Quality Data Is Essential to Maximize Your Fundraising Potential
Quality data is critical in helping to deepen our relationships with our donors. Data can help develop an action plan to use with each donor. It is needed to determine donor interests, appropriate gift requests, appropriate timing and appropriate recognition and appreciation.
What data does your nonprofit need? Prioritize your database and evaluate what information is missing. Is it email addresses? Birthdays? Occupations/employers? Be strategic, create a plan with goals and deadlines, and seek that information. Continually build that database of valuable information in breadth and depth.
What reports do you need from your data? We met with a client and asked questions about a major prospective donor family as we reviewed a list of their giving. Most of the gifts were smaller and very dated. And then… two $25,000 gifts over the last three years. How were those gifts solicited? They were not. How were those gifts acknowledged?
Because they came through a donor-advised fund at a foundation, the grants manager sent a note. The chief development officer and CEO should have been automatically alerted on the day the gift was received. This should have triggered their engagement for both the individual gifts and the family’s history of seven-figure gifts to other organizations.
You not only need reports, but procedures to share pertinent information with the right leaders and protocols to follow (i.e. calling donors at a certain level or above—or even better, all donors!). If this organization had procedures in place, the reports generated would have shown major changes in individual donor behavior (such as a significant increase in amount of donations), as well as major trends in the philanthropic efforts of the organization.
My friend David Lawson, author of “Big Good: Philanthropy in the Age of Big Data and Cognitive Computing,” shares that data can be broken down into what is called the four V’s:
- Volume—how much data?
- Variety—what kinds of data?
- Velocity—how often does it change?
- Veracity—how valid is it?
Close your office door. Better yet, gather some key team members. First, analyze your data in terms of the four V’s. Identify strengths and weaknesses in each area. Then, develop an action plan, including missing data entry and how you can better use that data to deepen donor relationships and show donors the appreciation that they deserve.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.