HOW NEBRASKA DEVELOPED ADVANCED ANALYTICS IN SIX MONTHS FLAT
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA FOUNDATION
BUILDING THE PLANE WHILE FLYING IN IT
When the University of Nebraska Foundation (UNF) upgraded to a new CRM, they left behind the reporting suite they had relied on for many years. Their challenge was not as simple as recreating their old reports in their new CRM. Their legacy reporting was developed to conform to a database with an entirely different data structure, making it necessary to build a new reporting infrastructure from scratch.
Their first step was easy. They needed to select the best platform for their analytics needs, and they chose Tableau Software due to its flexibility and functionality. However, building an analytics program from a new CRM takes time, and UNF didn’t have a moment to waste. They needed help bringing their reporting team up to speed on Tableau development, and they also needed to develop fundraising dashboards to meet their core needs. In short, they needed a partner with deep experience both in Tableau and in fundraising operations so they could transition to advanced analytics as quickly as possible.
Ben Storck, AVP of Advancement Services
University of Nebraska Foundation
The team at Solas instinctively understood what information would be critical to our business needs. We didn’t have to put together a lengthy request. They took an outline of what we thought we would need and got to work, even adding some features we didn’t ask for because they correctly anticipated that we might need them down the road
SOLUTION: DATA SOURCES TO PROPEL ANALYTICS CAPABILITIES
To meet their needs, UNF turned to The Solas Group. Working with Solas, UNF was trained in how to best use Tableau to measure fundraising progress and identify opportunities to raise money. UNF also realized that they could greatly enhance their analytics capabilities by having Solas develop durable and extensible data sources designed with the end goal of fundraising reporting in mind.
A major benefit to the partnership was Solas’s collaborative and transparent ethos. Founded and operated by advancement services professionals, Solas is devoted to empowering clients not only with tools, but with information they can use to increase their analytics skillset. While Solas worked to develop UNF’s resources, coaching and consulting sessions throughout the process gave UNF’s team the skills and the confidence to expand their analytics capacity. Solas developed a series of dashboards in collaboration with the UNF team, immediately increasing the value of their Tableau investment with powerful dashboards while simultaneously providing them hands-on learning opportunities.
RESULT: SELF-SERVICE IN SIX MONTHS
In just six months, UNF was able to “go live” with dashboards that met their core business needs as well as the data sources and training necessary to continue to grow their analytics resources. Today, the team has developed exceptional skill at working with Tableau and has expanded their dashboard suite to more than 35 dashboards. UNF’s fundraisers are equipped to access far more information themselves, resulting in fewer requests for ad hoc reporting and more time to devote to fundraising. Likewise, UNF’s Advancement Services team now has more time to devote to higher-level analysis.
“I like to think that the goal of reporting is to help people ask better questions,” Storck said. And with the help of Solas, UNF now has analytics resources that prompt and help answer the “better questions,” supporting fundraising strategy and identifying more opportunities to raise money than ever before
By collaborating with The Solas Group, UNF’s Advancement Services team was able to expedite their goal of delivering real-time, insightful, and business-critical information to their colleagues, freeing their time and ultimately furthering their mission.
Interested in seeing what Solas can do for your team? Contact us today for a free consultation.