Data Management Plan

Data is easier to come by than ever before … and more difficult to manage. Don’t confuse more data with better data. Today’s organizations require a data management plan in order to succeed.

There is a fundraising paradigm shift under way Рgenerational, social, technological Рand it will continue for the foreseeable future. We need to recognize that data is the compass we need in order to navigate the changes. You can read a more detailed discussion of the challenges in our blog.Navigating

Third Sector Labs provides nonprofit data services. Developing a data management plan is one of our specialties. And we can help you execute that plan through quarterly data services such as cleaning, enriching, and integration support.

Please contact us to get started on your data management plan.

Think about the data coming into your organization:

  • donor / constituent data
  • transactional data
  • customer service inquiry data
  • social media data
  • service outcome data

The single biggest problem we face is determining what data we need, and what we don’t. Once we know what we need, then how do we get it, how to we maintain it, and how do we protect it?

A big part of the challenge is that too often, we actual “manage” data in response to a need or a crisis. Has this happened to you? A scheduled communication to 100,000 contacts needs the contact list to be cleaned … in a week! Direct mail pieces reach deceased donors. Your outcome tracking system is not recording all data fields required for reporting on a federal grant … four weeks into the collection process.

Then there is the fundamental problem that data – all data – degrades over time. Or, as we like to put it, if your data is getting better, it’s getting worse.

Your organization needs the highest quality data possible to best serve your mission. Three simple steps to remember.

  1. Map. A data management plan should start with a map – an assessment of your data gaps, showing you where you are now and where you need to go.
  2. Plan. A tactical determination of how you will obtain and maintain the data critical to your organization’s fundraising, communication and service delivery success.
  3. Professional services. A data services plan through a vendor like Third Sector Labs can help you stay on top of your data management plan, keep your data quality high, and manage your data assets proactively, not reactively.

Please contact us if we can help you.

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