Make data-driven decisions

The Benefits of Using a Business Intelligence Tool at Your Nonprofit

We’ve often found that nonprofits shy away from the term “business intelligence” (BI)—it might sound too corporate, too callous, too money-focused, and certainly contrary to the highly important mission-driven work of nonprofits. However, nonprofits are businesses, and BI is essential to run effective fundraising campaigns that allow nonprofits to do the necessary work for our society.

Because of a vast amount of data and a lack of resources, fundraisers are often left to gain business intelligence through a highly manual process of collecting, organizing, analyzing, and presenting data via Excel spreadsheets or clunky reports. That’s where a BI tool comes in. 

A BI tool will do this work for you, and turn your data into beautiful charts and graphs that will give you insights in just a glance.

importance of bi tool image-min.JPG

A business intelligence tool is important because:

  • You’ll Make Better Decisions – Using data visualizations, you will be able to easily spot trends in your data, leading to better strategic insights. Most BI tools will also allow you to drill down in the data to discover the root cause of the trend. And, without the manual effort involved in creating data visualizations (which allows for human error), you can be confident that the data is accurate.
  • You’ll Save Time - A BI tool can eliminate much of this time spent translating data into something legible. With a BI tool, you can see up-to-date data at a glance, without having to manually compile data or build new charts. The right data is all in front of you presented in visualizations and dashboards that are easy to consume.
  • You’ll Act Quickly – A BI tool allows fundraising teams to access same-day data on campaigns. If the data must be tracked manually, there’s a good chance that it will be too late to revise strategy and act by the time the data is compiled. By being able to see the data as it’s collected, fundraising teams can make immediate adjustments to achieve or even exceed their goals.

By using a business intelligence tool, you can get quick access to insights and make better strategic decisions without wasting the time normally required to build reports and visualizations.


If your nonprofit uses The Raiser’s Edge™, Gateway’s Galaxy®, or SiriuswareSM, we recommend using Answers, JCA’s business intelligence tool.

JCA Answers houses all your data in a data warehouse and helps you make sense of it through beautiful data visualizations. With this platform, you can create customizable dashboards that give you quick overviews of the most important data sets, and you’ll also have the ability to drill down to see the nitty-gritty details of the data behind those dashboards.

Using Answers also gives you access to our JCA team which is dedicated to ensuring that your data is accurate and well structured, so you can trust that the data behind your insights is solid. An added bonus—in Answers you’ll have access to fundraising data trends that JCA has collected in its thirty years of experience working in nonprofit technology.

Looking for more nonprofit data insights? Download the Fundraiser's Guide to Data Analysis.

Download the eBook