HARPENDEN, England, March 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Limited time, skills and lack of integration could leave NFPs behind in the Big Data economy, new study reveals
96% of Not-for-Profit (NFP) organisations, including charities and membership bodies, are struggling to manage, decipher and capitalise on the terabytes of data they hold about their members and supporters, according to research published today by Advanced.
The Advanced NFP State of the Nation Data Report shows that nearly all NFP organisations are struggling to effectively collect and analyse valuable data which, as a result, threatens to erode hard-won loyalty. It also reveals that 75% of surveyed NFPs don't have the time, skills or funds to resolve these issues - threatening their long-term success.
Almost all (96%) of respondents say they could make better use of the data they already have with most not having accurate data about organisational effectiveness, marketing effectiveness, service users or projects, their members and/or supporters, employees and even finances.
Data management and storage methodologies vary widely between organisations and many face a daily struggle to report in a consistent and effective way. 87% enter the same data more than once and 80% have difficulty producing reports that require data from different systems. As a result, 78% report conflicting data and 69% have difficulty understanding data or reports from different parts of the organisation.
Simon Fowler, MD of Advanced Business Solutions, comments: "In this highly digitalised, data-centric environment, organisations that can extract behavioural insights from customer data and transform them into 'sticky' services, will be in a stronger position to attract new supporters, as well as engage and retain existing audiences. An inability to manage data to gain a competitive advantage is the single biggest threat facing NFPs right now. They risk trailing behind in this data-driven era."
The report also reveals that the trend of incremental technology investment has left NFPs with a tangled network of disparate systems that are not integrated. 66% report no integration between front and back-office systems, and 60% say they have no overarching CRM/data management plan for the organisation. These factors impact on the way NFP organisations are managed internally, becoming barriers to driving efficiencies.
1. The research was carried out independently by sourceforconsulting.com with over 300 UK NFP organisations
Whilst the majority of respondents understood the importance of resolving these issues, it is clear resources, skills and time are not luxuries NFPs can afford. 81% say they do not have spare capacity to make changes, with 72% already working on other critical projects. Unsurprisingly, many (71%) cite lack of funds as a key barrier but lack of skills and expertise also play a large part (60%).
Fowler continues: "Charities and membership bodies operate within extremely tight and hard-won budgets and are not investing the time and resources to maximise the data they have on their audiences. The threat is that unless they interpret and act on customer data and get to grips with new channels such as social networks, members and supporter numbers will wane. By failing to integrate and streamline back-office processes, there is the additional risk that hard-earned public and member funds are wasted."
Despite the economic challenges, recent statistics published by Halifax show that Britons are digging deep for good causes with 76% donating the same or more to charities now than before the economic downturn began. With this in mind, the challenge for charities is to ensure they are engaged directly with supporters - existing and potential - particularly as new personalised and crowd-funded methods of raising money are rapidly taking hold.
With a wealth of free information at members' fingertips, member-driven organisations face the commercial challenge of providing value-added services to keep their membership engaged. By using data-driven insight to understand what keeps members interested, some organisations are finding they can build 'stickiness' into their membership proposition to demonstrate the value received by supporters from their subscriptions.
SOURCE Advanced Business Solutions