July 9, 2021

How to make the most of fundraising data analytics

Today’s world runs on data, and fundraising is no exception. The average charity requires data to make crucial decisions. By better understanding the public, campaign leaders can reach new audiences and bring their mission to the forefront.

As a fundraising officer for a non-profit or charitable organisation, you’ve likely gathered plenty of fundraising information – but how do you put that data to good use? How do you use data to create a campaign that hits your target donors dead on? In this article, we’ll take a look at how to use data to supercharge fundraising.

How can data analytics help fundraising managers? 

Data is a valuable currency for anyone trading in consumer communications. But without some serious organisation and analysis, it will often just take up unnecessary space. So leaders need to put the work in so that this data goes from endless rows and columns in an Excel spreadsheet into something insightful and actionable. Below are some tips for collecting, organising and analysing data, so campaign leaders can align their cause with the interests, values and needs of prospective donors.

Manage current and historical donor information 

Using an analytics tool, you can categorise the data your organisation already has. This will make information more accessible and therefore more usable. For example, you can use a data management platform (such as the GoodBox Portal)  to note the number of new and lapsed donors, donor retention rate, the lifetime value of donors, and at-risk donors who haven’t given within the last 6 months. This information can then be used to clean up subscription lists, create personalised campaigns to show your appreciation for regular donors, and coax lapsed donors into a more active role.

Create an integrated tech stack

While this sounds overly technical, a ‘fully integrated tech stack’ is simply an interconnected system of tools that work together to run a particular process or project. In the context of fundraising, an integrated tech stack would be used to collect data at every stage of the engagement process.

An average fundraising tech stack will include things such as a customer relationship management (CRM) system that centralises donor data, a project management platform for events and volunteer coordination, an email marketing tool such as Mailchimp and software for processing donations. 

An integrated tech stack offers an array of benefits. For instance, it reduces the capacity for human error by automating data collection and compiling it into a centralised hub. It also makes it easier to manage customer service and communicate with donors, so the process of gathering funds becomes a well-oiled machine. Finally, it allows fundraising managers to understand which of their fundraising channels are the most effective. This means they can make data-driven decisions as to where their efforts are best placed.

Target your donation appeals

Good data management refines the outreach process by segmenting your audience into subcategories based on demographics, donation amounts and overall engagement. By knowing this data, you can use it to refine campaigns for key sectors, designing and developing marketing materials that are more likely to garner a positive response.

One fantastic example of a well-segmented charity appeal is the Wings for Life World Run. While raising money through physical events is not unusual, Red Bull managed to make this accessible to anyone – and even kept it going through 2020. They did this by allowing participants to run as far as they wanted. 

Wings for Life was advertised on social media, in email communications and news publications across a massive 58 countries. Red Bull also took the run virtual in 2020 through an app, with every participant starting at 11:00 UTC in 111 locations globally to run side-by-side. Because Red Bull has a deep understanding of who their donors are and how to reach them, this campaign reached a record-breaking 184,236 people in the 2021 event and raised 4,100,000 euros.

Personalise your marketing

Personalisation is a powerful marketing tool, with 80% of consumers reporting themselves as more likely to buy from personalised content, and only 22% of customers are happy with the current level of personalisation. In terms of nonprofits, 44% of donors would be willing to donate 10% more for a personalised experience. 

As fundraising specialists know, getting donations is all about connecting people with a story. It’s an emotional choice in many ways, and one way of building that connection is through creating a personal connection. Using your data, you can craft email and marketing content to create a unique relationship where each person feels like they, as an individual, can make a real impact.

What kind of insights into donor behaviour can managers gain?

If they are going to strike a chord with donors, campaign managers need to gain as in-depth an understanding as possible into who their target audience is. This encompasses key demographics, donation habits and what causes resonate with certain groups of people. Here are just a few examples:

Age 

How old are your donors? What generation do they fit into, and how do the preferences and values of these generations align with fundraising efforts? For instance, research conducted by Charity Digital found that 39% of ‘millennials’ discover information about charities through social media. Therefore, if you’re targeting a younger demographic, you are likely to benefit from investing in sponsored posting on Facebook or Instagram.

Donation frequency 

This is a vital metric for personalising your outreach. It’s likely that a regular donor will not want regular prompts to give more; instead, they should be thanked for their longstanding dedication to your chosen cause. Messages asking people to dig deep should be reserved for those with a much more sporadic donation record. This will make sure that you maintain a positive relationship with your audience.

Donation method 

How do your donors send funds? What’s the most popular method, and how does this align with the demographics of your audience? For instance, are they more likely to make one-off contributions or subscribe to regular giving? This will allow you to include a compelling call to action in your fundraising outreach.

Donor behaviour

Like we previously mentioned, the power of storytelling mustn’t be underestimated. You’ve likely experimented with a range of messages, from earnest appeals to success stories. By categorising campaign messages, you can segment your audience by the type of ‘stories’ they are likely to respond to. This type of personalisation will ensure you elicit the ideal response from each donor.

GoodBox is an organisation focussed on making tech work for the non-profit industry, so organisations can make a long-lasting impact on donors and the general public. A big part of this is the GoodBox Portal, which is designed to make fundraising data simple, accessible, and more effective. Contact the GoodBox team today to learn how to unlock the potential of digital fundraising.