Microsoft Power BI for Nonprofits: How To Make The Most of Your Data


Power BI in nonprofits

Businesses are adopting a data-centric culture, which integrates data from various sources to make quick and informed decisions. Scores of data points on consumer demographics, campaigns, transaction preferences, sales, and other critical KPIs are being collected to stay competitive in a digital-first society.  

For non-profits, the greater challenge is to combine all the structured and unstructured data that is currently captured and housed in silos, which has prevented organizations from gaining the necessary insights and making decisions that will help them develop.  

And this is where Microsoft Power BI proves to be helpful for non-profits. 

Microsoft Power BI can prove to be helpful for Nonprofit organizations to organize, manage, and analyze data from many sources. It collects and processes data before turning it into clear insights in the form of an aesthetically appealing chart or graph.  

In this article of our blog series, we are going to discuss the data challenges faced by non-profits and the solutions offered by business intelligence technology as well as talk about Microsoft Power BI’s functionalities and how the tool can be helpful for non-profits.  

Data Unification Challenges Faced by Nonprofit Organizations 

Numerous software solutions, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), email marketing tools, and others, are required for effective data management in businesses. These systems capture data in separate silos with varying degrees of authentication as well as permission. Data management difficulties are developing at an exponential rate around the world, as the volume and variety of company data doubles every year. Businesses of all sizes and scopes are facing a range of issues as they attempt to make sense of these ever-expanding data streams. 

In many cases, the problems begin with a lack of expertise, a lack of the correct software platform, a shortage of competent resources, and a lack of funding. Standardizing data into a consolidated source and guaranteeing accuracy and consistency across systems complicates unification efforts even further. Although data integration has many advantages across businesses, it also has several significant drawbacks, such as:   

  • It takes a lot of time to import, process, and combine raw data. 
  • Data extraction  
  • Ensure that it is universally usable 
  • Information flow and storytelling 
  • Data analysis and evaluation 
  • For predictive analysis, finding the correct algorithms and data inputs is crucial. 
  • Analysing the forecasts 
  • Ascertaining that visual forecasting methods do not deceive audiences   

Power BI for nonprofit infographic

How Does Business Intelligence Help With Data Unification? 

What is the best way to bring people and processes together for real-time decision-making? 

With business intelligence! 

Business Intelligence technology and capability transform data into actionable insights. Let’s see how it works.  

You can use BI tools to do things like: 

  • Data preparation: To collect data from a variety of sources and put it into a format that may be used for further research. 
  • Data querying: To respond to data-specific queries, it is the process of extracting answers from compartmentalized datasets. 
  • Data visualization: The process of creating graphical representations of analysis to make it easier to grasp. 
  • KPI reports: Using historical data to compare current measures and share the results with important decision-makers.  
  • Machine learning: Machine learning and statistical models are used to discover patterns in large datasets. 

These technologies have evolved into the basis of modern enterprises, allowing them to plan, accomplish, and measure their objectives. 

They strive to make data analysis as quick, painless, and efficient as possible. They’re great for keeping track of goals with easy-to-understand graphs. 

Finally, if your company is failing to fulfill a certain measure, BI tools can help you identify issue areas early on and find remedies more quickly. 

While every sector is paying millions of dollars to improve its ability to compile, clean, and analyze data- using BI tools on the other hand help merchants capture opportunities, avoid dangers, and streamline fulfillment operations on a worldwide scale when used effectively.  

In this regard Microsoft’s offering- the Power BI with its extensive reporting capabilities, enables users to combine data from various sources and quickly derive insights from a collection of unrelated data. It’s an easy-to-use tool, and much of the learning takes place while you’re using it. 

So let us move ahead to understand more about Microsoft Power BI.  

What is Power BI? 

According to MicrosoftPower BI is a collection of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Your data may be an Excel spreadsheet or a collection of cloud-based and on-premises hybrid data warehouses.”  

In other words, Power BI is a free set of analytics tools from Microsoft that allows businesses to create engaging dashboards, gain 360-degree insight into organizational objectives, arrange dynamic reports, and make better data-driven decisions. Microsoft Power BI provides a robust reporting capability that allows users to combine numerous data sources and quickly extract insights from a diverse set of data. It is an easy-to-use tool, and much of the learning takes place while you are using it.  

Through the Power BI gateway, Microsoft Power BI connects to over 50 apps and on-premises data warehouses. No data transmission is required because Power BI may be integrated into your app or rest over your data using SQL Server Analysis Services. Power BI is available as a desktop application, a cloud-based Power BI Service, and a mobile app called Power BI Mobile.  

You cannot disregard Power BI as part of your transformation strategy if you are already leveraging Microsoft products or considering switching.  

Features and Benefits of Microsoft Power BI 

Local databases, cloud-based databases, big data databases, basic Excel files, and other hybrid sources are all used by Power BI to import data. It is available in both on-premises and cloud deployments. As a result, among several BI solutions, Microsoft Power BI is a forerunner. It has proven to be a useful and user-friendly data analysis tool, allowing users to aggregate data from several sources, create dynamic dashboards, review data, generate smart reports, and share them with others.  

Let us look at the features and benefits offered by this tool. 

Attractive Data Visualizations 

You can make reports and dashboards with as few or as many visuals as you wish to describe your data set. A library for custom visualizations is also provided.   

Data Source 

Power BI users can choose from a variety of data sources using the Get Data function. 

 Dataset Filtration 

A dataset is a single set of data formed by combining data from many sources. A dataset might be made up of data from a sole source, such as an Excel worksheet, or from multiple sources. 

Dashboards that can be personalized 

Dashboards are visual representations of data that provide useful information or insights.   

Flexible Tiles 

To provide a sharper picture, tiles correctly separate each informative visualization. The size of these tiles can be altered as well. They can also be placed wherever users choose on the dashboard.   

Data Analysis Function 

The analysis functions are pre-programmed codes that execute analytics-specific operations on data. 

It is Affordable! 

Power BI is economical for small and mid-sized enterprises when compared to comparable business intelligence and analytics applications. It also comes in a variety of forms, allowing you to choose the ideal one for your company.   

Seamless Excel Integrations 

When it comes to analytics and reporting, many firms still rely on Excel. Excel and Power BI work together effortlessly. You may configure it so that when you open your dashboard, you see the correct data right away.  

How Does the Power BI Work? 

Power BI connects to your preferred data source, allowing you to query the data and then create graphics to display on a report. A report is made up of numerous graphs, resulting in a report with many pages. A dashboard is an interactive version of a report page for end consumers. Dashboards can be emailed to particular users and have different privacy options. 

Data may be transferred to Excel to be further edited, and visualizations can be integrated immediately into PowerPoint because Power BI is a Microsoft product. Quick Insight is a feature of Power BI that runs an analysis on a selection of data to identify insights for the user and generates reports exhibiting the results.  

Power BI usability 

To properly utilize Power BI’s rich reporting capabilities, you will need an expert skill set. It is a strong tool for large enterprises with various data sources, particularly those with their own data warehouse. All three Power BI channels can access reports, with Power BI Service and Power BI Mobile being the most user-friendly. 

The tool allows users to interact with reports by entering a query about their data and having Power BI create a visual answer based on the chart titles, column names, and calculated fields in the underlying data set. Featured questions can also be added to a data collection by a Power BI administrator to recommend to peers.  

How Power BI Can Help You Optimize Data For Your Non-profit? 

Power BI is one of Microsoft’s products that help non-profit organizations achieve their goals and make a bigger impact through digital transformation by offering practical advice. 

As already stated above, this tool offers users the ability to combine a wide range of data sources and quickly extract insights. It enables you to make the most of your data while helping you with real-time business decisions by understanding complex data through visualized reports and interactive tools. 

Here is how-   

Interactive Dashboards 

Non-profit organizations frequently use different data platforms, and they also frequently lack the knowledge necessary to understand the data. Most of them are utilizing unstable revenue strategies. Therefore, it is possible that most of them are unable to distinguish between an analytical structure and a transactional one. 

Nonprofits require an effortless way to display enormous amounts of data and identify crucial trends to optimize impact, which is a problem in addition to the challenge of merging different information. 

With Power BI’s many reporting options users may easily develop well-designed interactive dashboards. It can also link to a variety of data sources and assist you in building strong data models with SQL Server, Excel spreadsheets, Amazon Redshift, etc. These dashboards can then be enhanced with thorough data from other applications used throughout the enterprise.   

Templates 

Microsoft has created a Power BI Grants Management Template that combines donor information from Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Excel, and other sources and visually displays it as a dashboard in Power BI. This enables charitable organizations to investigate this data in one location, assisting them in identifying their regular donors as well as any changes or declines in support.   

Data Management 

Nonprofits are given the tools they need by Power BI to collect data from various sources and show it on a unified platform. facilitating easy data administration. Excel spreadsheets, on-premises data sources, SQL databases, and cloud services like Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce can all be used to gather data, which can then be displayed on a visually appealing dashboard for everyone to see.   

Power BI Q & A 

The Power BI Q&A tool, which lets users ask questions about the data and instantly receive the right answer in the shape of an interactive chart or graph, is now one of the most talked-about Power BI features.   

Cloud-hosted  

You can access your data and visualizations with Power BI from any location, at any time, and on any device because it is hosted in the cloud. It is straightforward to share and work together in real-time on documents inside Power BI with team members. Your volunteers can see the dashboards of the schedules or hours contributed while they are on the go, eliminating the need for them to return to the office.   

Data-oriented Insights 

With Power BI’s straightforward drag-and-drop user interface, gathering insights from your data is easy. When time and resources are limited, you can help locate the insights you need, visualize them in stunning interactive reports, and use this information to make decisions that will affect your goal. 

Overall, Microsoft Power BI application offers intriguing potential for any corporation with a desire to get involved in business analytics.  

Final Verdict  

Power BI is a popular business intelligence and analytics tool used by firms such as Amazon, Adobe, Rolls-Royce, and others. The tool gives everyone in the company the ability to explore, analyze, share, and visualize business data and democratize insights with its user-friendly drag-and-drop capability. 

Power BI has the potential to totally revolutionize how a non-profit is run, in addition to helping you understand complex data with visualized reports and interactive tools that allow you to make real-time decisions that benefit your business. It not only increases the productivity of your staff but also gives you the ability to anticipate your contributors’ behavior and win their enduring devotion.    

So, if you want to leverage the many tools and services of Power BI, contact our experts at Webuters today!