5 Steps To Collecting Better Donor Data

Image courtesy of CRW Connect Image courtesy of CRW Connect

The truth is, there are really no secrets here. The technical terms “data mining” and “predictive modeling” are really just industry terms words for “gather information” and “educated guessing.”

Drilling down below surface level, beyond just the gross amount of donations your nonprofit received last year, will reveal a wealth of information that will help your nonprofit better analyze your donation situation. It will highlight which donation campaigns were more effective than others, what donors responded well to what, and most important, it holds the potential to greatly increase your donation potential you already have within your database.

Here are 5 simple steps you can take today to start benefiting immediately from collecting better donor data, and more of it.

  1. Identify your most important information

    Identify the different groups of donors your nonprofit is currently engaging. These can include recurring donors, one-time donors, those who donated over a specific amount, or at a specific time of year. They can also be more loose and include demographics such as alumni, families of patients, or former clients.

    Gather all this information and record the number of donors in each of the different sections. 

  2. Calculate and measure

    One of the most important statistics to glean from this whole process is your donor retention rates, or, the number of donors who donate to your nonprofit each year. Here is a guide to help you effectively calculate donor retention rates.

  3. Analyze that data

    Now that you’ve collected pertinent data, and discovered some interesting metrics, your nonprofit has the opportunity to ask and answer some important questions. Here are a few to get you started:

    • How does your donor retention compare to last year?
    • How does last year’s first time donor retention compare to last year?
    • Do you have a lot of first time donors compared to last year?
    • What time of the year did your nonprofit receive its most donations?
    • Is it different from year-to-year?

    Ask answer some of these tough questions and you’re well on your way.

  4. Strategize

    Now that you’ve discovered exactly what your nonprofit’s strengths and weaknesses are , it is time to implement that knowledge into more effective donation campaigns.

    By understanding who your largest demographic is, you have the opportunity to craft a personalized message and call-to-action to them. Because of all the new information you have available, you know exactly who you’re targeting, and how many people you’re targeting.

  5. Document

    Make sure all your hard work is well documented in a spreadsheet, that’s been backed up on a cloud or external hard drive. After doing some leg work up-front, your nonprofit is set up for repeating the same process next year, and has the ability to plan strategically for years to come.


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