Our Impact Blueprint Can Save You Time, Money, and Heartache on Your Next Data Project

Posted on September 22, 2021 | in Data Management And Databases | by Taj Carson

Your current data system(s) don’t do everything you need. Maybe your data is all over the place. Maybe everyone is complaining that the one you have is too hard to use, doesn’t create the reports you need, or has terrible customer support. Whatever the reason, you and your staff are spending way too much time battling a system that should be making your life easier instead of harder. Are you tired of spending hours on the phone with customer support? Fishing around for days just trying to get the right information? Answering 20 questions a day from people who can’t get the system to work for them? Spending hours cleaning the same data over and over in Excel?

There are a lot of choices out there. Spreadsheets, vendor systems, custom databases, data lakes, data warehouses. It can be challenging to figure out what you need. And then you have to think about how they all fit together. Does the fundraising staff need to use the same system as the program staff? Does your accounting system need to connect to your events management system?

Is it any wonder that only half of IT projects get finished on time and on budget? In our experience, that number is even lower in the nonprofit sector.

You Are Ready to Tackle This Problem

You know you need a new solution; the patched together vendor systems and spreadsheets are not working anymore. You have even managed to convince the board (or the Executive Director) through lengthy conversations, PowerPoint presentations, and possibly some cajoling and flattery that they should carve out a budget for your project. You need something that will bring all your data together in one place and provide you with effortless and accurate reporting. You are ready to invest in a technology solution that will make sure you have the best data at your fingertips to make the right ask of every donor, every time.

But You Aren’t Sure Where to Start

You are anxious, and you are getting impatient. The saying “eat the elephant one bite at a time” occurs to you, but right now you feel more like the elephant is standing on your chest. You have to make the best investment for your organization.

You contemplate the right way to use your scarce resources (probably your only opportunity to spend this kind of money) to make sure you and your staff have what you need when it’s all said and done. Do you meet with a bunch of vendors and compare whatever they give you? Do you try to build something in-house? A hybrid approach? You’ve got to get this right or that budget is gone forever.

Every vendor will tell you that theirs is the perfect plan, and that the price they quote will get you everything you need. But they often don’t have enough information to know that. Have you ever heard the adage that every technology project takes twice as long and costs twice as much as planned?

If you don’t know exactly what you need, or if the vendor doesn’t understand what outcome you are going for, you can run into a slew of problems that are very common.

You Are Afraid of Going Over Budget and Blowing Up Your Timeline

These are the stories we hear all the time:

  • You have a set budget, and it’s a one-time spend. You get bids from vendors, or even from your IT department, and halfway through the project whoever is building it tells you it will cost more money. Or, you get to the end of your budget and the project isn’t finished yet.
  • Someone promises you the sun, the moon, and the stars, and every feature you thought to ask for (off the top of your head) but when the build is done (or you run out of time and/or money) the system doesn’t do what you need it to. The data isn’t integrated, it’s not the right data, those aren’t the reports you need, or you can’t get the right users onto the system.
  • You’ve gone out on a limb to make a big ask of your organization (or even your best funder) and now you are over budget, out of money, and don’t have the data system you promised everyone. This is embarrassing.

This happens a LOT, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

We get it. You need a new system, and you can’t risk having the project budget and timeline blow up on you. Your boss (or the board) will never trust you again. You’ve got one shot at this.

Imagine if you could…

  • Know exactly what you need, and have a plan that both you and potential vendors can both understand.
  • Learn the best approach for your organization - whether it’s using existing technology, purchasing a whole new system, or using a combination of tools.
  • Get the system you need to solve your problem, on time and on budget.
  • Look like a rockstar to your board and your colleagues.

You can. That’s why we created the Impact Blueprint.

You need a plan that will lay out what your most important data is, where it is all stored, and ultimately guide you step-by-step to stop spinning your wheels. The Impact Blueprint will let you spend less time on your data and more time on your constituents, members, donors, and most importantly on your mission!

We’ve helped over 150 nonprofits solve data problems like yours. We aren’t wedded to any particular solution (not even our own). We love helping nonprofits get the best fit– without wasting time and money!

You can bet that we

  • Are not trying to sell you a technology solution.
  • Respect your budget and your organizational culture.
  • Find the best fit for you, even if it’s free or can be done internally by your staff.
  • Know how to get reports out of systems that are totally unique.
  • Care as much as you do about saving you time and energy messing with data.

You Got This Sign

Inciter’s Impact Blueprint

There are three steps we use to create your Impact Blueprint, and make your data project 100% successful, so you can get the effortless and accurate reports you need (and no longer work on weekends).

1. Examine Your Organization and Your Data

We will interview key people in your organization, look at all your data, and create a clear plan on how to move forward. You will be 100% confident in the information you have on your donors.

  • Identify where all your data is, no matter who is using it.
  • Develop clear priorities on what data is the most important to growing your donor base.
  • Create a vision for what’s possible in your nonprofit with the data you have.

2. Identify Your Data Integration and Automation Options

We will help you understand how you can combine information on donors from different systems so you can answer your most important questions about moves management, donor experience, and campaign performance using ALL the information you collect.

  • Identify key fields for mapping data from one location to another.
  • Know how to update your data structure to create more opportunities for integration and insight.
  • Get rid of siloed data.

3. Create Your Plan

Don’t spend any more time wrangling excel spreadsheets and updating reports. We will identify what can be done automatically with the right technology. This means no more cleaning data by hand - let machine learning do the work for you. Your reports will be updated regularly, with only a few minutes of your time, ensuring you have more time to focus on cultivating donors. We will identify exactly what you need to:

  • Target the data you need to grow your donor base and your revenue.
  • Create a clear idea of how to bring your data together and get exactly the reports you need.
  • Lay out what you need to do, and what it will take, over the next 12 months to have effortless and accurate reports.

In this powerful two-week session, you will discover that you have had the keys to unlock enormous time savings and rapidly grow your revenue all along. You will finally see how to link your multiple systems and deliver the exact information your fundraising team needs – and fast. When you complete this intensive, you will have a clear blueprint that you can share with others in your organization to get clear and accurate quotes from vendors, or to give to your internal staff for an in-house build. The Impact Blueprint will ensure that you get the right solution, built the right way, for the right price. And on time, even!

Invest in the Success of Your Technology Project

A technology project that goes south is always costly. Your entire budget can be blown on something that doesn’t meet your needs at all, to say nothing of the cost of your staff time. Even a moderately successful project often involves unexpected costs for additional features, the inclusion of more data, or reporting features you didn’t think you needed. We know of one nonprofit that spent $3 million on a data system only to retire it two years later, because they didn’t create a Blueprint beforehand.

According to a recent study published by TechImpact, 48% of respondents completed a technology project in three months. So you don’t have a ton of time to do this. Fortunately, we can do a full Impact Blueprint for you in only two weeks.

Don’t wade into another risky technology project without the Impact Blueprint. Get it right the first time and be certain of what your results will be.

This powerful tool is only $4,000. A fraction of the cost of a mid- to large-scale data project. For any projects expected to cost more than $20k, it will pay for itself in cost savings and risk reduction.

Schedule a free consultation with us today, and let us tackle your data. We will make it work for you, for your donors, and your mission.