Data-Driven Campaign Targeting and Stewardship
Online engagement and fundraising tools create a multitude of options for nonprofits to collect data. This data, in its raw form, represents an opportunity to know the constituent more completely and act more effectively. The catch is that the data, although it arrives in great volumes, usually does not come ready to use. One of the most straightforward ways to make sure that you can turn your data into actionable knowledge is to emphasize system integration.
As nonprofits adopt more of the available engagement options such as text messaging, social networking, chat and e-commerce, the first data challenge they face is getting all of this data accurately correlated and resident in the same system. Traditionally, data gathered from each of these channels has not always been compatible with the organization’s constituent database. The manual importing and exporting of data has become a standard practice. Even when the data gets entered into the constituent database, it can often become jumbled and lose some of its usability.
But, times have changed, and today’s fundraisers can reap all the benefits data has to offer. Fundraisers today can capture and dissect all the data a constituent provides. Open platforms have fueled this level of integration and enabled fundraisers to better use data captured from various applications. For example, fundraisers can know which constituents purchased from the e-commerce site and also have the organization on their social-networking pages. Fundraisers and marketers know that targeted campaigns, those that recognize the individuality of constituents, have a greater success rate than broad brushstroke campaigns. The more data that can be collected and integrated into a single cohesive view, the more targeted the campaigns can become, and the more success one is likely to have.
Let’s look at this in more detail. A nonprofit sells merchandise through its e-commerce system, where a portion of each sale goes to the nonprofit. An unknown constituent goes to the site and purchases a shirt. This same constituent attended the annual walk and promotes the organization on his Web site. But since the data from the e-commerce system goes into a general-use location in the database, the organization doesn’t know that he also has participated in the walk. At first glance, he just bought some shirts.
However, if a fundraiser could see that this constituent participated in the walk last year, bought some shirts online and actively promotes the organization on his Web site, he would probably be treated differently. And once he is recognized as a supporter of the organization, the nonprofit can utilize various fundraising strategies to further engage him and continue to foster a deeper relationship to build affinity.
The ability to gather a full, 360 degrees of constituent interactions can help fundraisers achieve greater success. The more data that can be gathered and — more importantly — organized in a useful way, the more targeted the campaigns can be.
With the right emphasis on integration, a nonprofit can personalize and target communications as it cultivates its relationships and runs subsequent campaigns. However, targeting is just the first thought that comes to mind when considering how the data can help nonprofits be more effective. Data can also be used in stewardship efforts.
By extending the integration-centric approach described above for constituent data to the outcome data resident in their accounting and program systems, nonprofits will have created a good approach to stewardship in a very personal and compelling way. By using financial data to explain how funds were used, nonprofits can build donor trust.
Going beyond the financial breakout, nonprofits can correlate outcome information from the program system into the constituent engagement database. This allows for messages that are personalized not just with respect to name, interests, location, etc., but also with respect to stewardship. The nonprofit can report how much of the person’s last gift went to the designated program, as well as what good that money did in quantitative terms. This data-driven approach to stewardship can be particularly effective for nonprofits that have a great number of donors who wouldn’t otherwise get this kind of personalized feedback. Stewardship of this sort is critical for the nonprofit that wants to cultivate lasting relationships with its donors and provide them with satisfying giving experiences.
In today’s environment, data can come in many forms, from program outcomes to purchase orders to text-message actions, and it comes in large volumes. Both the challenge and opportunity is to use this data in a way that increases effectiveness. With emphasis on well-crafted integration of both engagement and outcome information, data can help drive your success with campaign targeting and high-volume, personalized stewardship.
Nick Rongione is senior director of marketing and partner solutions for Kintera.