, Xledger unifies fundraising outreach, core financials, payment processing, and donor nurture. Likewise, Xledger unites every stage in the data process—from retrieval to export—in one flex screen.
Cure International runs hospitals in twenty nations and specialty programs in 10 more. Prior to Xledger, Cure’s reporting took weeks, with delays and inaccuracies frequently handicapping decision-makers. On Xledger, Cure leadership can access and analyze real-time data from every corner of the organization on any device.
The International Legal Assistance Consortium faced similar challenges. With 50 member organizations in war-torn regions around the world, ILAC leaders knew that they needed software capable of global insight and coordination. After a lengthy search, they selected Xledger. Immediately, ILAC saw its efficiency and effectiveness skyrocket.