Do NGO’s Really Need Business Intelligence?

Do NGO's Really Need Business Intelligence?

Do NGO’s Really Need Business Intelligence?

The short answer to the long question whether NGOs and Non-Profits really need Business Solutions and analytical tools is ‘yes’. 

According to NGODotOrg, an NGO is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level. It is task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest and perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions. They bring citizen concerns to Governments, advocate and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, environment or health and provide analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreements.


Enterprise Reporting: The challenge for many organizations is not that they don’t have data, but rather that they can’t get to the data that they need when they need it. Data is in several repositories across multiple applications and getting one “source of truth” takes a herculean manual effort. Rather than sift through various data silos, organizations can use enterprise reporting tools to consolidate multiple data sources into a single data model and get a global view of operations.

Budgeting and Forecasting: Analytics tools can help NGO’s eliminate the challenge of managing the budgeting, planning and forecasting processes through dozens of unsynchronized spreadsheets. Instead, they centralize the data and simplify collaboration, enabling sophisticated “what-if” modeling to enable complex planning and analysis.

Fundraising and Targeted Outreach: Fundraising is the lifeblood of NGO’s, so it needs to be handled carefully. If an organization invests too few resources into fundraising, it faces budget shortfalls. Organizations need to work smarter and target outreach efforts and campaigns to those most likely to donate. Predictive analytics can identify with a high degree of accuracy which prospects are most likely to give. Leveraging such tools can help organizations prioritize high-touch personal outreach and reduce overall marketing and outreach expenses to maximize returns.

Regulatory Compliance: IATI Standards: NGO’s are bound by regulations governing the types of data they collect, how they use it and what to report. Business intelligence can help organizations gather, organize and analyze data; compile reports; and comply with requirements.  The Regulations include:

  1. Timely: They should ensure that they are up-to-date with the activities taking place, they are updated frequently and maintain historical data in terms of transactions.
  2. Comprehensive: Records represent a significant proportion of their activities, cover as many of the relevant fields outlined in the IATI standard as possible and represent viable units of transactional aggregation.
  3. Forward-looking: They should include indicative forward-looking budgets that enables effective planning by their various aid activity partners.
  4. Structured: The IATA standard defines specific data structures in terms of format, schema validation and rules. Records should be formatted correctly as well-formed XML as the chosen technical markup language standard rulesets that enable additional logic.
  5. Comparable: They should include the determined organization identifiers; reference similar data published by related stakeholders and maintain determined code lists that enable uniformity.
  6. Open: They should ensure that they are under a relevant open license, they are accessible as “open data” and can be accessed through the IATI registry to enable ease of access.


There are various BI tools that NGO’s can exploit in order to improve efficiency, compliance and accountability. These tools include Data Mart/Data Warehousing, Reporting, Charts, Graphs & Mapping, Dashboards, Analytics. To efficiently exploit these tools an NGO should check if they:

  1. Need to access relevant business data efficiently
  2. Need to integrate data from multiple business applications or data sources into one window or dashboard
  3. Don’t have visibility into the company’s operations, finances and other areas
  4. Need to increase the number of users needing to access information and their analytical capabilities
  5. Need to rapidly grow or raise funds
  6. Need to launch of new products across markets and demographics
  7. Need to conduct frequent upgrades within the IT environment

If any of the above is a yes, then you are definitely looking for a Business Intelligence Implementation.

Allow Pathways International to partner with you in implementing the right BI solution.

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