Monday, November 10, 2014

Do you have the dashboard you deserve?

One of the beauties of sophisticated fundraising software like ClearView CRM is the ability to provide meaningful, usable dashboards. But are you getting the dashboard you deserve? That is, does your dashboard offer you at-a-glance information that actually 1. lets you know if you're on target to meet your goals today, and/or 2. helps you set goals for tomorrow?

ClearView CRM reporting dashboard

First, let's say what dashboards that might achieve one or both of those objectives are not. Dashboards are not portals. If your screen simply shows a group of applications in panels, you're not looking at a dashboard.

Dashboards, at their best, are virtual treasure troves of charts, reports, visual indicators and alerts arranged on one screen in a way that makes sense to you.

They give real-time information that can alert you to operational issues like the quality of information in your database or help you understand how your annual campaign is progressing against last year's results. At the heart of the best dashboard is strategic thinking about, among other issues, the overall goal of the dashboard, who will use it, what its panels should reveal and which data sources you need to tap to get the right information at the right time. 

Many ClearView CRM users are building custom dashboards for their organizations that show precisely the kinds of information they need to stay on top of their key performance indicators (KPIs) and long-term trends. One client has created dashboards for executives, chapters and donor services, each of which accomplishes different goals. The executive dashboard, for instance, features panels on fiscal year gift comparisons, donor count breakdowns and trends, membership alerts and other topics.

As all dashboard panels should be, these panels are interactive. Users can drill down into the data in panels to get at underlying detail immediately, or take action immediately, without leaving the dashboard.
ClearView CRM drilldown reports

The key to creating a dashboard--a dynamic, relevant work tool--instead of a portal ultimately comes down to your ability to distinguish among useful and productive data and interesting, but non-essential information. If you take the time to get the goals and strategy right ahead of time, you're well on your way to the fundraising dashboard you deserve.

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