The Importance of Nonprofit Data

February 21, 2023 / Comments Off on The Importance of Nonprofit Data


By Josh Kligman, CEO of Yearly

Data is one of the most useful tools in a nonprofit’s toolbox—for several different reasons. In this two part blog post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about nonprofit data and how you can use it effectively.   

Why should nonprofits care about data? 

Nonprofits are busy. They’re stewarding donors, managing volunteers, and running events. Amid the chaos of daily operations, nonprofits often lose sight of data. They forget to send out impact surveys, measure program efficacy and fail to keep track of other major KPIs.  

Though some nonprofits are on top of their data, they often forget to showcase it. They tuck their KPIs and progress away and forget to share them with stakeholders—both internally and externally.  

Though data is an easy thing to put on the back burner, or even altogether forget about, it’s one of the most essential tools for any nonprofit looking to succeed and make a true, lasting impact. 

7 reasons why data is essential to nonprofits 

Data helps tell your unique story 

Nonprofits, both large and small, need to stand out to donors and supporters. That’s where compelling data comes in. Data helps tell your organization’s unique story—the problem you’re trying to solve, who’s involved in the story, and how you’ve achieved your goals.   

Data collection and sharing is cost-effective 

Unlike other marketing tactics which can be costly, data is a relatively cost-effective solution to attracting and retaining volunteers, donors, and other stakeholders. Plus, it’s recyclable – data from years past is still relevant today. Without having to start from scratch, your organization can show progress and setbacks all without having to mine for new material. 

Data is key for staff retention  

Aside from the external marketing benefits, data is great for boosting internal morale and keeping your staff accountable. Data unites internal stakeholders along shared goals which ensure proper teamwork and belief in the mission. Both of which help breed results. 

Data builds credibility  

Donors and other stakeholders are interested in supporting organizations that have credible missions and goals. They want to feel confident in your operations and your progress. Well-mined data offers the necessary credibility to your mission, story, and brand. 

Data fosters transparency 

Nonprofit veterans know how important transparency is. Transparent nonprofits—who share data with stakeholders—have a better chance of connecting with donors and raising more funds. This transparency breeds trust. And trust, as we know, is important for any donation or purchase. 

Data creates awareness 

In order for stakeholders to support your mission, they first have to understand the issues you’re trying to solve. Data around your goals, and what you’re hoping to accomplish, gives context to the problem at hand. 

Data shows impact 

Above all, sharing data shows impact. It shows stakeholders that your organization has accomplished what it set out to do. And it confirms that your donors’ contributions made a difference. 

Now that we know why data is important, check back next week for the best ways to showcase your data!  

Learn more about using data in your Annual Reports!

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This post was written by Yearly, an MNA affiliate member. MNA members receive 10% off their first annual subscription with Yearly. Learn more