Intimidated by Data Integration?
When it comes to technical phrases such as “data integration” and “on-demand export,” most fundraisers go running for the hills. What many don’t realize, however, is how critical successful database integration can be to their jobs — and that information resulting from integration can make their jobs easier and more effective.
Many nonprofit organizations have one or more database systems that store valuable information such as constituent records and fundraising transactions. As an organization grows, it might add database systems rather than upgrade or add newer, unified systems. Some organizations have different needs that are uniquely met by individual systems. Regardless of the reason, maintaining precious data in several disconnected locations puts fundraisers at a disadvantage — they lack a holistic view of constituents’ relationships with their organization.
For organizations requiring the maintenance of existing databases, integrating the databases becomes an important — and frequently necessary — way to increase the value of the donor and prospect information they’ve worked so hard to gather. By integrating information from multiple sources, fundraisers can better understand constituents, better meet constituent needs, and save valuable time and energy.
Know your donors
The Breast Cancer Fund, a national organization focused on identifying the causes of breast cancer and preventing the disease, uses one system as its
primary database to house gift transactions and another system to capture and understand constituents’ online activity. The organization wanted to integrate data from both systems to get targeted information for
decision-making in online and offline campaigns, as well as detailed information about how constituents interact with BCF.
A two-way integration was created between the two database systems that allows BCF’s constituents to become more engaged with the organization by
donating, participating, advocating and volunteering via its Web site. Donor information automatically is passed back and forth between databases on a daily basis, which has cut back on the time the organization spends on manual data entry; and fundraisers always have the latest, most up-to-date information, no matter which database they use.