Analytics Dashboards: Which tool is Right For Your Nonprofit? 

Analytics

There are a lot of different analytics dashboards out there, so it can be tough to know which one is right for your nonprofit. To help you decide, here are four things to look for in an analytics dashboard: 

1. Ease of use: The best dashboards are easy to use, even for those who don’t have a lot of experience with data. Look for a dashboard that doesn’t require any technical knowledge to set up and that comes with clear instructions on how to use it.

2. Flexibility: The best dashboards are flexible enough to track the metrics that are most important to your nonprofit. Make sure the dashboard you choose can be customized to track the specific data points you want to track.

3. Integration: The best dashboards can be easily integrated with other software applications your nonprofit uses, such as your CRM or email marketing platform. This way, you can see all of your data in one place and make better-informed decisions about where to allocate resources.

4. Reporting: The best dashboards come with built-in reporting features that make it easy to see how your nonprofit is performing over time. Look for a dashboard that allows you to generate reports on a regular basis so you can track progress and identify areas where improvement is needed.

Looker Pro

Website: Looker.comGoogle Cloud Rebrands Data Studio As “Looker Studio”
What is it? Looker is a data dashboarding tool that allows users to create, explore, and visualize data. It offers features such as filters, drill-downs, and customizations. Looker is a good option for nonprofits that have medium to large amounts of data and need to be able to visualize it in different ways.

Integrations: All major data sources – Learn about the Looker Platform. No official nonprofit pricing as of Q4 2022. 

Price:  Depends on usage, is not free – Pricing & Value of Looker’s Advanced BI Platform 

About Company: Founded in 2012, Google acquired in 2019 for $2.6bn and has included in Google Cloud Platform. In October of 2022, Google is merging Data Studio into Looker. 

Good For:

  • Good option for nonprofits that have medium to large amounts of data and need to be able to visualize it in different ways
  • Allows users to create, explore, and visualize data
  • Offers filters, drill-downs, and customizations

Data Studio (Rebrand: Looker Studio 2022)

Website: https://datastudio.google.com/  – Google Cloud Rebrands Data Studio As “Looker Studio”  

What is it? Data Studio is a free data dashboarding tool from Google. Data Studio offers many of the same features as Looker and Tableau, but it has some limitations in terms of functionality. Data Studio is a good option for nonprofits that are on a tight budget and need a basic tool for visualizing their data.

Integrations: All major sources including all connections of Looker.

About Company: Created by Google started out as part of the enterprise Google Analytics 360 suite. In May 2016, Google announced a free version of data studio. In October 2022  “Looker is the name you’ll hear us use when talking about all of our Google Cloud business intelligence products, as we bring together Looker, Data Studio, and core Google technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Kate Wright, Google’s Senior Director for Business Intelligence Product Management. 

Price: Free for base usage. Free for nonprofits.

Good For:

  • Good option for nonprofits that are on a tight budget and need a basic tool for visualizing their data  
  • Free data dashboarding tool from Google
  • Offers many of the same features as Looker and Tableau but has some limitations in terms of functionality

Tableau

Website: Tableau.com

What is it? Tableau is another data dashboarding tool that offers similar features to Looker. Tableau is a good option for nonprofits that need to be able to interact with their data in real-time and want more control over how their data is displayed. Tableau is a part of the Salesforce software network and may be the right solution if your nonprofit is looking to integrate tightly with this type of CRM data: Salesforce and Tableau Integration: Get more Sales from your Data

Integrations:  All major data sources – explore here – Flexible connectivity, integration, and extensibility

Price: Depends on usage, starts at $70 – Tableau Pricing for Teams & Organizations. Nonprofit discounts available: Tableau for non-profits
About Company: Founded in 2003, Tableau was bought by Salesforce in 2019 for $15.7bn.?
Good for:

  • Offers similar features to Looker
  • Good option for nonprofits that need to be able to interact with their data in real-time and want more control over how their data is displayed

Power BI

Website: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/

What is it? Power BI is a data dashboarding tool from Microsoft. Power BI offers many of the same features as Looker and Tableau, but it has some additional features such as predictive analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities. Power BI is a good option for nonprofits that want to use advanced features to analyze their data.

Price: Starts at $9.99 – Pricing & Product Comparison | Microsoft Power BI . Nonprofit pricing is available – Power BI for Nonprofits

About Company: Microsoft software was launched in 2014. Microsoft Power BI – Wikipedia 

Good For

  • Good option for nonprofits that want to use advanced features to analyze their data
  • Data dashboarding tool from Microsoft 
  • Offers many of the same features as Looker and Tableau but has some additional features such as predictive analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities 

Amplitude

Website: https://amplitude.com/   

What is it? Amplitude is a data dashboarding tool that allows users to track, measure, and analyze their data. Amplitude offers features such as customizable dashboards, reports, and integrations. Amplitude is a good option for nonprofits that need to track a lot of data and want to be able to customize their dashboards and reports.

Integrations: Salesforce, Google Analytics, Segment, Mixpanel – Data & Marketing Integrations | Amplitude 

Price: Depends on usage, has a free option.  

About Company: Founded in 2012 as Sonalight, they were taken public in 2021 with a market cap of $7.1bn.  Amplitude (company) – Wikipedia 

Good For:

  • Nonprofits that need to track a lot of data
  •  those who want to customize their dashboards and reports  
  • Offers features such as customizable dashboards, reports, and integrations

Mixpanel

Website: https://mixpanel.com/  

What is it? Mixpanel is an analytics platform that offers a range of features, including data visualization, event tracking, and cohort analysis. Mixpanel is a good option for nonprofits that need to track detailed user interactions and need advanced features such as event tracking and cohort analysis.

Integrations: Connects to all major data sources including Salesforce, MySQL, Postgres, Amazon Redshift, – Interactive Event Analytics From Your Data Lake

Price: Has a free level up to 100k tracked users. Mixpanel Pricing | A Plan for Every Product – Note: There is a special nonprofit pricing available but you need to contact them directly to get pricing information. 

About Company: Founded in 2009, based in San Francisco, Mixpanel’s most recent funding round happened in November 2021, raised a Series C round, a $200 million investment on a $1.05 bn valuation from Bain Capital Tech Opportunities.. Mixpanel – Wikipedia.  

Good For:

  • Nonprofits that need to track detailed user interactions
  • Need advanced features such as event tracking and cohort analysis

Dashboard Terms to Know

When it comes to your nonprofit’s analytics, there are a lot of technical terms that get thrown around. It can be difficult to keep track of all of them, let alone understand what they mean. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of some common Dashboard terms and their definitions.

Business Intelligence (BI): Business intelligence is a process for transforming data into insights that can inform and guide business decisions.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI): A key performance indicator is a metric that organizations use to track and measure progress towards their goals.

API: An application programming interface (API) is a set of rules and protocols that developers can use to access data and functionality from an external system.

Data Set: A data set is a collection of data that can be used for analysis.

Dataset Filters: Dataset filters are used to restrict the data that is included in a dataset.

Dimensions: Dimensions are characteristics of data that can be used to categorize and organize it.

Metrics: Metrics are measures of something. They can be used to track progress or performance.

Reach: Reach is the number of people who see your content.

Engagement: Engagement is the level of interaction that people have with your content.

Impressions: Impressions are the number of times your content is seen.

Clicks: Clicks are the number of times people click on your content.


Qualitative data: data that cannot be measured, such as opinions or thoughts. 

Quantitative data: data that can be measured, such as numbers or days.

GIGO: “GIGO” is a term used to describe the idea that “garbage in, garbage out” – in other words, if the data that you’re using is of poor quality, then the results of your analysis will also be of poor quality.

Data Visualization: A data visualization is a graphical representation of data. Data visualizations can help people to understand data sets more easily by providing a way to see patterns and trends.

5 V’s of Big Data

  1. Data volume refers to the amount of data that you have.
  2. Data value refers to the worth or usefulness of the data.
  3. Data variety refers to the different types of data that you have.
  4. Data velocity refers to how quickly the data is generated or changes.
  5. Data veracity refers to the accuracy or trustworthiness of the data.

10 Reasons why nonprofits should invest in an analytics dashboard

  1. Data dashboards can help nonprofits track progress and see where they need to make changes.
  2. Can be used to communicate transparency to donors and funders.
  3. Dashboards can be used to improve and speed up reporting to foundations.
  4. Data dashboards can help nonprofits track their fundraising progress and see which campaigns are most successful.
  5. Data dashboards can help nonprofits track their programmatic outcomes and see which programs are most effective.
  6. Data dashboards can help nonprofits track ROI of their advertising investments.
  7. Data dashboards can help nonprofits compare their performance to other organizations in their field.
  8. Data dashboards can help nonprofits make data-driven decisions about where to allocate resources.
  9. Data dashboards can help nonprofits identify trends and patterns in their data over time.
  10. Data dashboards can help nonprofit leaders gain a better understanding of their organization as a whole