Five Year Greatest Hits #1: Dashboards
Produced, composed, and performed by The Olympia Collective
We've Made Dashboarding a Verb
Welcome to our snazzy new 2023 mini-blog series titled Five Year Greatest Hits. Since it’s our anniversary, we thought it would be wise to look back to five years ago and reflect on all the things we have accomplished. We know that meaningful lookbacks are as important as visioning sessions and thinking ahead. So here we are again modeling it for our clients, too. To be honest, it only took us a fraction of a second to identify our first Greatest Hit: our intergalactically-famous dashboards! OF COURSE. How could we NOT start with dashboards? ANSWER: WE COULDN’T.
Many of you know it’s no exaggeration to say that at The Olympia Collective, WE LOVE CHARTS AND GRAPHS. We love revenue DATA. We love charts that trend UP. We love finding NO DUPLICATES. We know accurate, timely data speaks the truth and richly informs all the best decisions.
Our dashboards come in all shapes and sizes. And for this blog we wanted to give you some visual examples of real dashboards that we have designed, that work, and that are actually used. Enter Oak Hill Academy. This is a very special independent school in Dallas, serving PK-12th grade students with learning differences.
During COVID, in 2021, we were hired by Nicole DeVoss, Oak Hill Academy’s wicked smart and badass Assistant Director, to professionalize the school’s fundraising function. Nicole had been driving numerous operational improvements in her role and the school was under new leadership. We had several goals for our engagement with her: 1) raise significantly more money than Oak Hill Academy had been raising (the fundraising had been freakishly and steadily declining for several years prior to them hiring us), 2) assess their department and recommend new processes, systems, and infrastructure to track and retain philanthropic revenue, 3) continue to engage and leverage their parent and family community in our efforts, and 4) to educate and build confidence in their board in revenue generation. And we are happy to say as we approach the end of our second school year with them that we accomplished all of these things. And we have the dashboards (and awards) to prove it.
After a 90 day assessment of Oak Hill’s data, processes, and donor information, we had a great sense that Oak Hill would be able to meet all of its objectives. We also spent time identifying thirteen metrics that we could focus the school on as we organized and rallied to generate revenue. We worked with the board, Nicole and the leadership team to first create a dashboard template of the 13 metrics.
Our big focus was unrestricted fundraising, so you’ll see the focus on those numbers right off the bat. Then there was board giving, which had been spotty and inconsistent. Finally, we separated out grant proposals from the unrestricted lines to be able to monitor activity and yield. For this data, we relied on their grant writer. But we had it all in one easy place for tracking. Sort of like a record album holding the different songs together.
FAST FORWARD and SHUFFLE and here is what our calendar year end actuals were for their December 2021 and 2022. We ended up doing so well in FY22 that we were able to DOUBLE our unrestricted goal year over year to $250,000 the following year. And as of December, just five months into their fiscal year, we had not only exceeded our goal in year one but we got to 83.4% the following year with twice the revenue burden. We also adjusted our dashboard after year one to have a few different metrics. Board giving went way up and board participation reached 100%. This dashboard is sent out proactively each month to the board and reviewed in each meeting. They now have an Advancement Committee that helps own its progress. And they are now poised to hire a full time Development team thanks to our work (speaking of, if you know any great fundraisers in Dallas, send them our way, we’ll be hiring soon!).
If you know anything about Dallas, you’ll also know that the continent’s LARGEST giving day ever happens there each September: North Texas Giving Day (NTGD). We are huge fans of this effort and leaning into North Texas Giving Day was a key recommendation from our 90 day assessment. By leveraging the existing awareness, marketing tools, and excitement leading up to NTGD the first year, we were able to experience massive success. And how did we measure it? Another dashboard, this time specifically for NTGD. Our fundraising goal was $70,000 and we blew past it in year one raising $113,916 with 100% board participation. NTGD takes place at the very beginning of the school year so we integrated messaging starting in the summer that this would be our BIG moment. For this first year’s dashboard, we monitored the top 80% of revenue donor base, board and staff participation, and average gift. We also anchored it all with a $35,000 pre-solicited match we closed before the month of September. Most importantly, we wove together our NTGD efforts with the existing marketing and social media calendar. This year, we took it up a notch and switched our board from a Dashboard to a Leaderboard to emphasize our strategy of peer to peer fundraising. We updated the Leaderboard DAILY. Many of you have heard the Mathmachicken story of triumph, so we won’t repeat. Just know that last year, as well as this year, we won the NTGD awards for best Integrated Marketing Campaign. We competed against 588 other North Texas nonprofits of $1M revenue or larger and WON. TWICE. IN A ROW. Coincidence? We think not! WE PUT IT ON REPEAT!
To show just how dashboard crazy we can get, we had to throw in these extra bonus tracks:
* Our DOUBLE DASHBOARD we then created for our dual efforts of a new Grandfriends Day campaign and Year End Appeal as 2021 drew to a close.
* Our year over year hatchling fund dashboard tracking 2021 vs 2022 performance on Oak Hill’s first two Grandfriends Day efforts
Feel free to check out our covers below for the visuals of each.
Behold our Vintage Record Dashboard Collection
With Dashboards, You Only Spin the Truth
We meant it when we told Oak Hill two years ago that the best case scenario would be to work our way out of our contract. We are so pleased that by putting into place something as simple and strategic as a dashboard has gotten the entire organization on the same page. Literally. This is what it’s all about, people!
We are proud that our hallmark dashboards drive tangible results for our clients, without fail. It’s never bad to be a broken record when it comes to showcasing and leveraging your data to advance a mission. We even have a dashboard for The Olympia Collective (of course)! If our favorite artist Chris Stapleton ever asks us, “What are you listening to?” we’ll answer with “our dashboard…and we let it play again and again.”