As our understanding of data evolves, and we engineer our systems to house that information, it is critical to think about how we consume the information that we collect. Our report inventories grow with our changing needs, reporting tools churn out and deliver spreadsheets and PDFs, and we need more and more time to consider the information presented to us. I propose instead, a methodology for rethinking how we digest our data; a way to rely less on reports to drive our decision-making. In my presentation, I discuss the emergence of Information Delivery: a methodology of displaying the data in a way that informs and encourages immediate action. With static reports, we are limited to only the information on the page. As fundraising practices change, reports must also adapt, and we are left with a virtual library of hundreds of reports. When sifting through, it is apparent that many are outdated, unused, or completely unfamiliar to our teams. If these reports have a lifespan, and include static information in a real-time environment, how helpful are they really? When an opportunity arises to update our reports, it's time to rethink how we receive and interpret our data. The most important question to be answered is: What do we DO after we receive the information? The way we present information, the way we access it, the way we interpret it, and what we do next can become the difference between an organization viewing their data, and an organization using their data. Giving our staff the full story, and an opportunity to do something about it, will also contribute to expanded system adoption, information sharing and transference, confidence in the data, and transparency organization-wide.
What does this mean for me?
Many organizations have recently upgraded, or are exploring the options available for fundraising CRM systems. For example, Blackbaud CRM™ version 4.0 offers much more accessible advanced configuration options, allowing the support teams to easily build pages, tabs, and datalists that consolidate data from throughout the system into one space for review. Further, system tasks support the workflow associated with the data presented, allowing our users to add interactions, update opportunities, or fix data inconsistencies without ever leaving the configured page. Aside from improving the user experience and navigation of the system, we are able to control the information presented to each team, and facilitate their unique workflows.
The best way to start rethinking your data delivery is to identify the teams who request or use your static reports most. Consider asking your teams three questions:
What information do you need in order to interpret the data?
How often do you need this information?
Once you have the information, what do you do next?
These questions will guide you to determine:
What information should be presented together, in context
How often users will need to access the areas of the system
The tasks we can offer that will help keep users in the system, moving through the workflow
Armed with an understanding of how users need to interact with the information, we can better support them with tools directly in the system. We can tailor the user experience to our teams’ business processes, supporting day-to-day engagement with our data, within our system, in a way that makes sense for our organization. This approach supports the art and mechanics of fundraising beyond what we have already with static reports, and produces momentum with data collection and maintenance.
Some options to consider for your organization:
Team pages designed for each department
Data Quality Initiative
Deceasing or Marriage workflows
My Fundraiser Page in Blackbaud CRM™ or a Solicitor page
If you are looking at your library of reports for 2018, contact the team at BrightVine to help begin the process of designing information delivery.