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Utilizing Data Analytics for Effective Fundraising
This Giving Tuesday, invite your donors to join the generosity movement. During the process, learn more about what propels them to give
The annual celebration of Giving Tuesday is November 28, 2023. Have you been listening to your donors? If you have been taking notes and learning how your target audience behaves, now is the time to put your plan into action.
In one day, your company, cause, or community has an opportunity to participate in one of your biggest fundraising successes. It won’t happen by chance, though. A successful Giving Tuesday takes watching — and listening.
Yes, surveys are helpful. Phone calls and focus groups are valuable, too. One of the most consistent indicators of how to move is numbers, though. We’re talking about analytics because numbers don’t lie.
From your monthly views to the number of conversions, watching these numbers regularly makes a big difference. Plan for the big days in fundraising by putting in the hard work year-round.
Utilizing data analytics is one of the most effective fundraising strategies to share. Analytics relies on facts instead of feelings. While business owners and content creators can get caught up on what they view as success, analytics give a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
What is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is all about generosity, and the organizers created it to encourage people to do good every Tuesday. Once a year, the world celebrates it together. Organizers encourage people to show their generosity in a variety of ways. Whether helping a neighbor or making a donation to your local charity, we can all be more generous.
Giving Tuesday began in 2012, and it continues to be among the most popular fundraising days. The Giving Tuesday hashtag is a significant trending moment, and you would miss the moment if you chose not to participate. Simply adding the hashtag to social media introduces your cause, community or company to new donors.
For companies and organizations, this day offers one more way to attract the attention of donors and friends — and it’s all for a great cause. If you planned well, now is your time to put your analytics to the test. If you identified your ambassadors, invite them to use their megaphone on social media.
What is the Value of Data Analytics?
If you are already feeling overwhelmed at the thought of this term, take a deep breath. Think about data analytics as looking at the numbers, identifying patterns, and making decisions.
Using this important information is one of the ways to continue doing what works and pivot when the plan is no longer working. Consider analytics in three groups, according to NPOInfo: descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive.
Descriptive analytics provide data on how your donors behave. Think about factors such as how much a donor gives, how they give, and their demographics.
Predictive analytics give nonprofit decision-makers more information on how to predict their donors’ behaviors. While looking at the numbers, it’s all about identifying patterns and trends.
When you take the information you have collected from descriptive analytics and predictive analytics, you can begin the process of prescriptive analytics or creating a campaign strategy.
How Non-Profits Use Analytics
If you’re ready to pull out your calculator and spreadsheet, you’re missing a step. The best way to successfully utilize data analytics for effective fundraising is to have a plan. Each business is different, and metrics may serve different purposes.
Starting with your website, consider factors that indicate people are finding what they need. Look at website traffic, conversions, and the amount of time visitors are spending on your website. Analyzing these three areas can quickly tell you the health of one major part of your fundraising plan. If you are directing people to give on your website on Giving Tuesday, it should be the one place performing well.
Now, it’s time to gather some information.
LinkedIn offers a few steps to follow when using analytics to improve fundraising outcomes.
Step 1: Set SMART Goals
Without a list of goals, what was the point of spending time looking at behaviors, numbers, and patterns? Create a plan that allows you to use your data most effectively.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Your organization, for example, may have a goal of increasing conversions. Your goal may be to see an increase by a specific percentage. Doing the math will help you quickly identify whether you reached your goal.
With goals, you will use the data you have gathered to create a successful campaign. If you learned what caused an increase in conversions, you will apply these principles moving forward.
Step 2: Collect Your Data
Are you guessing about your audience demographics, or do you have a safe place to find the information? For many organizations, data lives in a donor management system. From giving patterns to demographics, a donor management system is a one-stop-shop for all things donors.
Here’s the catch: A donor management system only works well if you take the time to enter information consistently and accurately. You also want to make sure you are legally and ethically collecting data from donors.
Set aside a designated time to update the management system and assign a team member to check in on the data. Donor management systems are one of your greatest resources.
Step 3: Analyze Your Data
What do you see? Now is the time to take notes of patterns and behaviors. As mentioned above, you can use this information to predict your donors’ next steps. You can also use this information to create a new fundraising strategy based on new information.
Analyzing data takes time but it is worth every moment. Rely on visual tools to put all of the pieces together. From charts and graphs to spreadsheets, see which way the numbers are telling you to move.
Step 4: Dig into the Details
With new information, it now becomes easier to segment your audience for tailor-made campaigns. Learn which groups need different messaging, delivery times, etc. Understanding each audience’s needs can make a big difference in the success of your next campaign.
While you are digging into the details, you also have the opportunity to perform tests before a big campaign.
Step 5: Monitor and Adjust
You now have more information about your donors. Whether you know more about what they love or what they will do next, make time for tweaks. Monitoring in real-time allows you to make changes during the process. Imagine wasting thousands of dollars when updating a link or changing a word could have made a campaign successful.
Changes to your campaign may include the following:
- Increasing or decreasing the frequency of communication
- Changing the delivery method or delivery time
- Personalizing messages based on demographics
- Choosing new words, photos, or colors based on A/B testing
- Going back to the beginning and starting a new campaign
This Giving Tuesday, invite your donors to join the generosity movement. During the process, learn more about what propels them to give. Learn more about your audience, predict their next steps, and create your best campaign yet.