Data and donor management software: A perfect pair

There is a vast amount of information that donor management software helps makes sense of.
Date Published
03/17/2014

There’s a common misconception among nonprofit organizations that data is either too difficult to collect and analyze, or it’s not worth allocating additional resources for donor management software. The truth is having access to and strategically using donor information should be a top priority for any nonprofit group, especially during fundraising campaigns, introducing new marketing policies and developing new projects. Actively managing donor data allows philanthropic groups to gain better insight into their contributors’ preferences and habits. In reality, there’s no short supply of information that donors freely provide as they interact with nonprofits through various communication channels, including email, social media and direct mail. The problem many nonprofits have is knowing how to organize the information into a system that provides actionable insights.

Omnipresence of data
By financially supporting a nonprofit organization, donors have already expressed a vested interest in the group. They’ve made a big step to initiate a relationship and make their voice heard by supporting a particular cause. The conversation doesn’t stop there as they continue to get their opinions across in many ways, including social media posts and forwarding emails to colleagues and friends. The online marketing company Domo recently published an infographic that goes into great detail to show just how much data exists and how quickly it travels.

According to the graphic, more than 200 million email messages are sent in a single minute on a daily basis. Among this multitude of messages is information that can help nonprofits understand what resonates with their donors and email subscribers. For instance, if a charitable group keeps track of the number of times and to whom its e-newsletter is forwarded by their donors, they have a unique opportunity to gather information about prospects as well as what content is most compelling for readers.

At the same time, Facebook is an excellent source for donor data. Domo indicated users on this social network share nearly 685,000 pieces of content every minute. What’s more, various brands and organizations earn roughly 35,000 likes during the same time frame. By collecting and organizing this information, nonprofit management professionals can get a much clearer idea of what online content is most engaging for their donors and followers. Not only will this provide improved insights but it also helps nonprofits create better relationships.

Create a wider understanding
In addition to learning from successful fundraising campaigns, donor data gives nonprofits a clearer idea of how to allocate their donor management budget. For example, the marketing consulting firm Production Solutions explained many nonprofits fail to recognize the need to stay in tune with their mid-level donors. Too often, organizations focus on their major donors or work hard to increase the giving power of their low-level contributors, which leaves one of their most crucial groups out in the cold. This can be detrimental considering 1 percent of mid-level donors generate 20 percent of revenue raised through direct mail outreach. Software for nonprofits can help organizations understand which channels are most effective and which ones motivate donors to respond.

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