My friend Trey recently help me realize that many systems are backwards looking. They are simply reporting engines that tell us what happened. How many donations came in? How many meals were served? How many volunteers do we have? How many locations do we have a presence on?
The challenge is not to build better systems that tell us what happened. The challenge for non-profit leaders is to architect an infrastructure of information gathering and decision-making that will tell us what to do next.
Who are the donors we should call? How many volunteers do we need to recruit? Which locations need more resources? Which locations should be closed? What best practices can we take and apply to other situations?
Under the hood, the systems may be similar, but it is essential that the next generation of systems be designed with forward thinking in mind.
What are some ways you are using forward thinking systems?