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Data Analysis: Now’s the Time to Dive into Your Donor Database

People want to know. Whether it’s donors, volunteers or clients, people want to know that your organization is doing what it claims to be doing.

People want proof and that proof is in the data your organization collects and shares, such as:

  • Measuring the impact of your programs.
  • Tracking your expenses and revenue.
  • Program decisions based on community needs assessments.
  • Sharing the impact and challenges of your programs with your donors.
  • Fundraising appeals based on past donor engagement.

Good Data vs. Bad Data
The information in your database is only as good as what is put into it. 1,000 email addresses are not worth much if there are no names or giving history attached to them. Whether you have one person entering data or everyone has access to the database, you need data entry guidelines. Rules help keep the data clean, and avoid duplicate, incomplete, and inaccurate records.

Collecting, processing, and analyzing data helps a nonprofit organization fulfill its mission and serve their community. Good data helps nonprofits track progress over time and see which programs, tactics, strategies are working or not. And this information helps tell a compelling story to retain and attract donors and volunteers.

This brings me to data segmentation. In addition to the basic data points such as name, address, and payment method, you also want to be able to consider and analyze donation amounts, giving dates, frequency and the appeal or campaign the donor gave to. This detailed information can help you customize your appeals to specific donor patterns.

Other Data
In addition to Donor Data there are three other types of data to collect and analyze:

  • Marketing and Campaign Data
    • Newsletter subscriptions
    • Socials engagement
    • Click rates
  • Website Data
    • Website traffic
    • Traffic sources
    • Engagement and/or bounce rate
    • Conversion rate

Google Analytics is a free tool to track these and other website data points.

  • External Data
    • Data that is collected from public records, research, or privately funded surveys.

There is a lot of data to keep track of, but the bottom line is data must be useful to your organization. Many nonprofits do not have a staff person dedicated to database management, but that does not mean your organization should ignore data collection and analysis. Do what you can, be consistent, and use it to serve your community in the best way possible.

Resources for this article:
Double The Donation
Big Sea

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