Key features of the Community Platform include:
Users can create a map of organizations, program, or places by zipcode, county or customized region. 'Flags' on the map designate the type of organization or program they represent(civil rights, youth services, etc.).
Users can filter the community map to show particular types of organizations using general categories. For advanced users, there are more than 600 categories available to filter organizational information). Beyond nonprofit data, the map can also be filtered by “community places” to show public resources such as community centers, public schools, and libraries.
Adding New Community Resources
Both public and private, non-profit or for-profit, programs, offices, and other resources can be added to the map, depending on the needs of the community and what the community defines as a “community resource.”
The “statistics” page in the Community Inventory shows socioeconomic data for the zip code combined with statistics on nonprofit resources (expenses, assets, and more) as well as charitable giving within the community.
Mapping Community Needs
The “needs” page allows nonprofits as well as community residents to create a comprehensive map of community needs, ranging from public spaces to individual needs such as babysitting services, transportation, and more. The needs page includes privacy settings.
A diverse range of categories is available to locate specific organizations (or specific types of organizations) including by name, assets, programs, activities, county, city, zip codes and more.
Organizational profiles offer a range of information about organizations including addresses, tax documents (990 forms), their activity codes, as well as resources and programs associated with that organization. Profiles can be updated by the Community Administrator or other authorized users.
Aligning Nonprofit Programs with Community Needs
School principals and other community stakeholders can track nonprofit organizations working in the fields of education, mentoring, and other services for students and their families. This module helps to connect schools with the resources and programs of these nonprofits and meet existing needs within the school system.
Track Program Outcomes
Users can track quantifiable program outcome indicators on a daily, weekly, quarterly or annual basis. Users can analyze trends and performance for individual organizations as well as communities, fields/industries, peer groups, and member organizations. Custom indicators can also be added.
Using comprehensive IRS data preloaded by NCCS, the Financial Analysis tool provides detailed financial information including a complete account of revenues, expenditures, charitable donations, assets and liabilities for a number of different years.
Users can examine financial characteristics of specific organizations over time and compare them to other organizations of the same NTEE designation or a user-created peer group using a range of standard ratios (asset growth, cash on hand, surplus margins and more).
Financial Analysis Guides
The Financial Analysis tool will also include video and written guides to help boards and managers understand the basics of financial analysis.
This centralized directory of goods and services -- a sort of “Craigslist for Nonprofits” -- is intended to help organizations develop partnerships or to share resources with other nonprofits. Potential shared resources include staff consultants, equipment, volunteers and facilities. Through Shared Resources, organizations can also find lower cost options for insurance or supplies through bulk purchases. Organizations can post both “needs” and “available goods and services” in the Shared Resources.
Knowledgebase: Community Best Practices
The Knowledgebase acts as a warehouse of critical resources that can help organizations perform better within their communities. Building on our own work and that of key national partners, the Knowledgebase includes links to successful community projects, information on best practices, and webinars addressing various topics (program management, project development, advocacy etc.)
Projects: Creating Project Teams
The Platform allows users and organizations to form project teams in the hope of addressing community concerns. The Projects section allows teams to assign tasks, make lists, or send notes to other members of the project team.
Users can create custom lists of organizations based on any specified criteria. Custom Lists allow project teams as well as individual users to analyze and share information on organizations across a range of nonprofit categories. Custom Lists can be used to map and analyze nonprofit information including members, programs, finances, and more.
Community Analysis: Geographic Search
Using the geographic search, users can drill down information from a county or city level to the zip code level and get a statistical profile of that community or a list of organizations within that region. NCCS is also partnering with the Open Indicators Consortium to provide an analytic mapping tool that will overlay nonprofit data with Census data (poverty levels, educational attainment, etc.). This will allow users to not only view the nonprofit resources but also the community needs of a targeted region.
Linking to Other Community Data Sources: Providing an Open Platform
The Community Platform is meant to be an open platform that can link with and complement pre-existing data sources. NCCS is in the process of connecting with 2-1-1 providers and community data centers to integrate the Community Platform with their systems for real-time data exchange and will work with potential community partners to develop a Platform that meets their needs.