Last month we shared the 2013 NTEN/Avectra survey data infographic and you loved it. Now we think you’re ready  for more –  a closer look at part two of the Research Study Report.

nten avectra survey report 2013Our infographic was based on the first part of the NTEN/Avectra survey which focused on the bigger picture and included input from a larger group on how they manage their data. This report drills down, gathering detailed input from 10 nonprofits and associations of varying sizes. We asked about how they manage their data process within their organization. The core findings of the report are based on responses to these seven questions:

1.      What types of engagement data are nonprofits collecting and, more importantly, why?

The study found that participants collect engagement data from a wide range of sources. All agreed that this data collection relates directly to their organization goals so that they can: identify trends, gauge effectiveness and outcomes to meet funding or revenue goals, and to better focus and allocate resources.

2.      How, and how often, are nonprofits collecting engagement data?

Collecting data from diverse sources and organizing it seemed to be a challenging and time-consuming effort for most organizations in the survey. We also found that although data is tracked routinely, timeframes for this varied greatly – ranging from daily to quarterly.

 3.      How are nonprofits sharing and reporting data within their organizations?

Report and sharing data was also revealed to be another major pain point for most of the organizations in the study. It would be difficult for me not to point out that this is where having a great Social CRM system with an analytics option really pays off.

4.      What have the data taught, and how has it impacted organizations’ work?

Nearly all of the organizations in the study reported acquiring new insights from the data – some of them surprising, and some even prompting them to make, or plan, tactical course adjustments.

5.      How does engagement data relate to traditional data?

Our participants reported that participation data and traditional data “relate directly.” One nonprofit in the study said “Our overarching goal is to leave our donor database behind and move to [a new CRM] to unify, within a single system, all our financial, membership, fundraising, program and engagement data.”

6.      What do nonprofits hope to learn from engagement data going forward?

We found that engagement data is helping the organizations in the study identify their constituent’s needs, motivations, and values. It aids them in decision-making in terms of which programs and services are of most value to their members and act accordingly.

 7.      What are nonprofits’ next steps with engagement data?

The nonprofits reported a diverse selection of planned next steps, including becoming more strategic, improving reporting processes, looking at new technology options and for one, it was all about staffing: “Training staff on how to use and accept our new tools will be where we spend our time and effort. We cannot work any harder, we must work smarter.”

I recommend that you read the entire report for more detailed information and real-life examples of how organizations are collecting, reporting, and using engagement data.

This research was co-sponsored by NTEN and Avectra as a follow-up to the survey conducted earlier this year.