Data Man? He loves you all day, every day.
Data Man can pay attention to your smallest changes in demeanor, and never grow bored with addressing them. Data Man always has the right thing to say, at just the right time, every time. Data Man can sit alone and quiet for days, waiting for you, with a perfect response when you show up. He’s never mad.
Data Man is at work today. He is speaking to donors about their blood donations in Sweden. He tells them, breathily, “I got your donation of blood.” He says, “I used your blood to help someone.” He follows with, “Let’s get together again.” Irresistible.
Data Man is whispering in the ear of those donating and fundraising to create clean water for charity:water. “Hey, got your check. Starting the well.” Then, “Almost done with your well.” Then, a picture maybe, of gushing water and faces wet with water. “Finished your well.”
Who is he, this stealthy yet consistent relationship master?
Our nonprofit staffs struggle with lack of time to cover necessary duties. They all know that they should call every fundraiser and every donor and squeeze the maximum amount of commitment from them. But there is simply no time. They have to focus on the most productive and highest fundraising or donating individuals, leaving the remainder to wither away from lack of attention. They have to resign themselves to the fact that the average fundraiser feels like the organization just doesn’t care that much. Staff can’t win, until now.
The hero emerges.
Imagine, Data Man scouring your database looking for clues about your constituents. When he sees a database mark change, he sends a message in some form to the person whose record he just found. He is a query. He is questioning the database.
At the heart of it, data can make an automated response feel like a human relationship (maybe better than a human relationship, if you dated some of the frogs I have.) When the well-written query produces results, an email is deployed, or a work-flow created and sent, or any number of other things happen, all kicked off by that mark to the database. The response to whatever got kicked off, if marked to the database, will inspire another action as a result of another query. Data Man making a relationship on your behalf.
Thoughtful design of the queries lets you build an individual experience for your constituent, which is far more likely to create a relationship. Each path will be different, as your constituents behave differently, taking different routes through your series of if/then pathways. These queries manifest as Data Man, and Data Man gets around. He’s got a new thing going on, with everybody, at the same time.
Data Man at work on the lower end of your fundraising and donation spectrum, and your staff at work in tandem at the upper end, is powerful.
Who is Data Man? Here are just a few examples of the brands that support the technology behind his come-hither ways:
- Blackbaud triggered messaging capability
- Donor Drive triggered messaging capability
- NonProfit Easy automated marketing features
If you want to research on your own, Google “marketing automation” and say hi. Our experience says that, real soon, marketing automation will make blast emails look like a fax machine.
Katrina VanHuss is the CEO of Turnkey, a U.S.-based strategy and execution firm for nonprofit fundraising campaigns. Katrina has been instilling passion in volunteer fundraisers since 1989 when she founded the company. Turnkey’s clients include most of the top thirty U.S. peer-to-peer campaigns — Susan G. Komen, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the ALS Association, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, as well as some international organizations, like UNICEF.
Otis Fulton is a psychologist who joined Turnkey in 2013 as its consumer behavior expert. He works with clients to apply psychological principles to fundraising. He is a much-sought-after copywriter for nonprofit messaging. He has written campaigns for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, The March of Dimes, the USO and dozens of other organizations.
Now as a married couple, Katrina and Otis almost never stop talking about fundraising, volunteerism, and human decision-making – much to the chagrin of most dinner companions.
Katrina and Otis present regularly at clients’ national conferences, as well as at BBCon, NonProfit Pro P2P, Peer to Peer Forum, and others. They write a weekly column for NonProfit PRO and are the co-authors of the 2017 book, "Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising." They live in Richmond, Virginia, USA.