By Sheri Chaney Jones, CEO & Founder, SureImpact
Did you know that demonstrating outcomes and sharing a strong impact story is the most reliable way to increase fundraising? Do you want to invest in technology to make measuring outcomes and impact easier, but you don’t know how to pay for it?
Funders want to see outcomes and impact. Securing the funds to pay for your impact measurement technology is not as difficult as it seems. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with real funders to talk about their attitudes towards paying for technology that can help nonprofits simplify and automate their impact measurement. Here are three strategies they suggested to help you find the funding to invest in impact measurement.
Include impact measurement in your program budget. Funders are surprised how few organizations include outcomes and impact measurement software into their programmatic budget. Funders are asking nonprofits to provide impact and outcomes data and they understand the effort and investment it takes to make it happen. Quality impact measurement software helps your organization track who you serve, what services you provide, and how your program participants are better off as a result. Every funder I talked with said that they would consider impact measurement software a programmatic expense.
Apply for capacity-building grants. Many funders understand the importance of capacity building for an organization to thrive and succeed. Investing in technology that helps you track your outputs and outcomes and then provides insights that drive effectiveness and innovation is one of the best ways to build your organizational capacity. If any organization secures a capacity-building grant to invest in the first year of an impact measurement program, the ongoing investment becomes easier as having access to outcomes data leads to more future revenues.
Understand the cost of inaction. Sometimes an organization has the funding but is unable to get leadership and the board to reallocate their budget to invest in impact measurement software. In these cases, it is important to communicate the high cost of doing nothing. Nonprofits with outcomes data are 68% more likely to increase their revenues than those who do not. Therefore, not doing anything will cause your organization to miss out on new and renewing sources of revenue.
In addition, the hidden costs of a manual impact measurement process often exceed the costs of a technology solution. It’s estimated that it costs an organization between $30,000 to $50,000 a year for staff to manage inefficient systems that lead to few actionable insights. Technology can perform data analysis and business intelligence much faster and more accurately than any human can maintain, manipulate, and transform Google and Excel sheets. Give your staff a break by allowing them to focus on meaningful work that drives your mission. Then use technology to fuel their efforts.
If you are ready to invest in technology to help you move towards an impact-centric, data-driven culture, here are two resources to help you on your journey. The first is a one-page document to share with your funders when applying for funding to support impact measurement. The second is a case management buyers guide to help you ensure your case management system is also meeting your impact measurement needs.
SureImpact’s mission is to encourage and equip impact-centric leaders, like you – leaders who are brave enough to change the world. We are fueled by our deep-seated desire to help change makers manifest their mission. We do this by helping you understand how lives and communities are transformed because of your work. Watch our SureImpact product tour to learn more.