A big part of running a successful non-profit organization hinges on access to the right data. While you had to send field agents to collect data some years ago, the digital revolution has changed everything, and you can now have access to an enormous amount of data without moving a finger, thanks to non-profit digital tools.
Today, there are a lot of digital tools to help you collect and analyze data for your organization. Whether you’re using a few field agents, meeting respondents through an audio or video chat or sending out an online survey form, you will never run out of digital data collection and analysis tools.
However, the existence of a myriad of non-profit digital tools for both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis might give you another headache – finding the right tool for the work. That’s why we’ve got you covered in this post. Through this article, you’ll learn the many digital tools at your disposal for gathering and analyzing data as well as which tool is good for what kind of work.
Through this post, you’ll learn more about:
- Online survey collection tools
- Tools for gathering data through mobile devices
- Data conversion and analysis tools
At the end of this article, you should get yourself a digital tool that does the data gathering and analysis so your team can have time to concentrate on other important projects. Let’s get started.
Tools for collecting data through online surveys
Data collection through online surveys is a great resource for any non-profit looking to gather data from a geographically dispersed audience. Not only are online surveys effective in reaching every corner of the world, but they are also cost-effective and ideal for any organization looking for data without the hurdles of funding collection teams.
In order to collect data through this method, you will need a reliable online survey provider. These providers help you create online surveys and quizzes to help source the right information you need for your respondents. Moreover, online surveys are easy to design, can be shared on your social media platforms and in your emails to volunteers and partners.
Let’s take a look at some of the free and cheap non-profit digital tools for online surveys:
1. Google Forms
Google Forms is one of the best yet free non-profit digital tools for online survey administration. It comes along with your Google drive suite, including sheets, slides, docs, and more. Additionally, you can use Google forms to create surveys and quizzes and collect the information automatically as your correspondents go through the process.
Over the years, Google forms have gone through a lot of updates with new features added from time to time. Among some of the best features include the ability to create shorter URLs, develop your own custom themes, and automatically generate answer suggestions to ease the work of correspondents. Furthermore, it also has an uploading feature that allows correspondents to upload documents. Google forms also move your collected data directly to Google Sheets, which is an easy way to start analyzing the data as quickly as possible. If you want to create great online surveys, Google forms are one of your best non-profit digital tools for the job.
2. Survey Monkey
Survey Monkey has been around since 1999 and knows the ins and outs of the online survey market. The platform not only provides survey building dashboard, but it also has a lot of options to meet every conceivable online survey or quiz you’ll ever think of. As a cloud-based platform, Survey Monkey ensures high security and makes sure your data is always safe.
You can design multilingual surveys, integrate your account with other collaboration apps, and data exports in different formats. It also allows for sharing of collected and analyzed data, so you can collaborate with your team. Survey Monkey is free for basic use, but if you want to get the best out of the platform, you’ll need to go for the paid plans.
3. Microsoft Forms
Formally Office Forms, Microsoft Forms is another great online form and quiz administration tool that comes as part of the Office 365 Suite. Apart from the ability to easily export data to Microsoft Excel for easy analysis, you can also move your data to the Power BI intelligence platform.
There’s no learning curve when using Microsoft Forms as it’s simple, works on any browser, and has a lot of themes to help you build your surveys and quizzes without much hustle.
Other great online survey tools
- Hubspot Free Online Form builder
- LiveForms for WordPress
- Zoho Forms
- 123 Form Builder
Online data collection through mobile devices
Mobile data collection involves the use of mobile phones and tablets to gather data from respondents. The growth in accessibility and use of mobile phones, even in some of the remotest places of the world, makes mobile data collection a great resource for any non-profit looking to gather data from a wide range of respondents. And as it’s always reiterated, ‘the best technology is usually the one you already have, know how to use, can maintain and afford’. Since the mobile phone fits this definition, your best bet to the best data is to leverage your respondents’ mobile devices.
Without wasting time, let’s look at the tools you can leverage to collect data through mobile devices.
DataWinners is a great tool that can gather data from users of any type of mobile device. It helps your non-profit to design and gather data in many formats, including videos, photos, and audio. Apart from giving you the chance to build your own questionnaires and quizzes, DataWinners has a lot of templates to ease the process. Plus, it works online and offline, so you don’t necessarily need an internet connection to gather data.
DoForms is a mobile data gathering tool that your non-profit can use to build questionnaires and quizzes through simple forms. It allows you to collect and organize data from respondents and transmit the information directly to your office.
Designed to meet the needs of non-profits and other humanitarian projects, Ona is a great tool to capture data from respondents’ mobile devices in different formats, including videos, audios, photos, text, signatures, and GPS information. Ona works offline and offers great collaboration offers to help make work easier between you and your entire non-profit team.
iFormBuilder is a great mobile data gathering tool that helps you to build surveys for your respondents. Some of FormBuilder’s great features include security, its ability to work offline, and an easy form building interface. However, FormBuilder only comes with a 30-day free trial, after which, you’ll have to commit $100 a month if you want to continue using it for your mobile data collection.
Other useful mobile data collection tools
- Magpi – great for SMS and interactive voice data collection
- ViewWorld – general mobile data collection
- Fulcrum Mobile Data Collector – good for building custom apps or platforms for field data collection
Why mobile data collection?
The number of people using mobile phones is about 5 Billion and the number is set to increase. This presents a big opportunity for non-profits looking to leverage mobile data collection. If you’re still finding it difficult to grasp the situation, here’s why it’s important to consider using mobile data collection.
- Speed: Mobile data collection allows respondents to transmit data instantly to your organization without delay.
- Improves accuracy: since data is collected directly from the source (the respondents), the degree of error will be highly reduced.
- Convenience and familiarity: both respondents and enumerators are probably mobile phone users, making the whole process convenient to administer.
- Reduced cost: using mobile data collection helps eliminate trips to the field by enumerators, which keeps the cost down.
Data conversion and analysis tools
After gathering data from respondents, the next phase is to put this data in a suitable format for easy analysis and reporting. This is where data conversion and analysis tools come in. These tools help you to make meaning of the questions that your non-profit asked through questionnaires and quizzes. Here are some of the best non-profit digital tools you should be using at this stage.
Looker is a business intelligence and big data analysis platform that allows you to integrate data from different sources, analyze, and deliver the final results in different forms. From interactive dashboards to sharing features, Looker is one of the best non-profit digital tools that you can use to convert and analyze data collected from the field.
2. Microsoft Excel
When used to its fullest, Microsoft Excel is one of the best data analysis tools in the world. Among its many data analysis features are interactive dashboards, great data analysis, and excellent graphical representation.
Tableau is one of the industry leaders when it comes to analyzing data. This tool helps in data conversion and analysis. It provides interactive dashboards, insights, and lets you connect to spreadsheets and Salesforce, as well as many other cloud-based data management systems.
4. Salesforce for Non-profits
The Einstein Analytics is a data analysis and visualization platform designed by Salesforce for non-profits. It’s a great non-profit, cloud-based digital tool for creating queries, analyzing data, and collaborating with volunteers and partners.
Other data conversion and analysis tools
- Mode: business intelligence with integrations such as Python, R., and SQL for power users
- Domo: connect, store, prepare and visualize data
- GoodData: affordable data analysis platform with cloud-based features and real-time insights
- Periscope Data: data collection, visualization, and analysis platform.
- Power BI: a Microsoft product for data analysis and collaboration
What to consider when choosing a non-profit digital tool for data collection and analysis
The search for non-profit digital tools for your projects is never easy. And with a lot of data collection and analysis tool at your disposal, making a choice sometimes becomes frustrating. Here are some points to help you when to choose wisely.
- Define and review your non-profit data collection and analysis goals
- Take a look at your budget
- Check the learning curve involved in using a particular platform
- Take into consideration the type of information you need to collect
The ability to make better-informed decisions for your non-profit relies heavily on how much data you’ve gathered about your projects and the communities you work with.
As an outline, there are many non-profit digital tools out there for data collection and analysis. However, before you make a choice, make sure you are doing so based on your goals, cost, and the type of data you need.