PMA Consulting, LLC

Is Your Data Flow Working Properly?

With data management at the focus of the PMA Blog, today we look at Data Flow and its importance in the process of successful organizations.

As mentioned in a previous post, a database is only as useful as the flow of data that populates it and the reports it generates. So how does an organization make sure data flow is working properly?

The first step is to review the various sources – or inputs – of data the organization wishes to track. For a nonprofit, donors and prospects themselves are the most important source of data. Other sources may be board members, volunteers, staff members, prospect research and the media. How is your organization positioned to capture this information? Does the person who is most likely to overhear donor comments, for example, have a method for ensuring that information is captured in the database?

On the other end of the spectrum are outputs, typically in the form of prospect sheets, reports and prospect lists rendered by a database. How is the information contained in your database segmented and reviewed by staff and volunteers to inform decision making? It may be self evident, but data that flows in to a database should also flow out. Too often, though, organizations capture information that is not utilized.

Before considering which fundraising database is right for your organization, contemplate the architecture of your data flow.