The term “time is money” certainly rings true for most, if not all sectors these days, with many organisations constantly trying to improve their efficiency and most importantly reduce expenses. This is the same for charitable organisations, who are most times in a position where each penny may be crucial in helping their efforts move forward and to the benefit of their cause.
Most non-profits and charities are constantly trying to reduce their administrative and operational costs, but still have to maintain the highest of standards so that they can maximise their impact and of course generate as much learning information as possible to improve and streamline operations as they go along. Reporting however may become a bit of a nightmare, as often information is required from a wide variety of stakeholders in a timely fashion.
Such organisations often have critical human and budgetary resource constraints for collecting and such data and information on a regular basis. The internet does however provide a useful platform for information to be collected in real time from field operations as well as the broader stakeholder group.
There are however free online tools available to charities which can save them heaps of time and can provide excellent options for extracting and displaying or communicating the information being received. Here are some of these available online tools, which can really help in professionalising charity reporting operations and make a substantial difference to their day to day operations.
Google Analytic Solutions/ Data Studio
This nifty online tool, made available free of charge by Google was originally designed and marketed for businesses and has tons of capabilities. It has become popular in many different sectors due to its high-end capabilities and ease of use. Some of the more essential services included, which charities may find particularly useful are:
Collecting Data (information)
With this tool you will be able to collect data from just about any source using the online platform, from surveys to regular progress and activity reports. The information will then be neatly compiled into relevant spreadsheets, making it easy to access and work with.
Organising Your Information
Depending on your unique purpose, the raw data which has been collected can become a mountain to sort through and organise. The software gives you the options to sort through the data and organise it at the click of a button, thus enabling you to transform the mountains of information into easy-to-read values, which can then be readily used in reports or for further operations, such as creating visual tools such as graphs.
Customise and Visualise
Once your information is all neatly bundled together, options are available for creating graphs and metrics which can then convert information into professional looking visual tools, which allows you to more effectively communicate with your target audience and share this collected information.
There are just so many more tools available with this online service that even experienced professionals will have plenty to keep them busy. This is designed for the novice and is easy to use, whether being done so by a smaller team or a bigger organisation.
Other Online Tools
Even though Google does in many ways set the bar when it comes to web services, there are endless similar online tools which can be used based on your specific needs and level of technical expertise available. These are some of the others available which may be simpler to use or geared towards a more specific type of use.
This online tool also has online reporting facilities, but also offers tools for marketing and fund raising. Most interestingly, it allows you to track donations and the relevant information of donors, which can then provide information on how to retain and expand your target groups when planning fundraising campaigns. This is specifically aimed at charities and has a few more great features which are worth looking into.
This tool is an example of what can be used to track online traffic to a charity website or page, which then gives you insights into the trends of which people are visiting your pages and when. This can allow you to better customise the marketing of your various campaigns.
With so many tools available online there is definitely one out there for each and every type of charitable organisation. Although there are some great ones available free of charge, if the needs of a charity are very specific and/or the it is a larger charity, it may be worth investigating such services which are paid for.
Staff members and volunteers may not always have the skills readily available to properly harness these available online resources and can sometimes get bogged down in the sheer volumes of information that comes in. This may lead to time-consuming efforts to collate the received information which can have detrimental effects on the quality of the reporting products and tools which are used to make sense of the consequent reports. Get your team familiar with the above suggestions and your charity’s books will be looking splendid in no time at all.