How to Use Data-Informed Fundraising to Drive Impact

First Republic Bank
September 10, 2021

As nonprofits plan year-end fundraising campaigns, it is important to consider how data can improve fundraising strategy. First Republic invited team members from Lightful, a technology company powering environmental and social change, to speak to members of our Fundraisers Alliance about best practices for data-informed fundraising.

What kind of data is important for fundraising

There are many ways to gather donor data, and every interaction is an opportunity to learn more about your donors.

  • Basic data, such as the donor’s name, location and contact information, is typically gathered first through a donation form.
  • Advanced data, including a donor’s interests, employment status and other causes they support, can come through survey responses, social media behavior and even one-on-one conversations.
  • Engagement data shows the growth of the donor’s relationship to an organization over time by tracking behavior such as giving history, event attendance and volunteer participation.

Gathering data on your donors can help you better understand their motivations for giving,  strengthen your relationships with them, make informed decisions and develop long-term strategies that drive impact.

When developing strategies based on data, it’s important to be goal-oriented. “The data that you collect from different touchpoints should always reflect what your goals are as an organization,” says Pumulo Banda, Lightful’s Lead Relationship Manager. “And you should have a clear understanding of how you’re going to measure that goal.”

How to build effective fundraising campaigns using data

With the data you collect, you can build more effective fundraising campaigns, and in turn use campaign results as new data points. Róisín McGovern, Lightful’s Digital Fundraising Coach, says, “Data equips you to make big decisions, influence fundraising and growth strategies, and test new ideas at your organization.”

Data can help with:

  • Donor segmentation: Grouping donors into segments — for example, monthly, first-time or major donors — allows you to create campaign content specific to donors’ behavior.
  • Targeting and personalization: Building specific, personalized engagement opportunities can boost donor participation and potentially increase giving. It is also a smart way to identify and re-engage donors who have lapsed.
  • Making informed predictions: Developing a strategy based on donor behavior such as giving history helps you more accurately predict results.

How to manage and protect donor data

Data you collect needs to be stored securely and managed properly. “This is important for data privacy reasons, and it’s important for gaining your donors’ trust,” advises Róisín. Considerations for data protection include:

  • Secure storage: Decide how to store data, such as in a constituent relationship management (CRM) software, an online fundraising platform or password-protected spreadsheets.
  • Collection and management: Decide what data is collected, how often and who is in charge of data collection and management. Only collecting data that is useful towards your goals cuts down on storage space usage and keeps sensitive information secure.
  • Trust and safety: Invest in security measures, such as protection software and two-factor authentication. Make sure your organization is following data privacy regulations, such as The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.)

More ways to enhance fundraising strategies

For more insights on how data-informed fundraising can strengthen your organization’s year-end campaigns, watch the recording of Lightful’s full presentation.

If you are interested in attending more sessions like this one, we welcome you to learn more about First Republic’s Fundraisers Alliance: a complimentary educational group for nonprofit professionals to deepen fundraising skills, share best practices and learn from peers and best-in-class service providers. First Republic is proud to offer the Fundraisers Alliance as a part of our commitment to mission-driven organizations.

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The views of the interviewee of this article do not necessarily represent the views of First Republic Bank. This information is governed by our Terms and Conditions of Use.