5 Ways Data Can Enhance Your Donor-Focused Fundraising
2. Investigate prospects
While most fundraisers understand the importance of investigating the giving potential of prospective donors, prospect research should go beyond wealth information to include demographics, relationships and other aspects of personal background that may influence a prospect’s potential connection with an organization. Prospect research should take into account how the prospect under consideration fits into the organization’s donor segments or culture groups, and how these cultural characteristics will influence the long-term cultivation and solicitation process.
3. Interpret history
Rigorous analysis of past campaigns can reveal important information to inform a donor-focused strategy. While simple campaign “postmortems” are routine, they are not always based on fine-grained, objective data that provide a clear picture of the campaign over time. In-depth campaign performance analyses allow organizations to understand how specific variables (e.g., donor characteristics, instances and amounts of donations, solicitation approaches, marketing efforts) relate to the success or failure of a campaign.
Interpreting previous donor engagement and campaign performance through the lens of data, rather than anecdotal perceptions, can give fundraisers the tools to build an effective fundraising strategy and avoid costly mistakes.
4. Survey constituents
Fundraisers often rely on instinct, assumption or anecdote to gauge how their organization is perceived. While this approach may seem intuitive, surveys designed to gather donor and community feedback can reveal important information that could change the course of fundraising and marketing efforts, with dramatic impact on fundraising success. Brand perception analyses allow organizations to survey current and prospective donors throughout their community or region of interest. Survey results can be analyzed in the context of donor segments and demographic characteristics, and provide valuable information about how community members perceive, value, interact with and give to the organization.
Fundraisers also may fail to conduct message testing before initiating a campaign, assuming that a message that resonates “in-house” will also resonate across donor segments. This assumption is risky, as a misaligned message can damage relationships with donors and prospects alike. High-quality message testing helps fundraisers ensure that their campaigns resonate with the intended audiences and spark the kinds of human connections that lead to strong, long-term donor relationships. An initial investment in message testing allows fundraisers to allocate time, resources and human capital toward effective campaigns.