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Navigating the World of Reporting in Nonprofit Cloud

In this article, we explore reporting functionality in Salesforce's Nonprofit Cloud that will empower nonprofits to measure impact, build trust, and more.

Here's a quick synopsis of Nonprofit Cloud's reporting suite:

  • Outcome and impact reporting capability covers program participation, service assessments, surveys and feedback, and events.
  • Government and financial reporting features to build annual reports and meet state reporting compliance.
  • Grant reporting metrics such as membership status, filled and unfilled commitments, and public visibility reporting.

If you're part of a small to mid-sized nonprofit in the United States, you understand the unique challenges and opportunities that come with your mission. Whether you're dedicated to providing vital human services, healthcare, or education, the impact you make is immeasurable. And yet, you want and need to have some measurements of your success. How do you effectively measure, report, and navigate the complexities of nonprofit reporting while staying true to your goals?

Reporting Types

For general nonprofit needs, we divide reporting types into three main categories based on the larger purpose they serve: outcome and impact reporting; government and financial reporting; and grant and public relations reporting. 

Outcome Measurement & Impact Reporting

Impact reporting makes visible to your stakeholders the contributions and outcomes of your efforts from the year. Knowing how to measure and communicate the real-world changes your organization brings to individuals and communities is imperative, as is understanding the power of showcasing the tangible results of your programs and initiatives. 

With Salesforce’s Nonprofit Cloud, the following outcome measurement and impact reporting capabilities are available to you: 

  • Program reporting to measure participation, attendance, client progress, assessment, and service reporting.
  • Surveys and feedback reports from clients, volunteers, or donors to improve services, goals, and relationships.
  • Event reports for fundraising events, community outreach initiatives, or webinar participation to measure impact.

Government & Financial Reporting

Governmental and financial reporting are necessary for various compliance and business needs. Therefore, maintaining transparent and accurate financial records, ensures the business health and compliance of your nonprofit. Nonprofit Cloud provides two key reports to aid you in this area: 

  • Annual reports to measure achievements, outcomes, and impact for stakeholders, fundraising, donors, volunteers, and participants.
  • State reporting for client outcomes.

Grant Reporting & Public Relations

We know from working with our client base that many nonprofits rely on grants as a part of either their fundraising or service delivery. Grants are a critical aspect of securing funding and maintaining grantor relationships. 

With Nonprofit Cloud, your team can create reports that display the following grant and public relation metrics: 

  • Donor acknowledgments and mailing lists
  • Membership status, levels, and fees
  • Unfulfilled commitments
  • Changes in giving over time
  • Designated vs. unrestricted contributions
  • Newsletter impact and public visibility reporting

Why Reporting Matters

In this section, we'll explore the compelling reasons behind seeking grants and ensuring compliance. 

Grant seeking has many benefits. It demonstrates impact, enhances accountability, and aligns your data with funder priorities. Throughout the process of seeking and applying for grants, it promots progress tracking of outcomes and also builds long term relationships on trust and transparency.

Grant compliance, while required, is also valuable to your organization. It boosts the organization’s reputation, aids with securing future funding, and prevents program disruption and wasted time to obtain the required data.

By providing your board with accurate information via board reporting, you empower them to make informed decisions and become advocates for your cause.

Likewise, public relations reporting allows your team to better identify and understand opportunities for maintaining a positive public image. With effective reporting and communication, you will continue to attract donors, volunteers, and partnerships.

Overcoming Resource Restraints

Small and mid-sized nonprofits often grapple with limited resources when it comes to meeting their reporting requirements. From financial constraints to staff shortages, the challenges are real. Here are three steps to overcome those obstacles. 

  1. Let Technology Work For You: Embrace affordable reporting tools to simplify data management and analysis. Tech can be your ally.
  2. Collaborate with Experts: Connect with seasoned partners, like Nimbus Tech, for expert guidance and support. Together, we'll elevate your reporting game and drive your mission forward.
  3. Automate for Efficiency: Streamline reporting processes through automation, saving time on generating and translating reports, and redirecting that time and impact back to your mission.

How to Ensure Privacy, Security, and Compliance in Reporting

In the world of nonprofit reporting, privacy, data security, and legal compliance are not just buzzwords; they're essential components of your organization's success. For small nonprofits, navigating these intricate waters can be daunting, but we're here to guide you. By safeguarding sensitive information and ensuring compliance, your nonprofit can build trust and maintain strong donor and client relationships—one report at a time. To begin, your organization should address these questions:

  1. How are we currently handling donor and participant data? Start by assessing your current data management practices. Understand where and how donor and participant data are collected, stored, and used within your organization.
  2. Are our systems capable of complying with data protection laws and regulations? Find a trusted tool that can offer you peace of mind.
  3. What steps can we take to enhance data privacy and compliance? Explore strategies to improve data privacy, security, and legal compliance within your nonprofit. Consider implementing policies, staff training, and technology solutions.

Address these questions by conducting an audit of the information that your organization captures. Identify what data you collect, where it's stored, who has access, and how it's used. This forms the foundation for an improvement plan.

Once you’ve identified the information and how it needs to be treated across your organization, leverage technology to help you stay up-to-date with data protection laws. This could mean upgrading from open-ended methods such as Excel, pen-and-paper, or outdated databases to regularly maintained platforms like Salesforce’s Nonprofit Cloud.

Based on your audit findings, you finally need to implement your data protection measures. This may include encryption, access controls, regular security assessments, or creating and publishing your data protection policies. Make privacy and compliance a part of your organizational culture.

Bonus: Data Quality

For small nonprofits, data quality is the key to your success. Our last blog post explores two critical approaches to data management: retroactive and proactive.We outline them briefly below, but to learn more, check out the full blog post here

Retroactive Data Management:

  • Simplify state data with Nonprofit Cloud's automatic picklist management.
  • Bridge gaps in incomplete data, ensuring nothing goes missing.
  • Connect program participation, donation history, and more in a single report.
  • Tackle reporting fatigue and focus on your mission.

Proactive Data Management:

  • Ensure data purity with duplicate rules and alerts.
  • Establish data validation rules to prevent inaccuracies at the source.
  • Create reliable references within your database for data integrity.
  • Streamline data entry with automated screens and forms.

Ready to enhance your data quality? Dive into the full blog article for expert insights. Your mission deserves nothing less.

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Ayoola Olapo

Co-Founder & Salesforce Architect

Ayoola Olapo is an 11x certified Application Architect and managing partner of Nimbus Tech, a registered Salesforce partner specializing in helping nonprofits succeed.