Why Use Performance Snapshots?

What is a Performance Snapshot?

A Performance Snapshot is a management tool that creates a comprehensive summary of your organization's performance and value that is easy to access, interpret and use. The Snapshot can be a printed document or an electronic 'dashboard', which allows anyone to actively engage with the information. This tool will give you a clear picture of performance and value to help you plan and manage your day-to-day activities, demonstrate your value to others, and ensure the long-term sustainability of your organization. 

A snapshot will enable you to:

  • Save valuable time finding and pulling together data for reports.
  • See key trends and relationships in data, so you can get the most from the data you collect. 

The exact content and format of the Snapshot depends on its audience and the issues that are important to you. Design it to directly support the key decisions you make and/or to show the work and value of the enterprise to others. The Demonstrating Value Workbook and other resources available through Demonstrating Value will enable you to create a Snapshot that fits your needs. 

The Snapshot can be developed using a software program you have on hand (like MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, or similar programs) or using software that can create professional-looking infographics and which may have the capacity to directly link with data sources (like SAP’s Crystal Dashboard Design, Tableau, Piktochart, Infogr.am, Easelly, among others).   

Developing a Performance Snapshot

The design process includes thinking through the audience for your information, what needs to be included, types of information (numeric, narrative, pictures, quotes, video) and then how to best present that information to tell your story. For example, the presentation for a Snapshot meant for an annual Board presentation might be very different from a Snapshot designed to be part of your public website to engage volunteers and donors.

For a simple version of the Snapshot, information can be simply copied and pasted from spreadsheets, applications or databases into the Snapshot. For a more advanced Snapshot, you can create direct connections to the numbers in your accounting software such as QuickBooks or Simply Accounting, your customer database like salesforce.com or your fund development applications like Raiser's Edge or Sage Millennium. This requires reporting software like Crystal Dashboard or Tableau, and may take specialized support to set up.  This is useful if you want to use the Snapshot on a continuing basis, where the benefits of automatically updating your reports can be quite substantial.