NTEN Celebrates National Volunteer Week: Shout out to Community of Practice leaders!

Submitted by Julia Smith on Mon, 04/07/2014 - 9:07am

This week is National Volunteer Week! To recognize the tireless work of volunteers that support the nonprofit sector, we’ll be publishing a blog post every day this week to celebrate their contributions. We're kicking off Monday with a shout out to NTEN’s Community of Practice leaders.

NTEN Lab: Data-Informed Nonprofits (Los Angeles, CA)

After the recent debut of our NTEN Lab: Data-Informed Nonprofits series, we're bringing this deep day dive to Los Angeles on May 7! Learn more »

Dataviz! Tips, Tools, and How-Tos for Visualizing Your Data

Submitted on Wed, 3/5/2014 - 11:53am
Memos and metrics, emails and texts, newsletters and reports: is your nonprofit suffering from information overload? We consume 34 gigabytes, or 100,500 words, of information every day. Our brains are overwhelmed and struggling to keep up. Data visualization—or dataviz—is one of your nonprofit’s strongest weapons against information overload.

New Report! Collected Voices: Data-Informed Nonprofits

Submitted by Amy on Sat, 02/01/2014 - 11:01am

In 2013, Microsot and NTEN supported 18 different nonprofit leaders in exploring data projects, trying out new solutions, and discovering opportunities to improve their work through data. After a full year together, we've compiled case studies, lessons learned, and recommendations from these participants to help you and your teams - whether you're looking at impact evaluation, measurement dashboards, or collecting the right data to start with. Download the collection today!

The Secret to Mastering our Growing Digital Landscape

Submitted on Thu, 1/9/2014 - 12:35pm
It can be easy to get caught up in chasing the next big thing online, but it’s not usually the best fundraising strategy. So, what’s the real secret to mastering a rapidly changing online world of fundraising? It’s one four-letter word: Data.

2013: NTEN Year in Review

Submitted on Tue, 12/17/2013 - 7:39pm
What a year! From new programs to new members, 2013 was a great year. Catch some of the highlights, numbers, and links to be sure you didn't miss anything this year.

The 12th Issue of NTEN: Change is Out - "Outcomes & Impact"

Submitted by Joleen Ong on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 12:30pm

The true test of any nonprofit is to demonstrate impact. But the first test is to set up a way to measure it. Every nonprofit aims to have impact, but few have the systems in place to calculate little more than outputs. The December 2013 issue of NTEN: Change focuses on the topic of Outcomes & Impact, with features that explore internal organizational approaches for both measuring impact and ensuring an impact focus. 

NTEN Lab: Data-Informed Nonprofits (Portland, OR)

Join us for this special in-person event in Portland, Oregon!Every organization has different data to measure, but it is valueless until it’s positioned to help you measure your impact, or inform critical decisions. How can nonprofits make this transformation? Join the NTEN Lab to discover in-person how other nonprofits are achieving this, and how you can make this happen in your own organization. Learn more »

What is "Good Enough" for Data?

Submitted on Mon, 9/30/2013 - 6:54am
We’re not always clear about what we mean when we use the word "data.” Often, we use it in a strictly technical sense. But there’s a larger and more fundamental sense in which the term "data" can be used that places "technical" data in its proper context. In this larger sense of the term, we all use data all the time. Because, fundamentally, data is all relevant information that’s used in the service of making decisions, large or small.

The Cost of Bad Data

Submitted on Wed, 9/25/2013 - 8:31am
Everyone in the fundraising industry knows that fall is the busiest time of the year. Charities are gearing up for campaigns that will drive in a large volume of their year-end donations. Decisions are being made on which packages and audiences will drive the highest results. What these organizations may not be considering is how much bad data could be costing them.

How Can I Love You If You Don’t Know My Name?

Submitted on Fri, 9/20/2013 - 9:15am
When your nonprofit fails to use data to determine how to treat donors, problems creep in. Constituents begin to feel your organization doesn’t know them, and they’re infinitely less likely to respond with support.

Top Things to Consider Before Converting Your Nonprofit's Data into a New System

Submitted on Tue, 9/3/2013 - 6:03am
You might be surprised at how many organizations skip detailed mapping, dismissing it as a nitpicky, administrative task. Data mapping is much more than that. It’s your first opportunity to consider how the new system is going to meet your current and future needs, not just replicate processes from the old system.

Case Study on How Not to Design a Data Driven Experiment

Submitted by Karl on Thu, 08/22/2013 - 8:54am

Are you thinking about making a change to a process you already have in place? Do you want to be able to show that the changes had an effect on the process? There are a few things you should think about before you make the change...

NTEN's Community of Impact Finds Peers Still Struggling to Make Data Impactful

Submitted by Julia Smith on Mon, 06/03/2013 - 1:05pm

A survey conducted earlier this spring reveals a nonprofit sector that's still trying to figure out how to collect, manage, and transform data into something valuable.

A Survey from the Communities of Impact: Data Practices in the Nonprofit Sector

Submitted by Julia Smith on Thu, 04/11/2013 - 6:11am

The NTEN Communities of Impact participants are conducting a survey about how nonprofits use data. Learn more here, or if you can spare a few minutes, go straight to Thank you!

Nonprofits and transparency: Who’s walking the walk?

Submitted by Julia Smith on Tue, 02/26/2013 - 7:33am

As part of the Communities of Impact pilot program, participants are tackling topics like measuring and managing data, and making data-informed decisions. We're looking into these topics ourselves and would love your examples and ideas.

Introducing the 2013 Communities of Impact

Submitted by Julia Smith on Tue, 02/19/2013 - 12:58pm

With support from Microsoft, we recently launched a pilot program that brings together 19 thought leaders who will work together to create solutions around nonprofit data measurement, reporting, and transparency to benefit their organizations and the sector at large.

Tech Across Your Org: Sharing a Cause and Data Across Multiple Orgs

Submitted by Annaliese on Mon, 02/11/2013 - 8:45am

[Editor's note: The following is from the December 2012 issue of NTEN:Change, NTEN's quarterly journal for nonprofit leaders. Read the complete issue on "Collaboration" when you subscribe to the journal for free!]

By Rachel Weidinger, Upwell

Developing a High Touch, Human Platform for Collaboration

At Upwell, we’re inventing a new way to work together. We’re a nonprofit, data-driven social media PR agency with one client, the ocean, and one goal: more people talking about the ocean. It’s our mission to make the ocean more famous online. Competition is real in the marine conservation space. “Blue” orgs get a small fraction of environment funding. With just a year and about $1 million to prove our model, this pilot project (incubated by Ocean Conservancy) had no choice but to invent a new way to collaborate. Taking on this project felt like jumping off a cliff.

Helping You Reach Your 2013 Goals

Submitted by Amy on Thu, 02/07/2013 - 8:17am

We started the year by asking the NTEN community about the technology resolutions and goals for 2013. Today, we are sharing some of those topics and suggestions for getting started today - from social media to the cloud.

Introducing a New NTEN Workbook: Getting Started With Data-Driven Decision Making

Submitted by Annaliese on Mon, 01/28/2013 - 10:21am

Over the last few years, NTEN has been working with nonprofits to understand how to better wrangle all the data they’re creating and what’s available to them into improved results: more mission impact.

But what about the steps an organization has to take before collecting or analyzing the data? How do we determine which data matters in the first place, and how that data will impact the direction of our work?

We are very excited to release a free resource to help nonprofits get started with this important strategic steps:

> Getting Started With Data-Driven Decision Making: A Workbook

With this workbook, we hope to provide nonprofit leaders with a set of worksheets that will help guide thinking and planning around more effective data strategies.

Download the workbook for free.