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.
Otis Fulton, Ph.D., spent most of his career in the education industry, working at the psychometric research and development firm MetaMetrics Inc., Pearson Education and others. Since 2013, he has focused on the nonprofit sector, applying psychology to fundraising and donor behavior at Turnkey. He is the co-author of the 2017 book, ”Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising,” and the 2023 book, "Social Fundraising: Mining the New Peer-to-Peer Landscape," and is a frequent speaker at national nonprofit conferences. With Katrina VanHuss, he co-authors a blog at NonProfit PRO, “Peeling the Onion,” on the intersection of psychology and philanthropy.
Otis is a much sought-after copywriter for nonprofit fundraising messages. He has written campaigns for UNICEF, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, March of Dimes, Susan G. Komen, the USO and dozens of other organizations. He has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, where he also played on UVA’s first ACC champion basketball team.
Katrina VanHuss has helped national nonprofits raise funds and friends since 1989 when she founded Turnkey. Her client’s successes and her dedication to research have made her a sought-after speaker, presenting at national conferences for Blackbaud, Peer to Peer Professional Forum, Nonprofit PRO, The Need Help Foundation and her clients’ national meetings. The firm’s work is underpinned by the study and application of behavioral economics and social psychology. Turnkey provides project engagements, coaching, counsel and staffing to nonprofits seeking to improve revenue or create new revenue. Her work extends into organizational alignment efforts and executive coaching.
Katrina regularly shares her wit and business experiences on her and Otis Fulton's NonProfit PRO blog “Peeling the Onion.” She and Otis are also co-authors of the books, "Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising" and "Social Fundraising: Mining the New Peer-to-Peer Landscape." When not writing or researching, Katrina likes to make things — furniture from reclaimed wood, new gardens, food with no recipe. Katrina’s favorite Saturday is spent cleaning out the garage, mowing the grass, making something new, all while listening to loud music by now-deceased black women, throwing in a few sets on the weight bench off and on, then collapsing on the couch with her husband Otis to gang-watch new Netflix series whilst drinking sauvignon blanc.
Katrina grew up on a Virginia beef cattle and tobacco farm with her three brothers. She is accordingly skilled in hand to hand combat and witty repartee — skills gained at the expense of her brothers. Katrina’s claim to fame is having made it to the “American Gladiator” Richmond competition as a finalist in her late 20s, progressing in the competition until a strangely large blonde woman knocked her off a pedestal with an oversized pain-inducing Q-tip. Katrina’s mantra for life is “Be nice. Do good. Embrace embarrassment.” Clearly she’s got No. 3 down.