Better Manage Donor Data At Your Nonprofit


There are more tools available to nonprofits today that can be used for measuring their donor data than ever before. Whether it be a CRM, GoogleAnalytics, or a social media analytic tool like SproutSocial, measuring and understanding data is an essential part of contemporary business.

The truth is, without the help of data, effectively planning a fundraising strategy or maintaining high donor retention numbers makes a hard job near impossible. Without any information to backup your results, or help you get started planning, you’re really just shooting in the dark.

But, they don’t call it “Big Data” for nothing. There’s a lot of data out there that can be measured and tracked. So it’s no surprise that some nonprofits struggle with effectively gathering, measuring, and utilizing their donor data.

Here are a few reasons why nonprofit struggle with their donor data, why it’s important to know your donor data, and what you can do to prevent it.

  • Data degrades

    A mantra of Third Sector Labs reads: If your data isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse.”

    This is, I believe, the perfect summation of our donor data. Data degrades over time, and fairly quickly, too. What you must keep reminding yourself is that donors are people, and their lives change, and change quite often, too. People get new email addresses, get married, divorced, have children, get sick, move to new locations and the list goes on and on.

    You have to keep up with all of this ever changing information to keep your data from getting worse.

  • Mixed advice

    According to a recent survey by Third Sector Labs, 80% of expert advice is focused on content and messaging; while a measly 5% of that expert advice is focused around technology. This is true despite that fact the majority of fundraising, data aggregation, and data storage is done using highly sophisticated software and technologies.

While we have discussed the importance of your website content specifically to your fundraising efforts, it’s important to put emphasis on your technology, too. Sure, write that new mission statement, direct mailer copy, or fundraising letter, but do not forget the importance of updating and maintaining an effective database of donor data.

Here’s some data

Here’s some data of your own to chew on, courtesy of Third Sector Labs.

  • 71% of respondents to a Third Sector Labs survey say executing a fundraising campaign now is more difficult than it was 10 years ago.
  • 100% of respondents rely on 3 or more technology systems to conduct their fundraising campaigns. 50% use more than 5.
  • 80% of respondents claim their organization does not spend enough time preparing for and launching fundraising campaigns.
  • 49% have no idea how much money their organizations will lose to donor attrition each year.
  • 53% do not know when the last time their donor database was cleaned.

 What about you? Where do you fall in these stats? Have you cleaned out your donor database lately? How many different piece of tech do you use to conduct fundraising campaigns? Do you feel your nonprofit spends enough time preparing and launching fundraising campaigns?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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