Most people didn’t get into the charity sector to record and report on data, but an increasing amount of time seems to be spent on data collection. And most of it is to get more funding.
The best way to get good data is to get your staff on board.
Your staff are your greatest asset
Your staff and volunteers are the ones who spend the most amount of time collecting data. Therefore, you need to make sure that they feel valued for their time and get something in return.
What’s the best way you can do this? Give them something in return. The quickest way to de-motivate staff is to not educate them in WHY they are collecting data. And even if you do, staff can still feel un-motivated if they know that the only reason they are collecting data is because “it’s needed to get more funding”. This isn’t empowering for your staff to hear. To put it crudely, we’re essentially saying that staff need to collect data otherwise they won’t have a job.
One of our clients took the decision to move their impact reporting into their frontline team and away from fundraising. The fundraising team still had access to the data, to share with supporters, but that change in responsibility meant that the frontline team now had more of an understanding of what happened to the data that they were collecting. They also could start making decisions from their data. Was that feeling that the number of people coming to their advice service had gone down backed up by data? Once they knew it was, what could they do with this information? How could they change their service to encourage more people to come?
This method is a much more effective way to empower our staff to collect data. Rather than thinking “I need to record attendance so that we can show funders how many people come to our service” they can shift their thinking and start to think “When we record attendance we can make more informed decisions and improve the way we offer our service”. Now that’s motivating.
Want to know more? Our free, 15 minute webinar discusses how you can close the data loop in any area of your charity.