If you wanted to hear from someone who’s walked in your shoes, look no farther than today’s guest. As a previous solo executive director of a nonprofit and an entrepreneur, Rachel Bearbower bravely shares the mistakes she’s made and how we can learn from them.

The first takeaway from our conversation was the challenge of balancing two seemingly opposing truths: 1) you don’t need ALL THE DATA, and 2) data are incredibly valuable. The trick is to first find the mission-critical pieces by identifying the goals of your team or organization and the necessary information to achieve those – and focus on getting that and ONLY that data. Then you must be willing to invest resources in order to collect, analyze, share, and act on that data.

When you’re ready to take the next step with data, Rachel’s concept of “stabilize, optimize, expand” will guide you well. While this applies to everything you might attempt in your organization, it is especially important when it comes to getting started with data. Pick a particular goal or need that you can tackle right now, and determine what data you need for that and whether you can safely collect, store, and process that data. Once you have the basics in place, work on streamlining and automating that analytic process. Only then should you try to tackle a new data process.

Rachel Bearbower is the CEO/Founder of Small Shop Strategies. She is also a fundraiser and former ED. She has been in the trenches of an underfunded, limited resource, system-less organization, and the stress, overwhelm and frustration it can cause. This is why Rachel is the one you turn to for systems, structure, and a plan. When all of these are in place, she promises you’ll have more time to serve those who mean most to your organization and raise the funds needed to keep moving your mission forward.

You can find Rachel at:

One thing you can do right now:
One thing you can do right now:

Standardize how you collect people’s names! This one mistake causes so many headaches for Rachel’s clients and other organizations. Just make sure that names are always collected the same way (all in one field? First and last name in separate fields?), same order, and same formatting.

And if you want to claim back some time from all the “where DID I put that file?!” you can try out Rachel’s guide to file organization:


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