Cyfe logo with logos of services they support via ZapierIf you’re quite busy changing the world, it’s tempting to look at data about the effectiveness of your communications “later.” Next week, next month… then you realize you have no idea how people are using your website, or how they’re getting there, or how your social media engagement is going. Are your nonprofit’s communications reaching the goals you’ve set for them? Maybe. Maybe not.

Part of setting effective goals for your social justice organization is setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) — numbers that tell you if you’re heading in the direction that you think. With KPI’s, looking at your data is like checking directions while you drive: you can’t drive if you’re only looking at your directions, you have to keep your eyes on the road. Similarly, you need a fast way to glance at KPIs that’s easy to fit in to a demanding schedule, so you can stay focused on work while making smart adjustments. The key is to look at the right data on a regular schedule that allows you to adjust what you’re doing.

Many online communications channels offer dashboards — a place where you can see a summary of relevant data for that medium at a glance. As my clients know, I recommend dashboards for Google Analytics. But sometimes you want to look at different channels’ data in the context of each other.

Enter Cyfe. I looked at about a dozen different dashboard services this spring, but Cyfe offered the best assortment of data sources (including the ability to use filtered views in Google Analytics and to display goal conversions).

In less than an hour on Cyfe, I was able to create a dashboard that allowed me to see all at once data from Google Analytics, MailChimp and Twitter. Every Monday the dashboard comes to me via email so I can take a quick look.

Cyfe has a fantastically long list of data sources you can choose from, including all the social media channels you could possibly need, mass email providers, CRMs and even Basecamp data. If the hundred or so built-in widgets they offer don’t have the data you want, Cyfe’s use of the Zapier service adds several hundred more potential widgets.

Analytics don’t have to take a huge amount of time to be useful — it’s more important to look at the right numbers regularly. With the strategic use of a multi-channel dashboard like Cyfe, even the busiest nonprofit communications worker can take quick regular glances at the metrics you’ve previously identified to see if your communications efforts are taking your organization where you want to go.