Connected Insights Blog:

Connecting Information to Insight

The Redundancy Frustration

One of our clients has a horrible redundancy problem.

It’s not their fault. This organization is a multi-service non-profit. They provide programs for everything from expectant mothers to adult literacy to early childhood education. The funding for this wide array of services comes from several different places, and every foundation or grant program has their own requirements for how our client need to report their successes.

It takes practically one full-time position just to keep up with entering the correct reports for each foundation. And often it’s the exact same information, just phrased or packaged differently. Everybody has a different system, a different portal, a different way of looking at success.

This client came to us because they wanted a comprehensive data collection and evaluation strategy. But if every funder they answer to requires different reporting metrics, and for someone to go in and individually enter each different metric in their own particular portal, how can we create a system that streamlines that process, gives our client that valuable time back, and still gives the funders what they want?

We’re still figuring it, but as we dig deeper into the non-profit world outside just digital inclusion, it becomes obvious that for both funders and the organizations that need them, this system is inefficient and clunky. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have one portal, used by many different organizations, that streamlines this process? Or at the very least, aligned metrics? Think of it like an email list. Our client has a bunch of information it wants to give its various funders, but instead of writing one email and sending it to everyone, they have to write out 100 different emails. If it’s this frustrating to us after only a month, we can only imagine how frustrating it must be for our client.

One of the beautiful things about a digital world is that it gives us the opportunity to make communication easier. But if funders really want their money to go to the best use in the community, they should join us all in a conversation about how they can align their own metric needs to make things easier on the nonprofits they so generously support.

Bridget Callahan