When someone asks about the best practices for nonprofit reporting, many assume they’re simply talking about taxes. In reality, tax law is pretty straightforward. The real complexity comes in relation to generating data reports and putting them to good use.
The fact is, without utilizing their available data, nonprofits will never be successful. Fortunately, the following reporting best practices are easy to implement, maintain and solidify in organizational functions.
Use the Right Tools
In all likelihood, you could probably create basic reports using Excel. If you’ve ever tried this, though, you know they don’t do much good. There’s simply not enough information or visual options to garner any useful report.
Instead, use some form of fundraising report software that can track grants, provide fundraising analysis and create reports on everything from constituents to finances. Better yet, use a tool that allows custom reports in case you want a report on data that others might not realize is useful.
Know Which Nonprofit Reports to Review
One of the most essential best practices for nonprofit reporting is actually knowing which reports to review. There’s no such thing as being “too informed,” but if you’re reviewing these at least monthly, you should be in good shape.
- New donor reports
- Lapsed donor reports
- Top donors
- Monthly donors
- Volunteer hours
Use Reports to Create Plans of Action
Once you’ve got all that data regarding donors who gave last year but unfortunately not this year (LYBUNT), those who gave some year but unfortunately not this year (SYBUNT) and anything else you feel the need to track… what’s next?
It’s time to put those reports to work. Create a retention email and blast it out to previous donors. Change your social media strategy based on the numbers generated from a paid ad. Adjust your goals for next year after reviewing this year’s solicitation revenue. Doing nothing with this data is a sin in the nonprofit world.
Take it to the Next Level
Following the best practices for nonprofit reporting is an essential aspect of reaching new donors, getting repeat donations and just about everything else having to do with fundraising. By gathering, reviewing and implementing change based on these reports, the success of a nonprofit will only continue to increase.