5 min read

Kristin Adderson
December 10, 2020 – 4:00pm

December 10, 2020

2020 has delivered so many unknowns in terms of how nonprofits operate, convene supporters, and plan for the future. All these unknowns have come with financial uncertainty—which forces leadership to make tough decisions and challenging pivots to keep their organizations thriving. These decisions are best made with strong conviction and a foundation of rock-solid data. 

Eric Dayton, Director of Data at buildOn, faced many unknowns when he came home from Malawi on March 3rd, a week before the COVID shutdown. Fortunately, buildOn’s ongoing investment in their digital transformation helped the organization shift gears smoothly and chart a course of action during the early days of the pandemic. 

Dayton shared how their investment in digital helped: “Data and transparency are leading tenets for buildOn and the communities we serve. If we hadn’t dug deep and done all the work to digitize our mission over the last few years, we wouldn’t be so well set up to succeed.” Dayton was able to help his organization quickly pivot their fundraising and programs to continue to achieve their goals.

For many organizations, the right technology, data, and strategy can make all the difference. A misplaced metric can erode trust in a board or funder meeting, but the right one can get your program funded. Using robust data to inform your decisions can help your nonprofit become more agile—while lack of data can hold nonprofits back from making decisions at all.

“We grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s. We were spreadsheet-based, with simple, digestible KPIs presented to main stakeholders in a basic Excel file,” shared Dayton. “That spreadsheet grew into a system teams relied on, but it didn’t function or scale well. Nonprofits think these manual systems are helping their business, but they’re actually the source of 90% of the organization’s problems, especially when it comes to analyzing large amounts of data.” 

Digital-first thinking from buildOn supports a data-driven culture that empowers staff to lead with confidence and navigate uncertain times. And they’re not alone in finding success in a digital-forward approach: In our 3rd edition of the Nonprofit Trends Report, we saw 27% of organizations with high digital maturity exceed their fundraising goals during the pandemic, compared to organizations with low digital maturity exceeding only 7% of their goals.


Tableau Dashboard 3rd Edition of Nonprofit Trends Report showing nonprofit organizations that exceeded goals by digital maturity.

In an environment that’s shifting and evolving constantly, nonprofit fundraising leaders are seeking answers to these urgent questions: 

  1. What is our revenue health, and how is it trending?
  2. Which effective fundraising strategies should we pursue?
  3. How are campaigns performing, based on actual dollars raised?

To help fundraising professionals get answers to these questions, we are excited to share with you our new Tableau Dashboards for Nonprofit Fundraising, which leverage the power of Tableau and the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP).

Product Manager Mike Best had clear directives for this initiative. “Our customers told us they wanted a holistic picture of their fundraising effectiveness that was not only easy to understand, but—just as important—easy to implement.” 

Best worked with colleagues who previously worked in development operations, our customers, and analytics experts to help fundraising professionals get the information they needed deployed more quickly in their work.  

For Eric Dayton at buildOn, that meant being able to move full speed ahead with Tableau for Fundraising to unlock their donor data. “We were able to quickly deploy Tableau Starter Dashboards for Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud to unlock our donor data, forecast more effectively, and visualize revenue performance. Analytics allow us to make data-driven decisions across teams, which will allow us to navigate 2021 with greater impact.”

Here are three ways the Tableau Dashboards for Nonprofit Fundraising can help you unlock your data and make decisions for the future of your organization, with confidence. 

1. Understand & visualize revenue health

Are you fielding questions like, “How’s the forecast?” or “Are our average donor contributions going up or down?” Being able to easily visualize and share this information builds toward a more data-driven culture. Clean data that’s easy to see and interpret helps to streamline the decision-making process in times of uncertainty, and navigate that uncertainty with more ease. 

The fundraising overview dashboard helps you quickly scan revenue from a benchmark of last year or your revenue goals for the end of this year, uncovering both risks and opportunities. You can then dive into monthly performance, based on the number of donors, location, average gift amount, and the value of each donor or type of campaign.


Tableau Dashboards for Nonprofit Fundraising Revenue overview.

2. Create effective fundraising strategies

For example, once you know that revenue is going down in July, or you’re off course to hit an important goal, the next step is to figure out where you might be able to shift strategies and get back on track. 

The next tab helps you compare key statistics around new, retained, reactivated, recurring, and lapsed donors. This worksheet gives you a quick snapshot of donors, revenue, average gift amount, and more. Fundraising leaders can even zone in on a type of donation—say mid-level—to scan where that money is coming from.

Tableau Dashboards for Nonprofit Fundraising donor acquisition, retention, and churn.

3. Drive campaign performance

Once you have a strategy to reach those donors, it’s incredibly valuable to have the capacity to see how those campaigns or changes to channel tactics are performing. 

With the campaign efficacy dashboard, you can understand which campaigns drive the most revenue, benchmark against campaigns with similar strategies or launched in close proximity to each other, and glean campaign trends over time.

Tableau Dashboards for Nonprofit Fundraising campaign efficacy.

With Tableau Dashboards for Nonprofit Fundraising, you can democratize data and drive decisions that help your mission thrive in the new normal. Tableau helps you take the next step to give your people the power of data, whether they’re a fundraising leader reading a report on their phone or a funder visiting your website. 

To learn more about Tableau and ways to integrate and scale your analytics, check out the Tableau Basics for Nonprofits trail on Trailhead.