The Missing Piece in Your Fundraising Program – Data Insights

Philip Manzano • Apr 30, 2018

Looking at your Data Insights helps you Raise More Money The post The Missing Piece in Your Fundraising Program – Data Insights appeared first on Keela.

We’ve all been at meetings where someone says, “We need to raise more money.” Whether it’s to expand service offerings, increase program capacity, or just meet this year’s budget, fundraising money is essential to your nonprofit’s operations. But when it comes to figuring out how to raise more money (or even build a solid fundraising plan), where do you start?

The correct answer: look at your data!

While fundraising databases and CRMs have been around for a while, many organizations are just starting to harness the power of all that data to make smarter decisions for their fundraising programs. Making data insights the foundation of your fundraising program is advantageous for a couple of reasons.

How do I make decisions with donor data?

#1 Data insights allow you to make decisions from facts, not assumptions.

One of the biggest mistakes I see organizations make when it comes to fundraising is operating from assumptions, not facts. For some organizations, this results in setting unrealistic goals. For others, it means not seeing the true potential of their fundraising program and missing key opportunities.

Start by looking at the basics:

  • The number of donors your organization has
  • The average gift size
  • Total amount fundraised in a year
  • Donor retention rate
  • This is very basic information that will tell you a lot about the health of your fundraising program.

If you want to dig a little deeper, here are some other interesting data points worth considering.

  • Top performing appeal versus the lowest performing appeal
  • Major donor acquisition journey
  • Actives versus inactive email subscribers

#2 Data insights will help you identify and leverage your best opportunities

Once you start digging into your data you’ll like find some hidden fundraising gems. Part of finding these requires you to ask the right questions. Steve MacLaughlin, the author of Data Driven Nonprofits , suggests the following questions:

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • What value are you trying to create?
  • How will you measure success?
  • Who benefits by getting the answer right or wrong?

I personally find the first question on that list to be very helpful. Yes, you may want to solve for raising more money, but what are you really solving for? Maybe it’s donor retention. Or maybe increasing your major gifts pipeline. Narrowing your focus will help you efficiently solve the problem.

#3 Data insights will point you in the direction of the best strategy, rather than following sector trends that may or may not work for your organization.

It’s tempting to follow the trends in fundraising strategy, but if you only did that you might miss out on the strategies that work for your organization and bring in a lot of money. It’s important to look at your data before pursuing new strategies to figure out if that strategy will really work for your donors. I always want to know if a new strategy naturally aligns with donors’ giving preferences. If not, what are the chances of us acquiring new donors with the strategy?  

If you’ve ever thought of data as a foe, I want to encourage you to start seeing it as the friend it really is. Your fundraising data has the power to help make you a better fundraiser and help your organization reach and exceed its fundraising goals.

How do I make decisions with donor data?