Giving Compass' Take:

• Khuloud Odeh and Shena Ashley, at Stanford Social Innovation Review, encourage nonprofits to take advantage of crucuial data and digital technology.

• How are you utilizing data and digital technology in your organization? What can you do to invest in high-level, functional data and digital technology for increased impact in your sector?

• Read on about the importance of data and digital technology in informing COVID-19 solutions coverage.

Having access to quality data along with the appropriate technology to elevate insights and inform decisions can be a real game-changer for nonprofit organizations when it comes to measuring work and reporting on impact. The powerful tools of data and digital technology, when used effectively, can help nonprofits make informed decisions about their use of resources, shape the design and implementation of programs and strategies, and help them differentiate their strategies and approaches for their various stakeholder communities.

Nonprofit leaders know this, and many have taken the effort to build data collection into their program strategies. But many still struggle to get the most value from data and technology. The respondents in the second edition of Salesforce’s Nonprofit Trends Report speak to this dynamic, with 75 percent reporting that measuring and reporting data is a challenge and that time and resource constraints are specific barriers. Even when leaders can overcome these barriers, only 44 percent say that they measure their impact at all, and 69 percent say that it is hard to share personalized impact data from programs with funders.

These numbers are disheartening, but they are consistent with what we hear from nonprofit leaders. They are also enlightening, as they underline the need for capacity-building support to strengthen and enhance the use of data and technology in nonprofits for measuring performance and impact. Given the time and resource barriers that nonprofit leaders face, it is insufficient and improper to keep placing the responsibility in their hands without providing the necessary capacity supports, such as sustainable funding to build and improve their infrastructure over time, access to toolkit resources and standardized practices for designing impact reports, and group training and peer supports for knowledge sharing.

Read the full article about data and digital technology by Khuloud Odeh and Shena Ashley at Stanford Social Innovation Review.