As fundraisers, December is filled with a lot of “hurry up” and “wait.” You probably have a sense of how your holiday fundraising efforts are going, but there’s the unknown factor of year-end giving. You diligently follow best practices — you welcome new donors, send them thank-you letters, and connect with the faithful supporters from whom you’ve yet to hear. You may also be gearing up for the inevitable internal and external reporting that will need to be done as quickly as possible in the first few weeks of January.
Chances are, you are also thinking about the new year and wondering what you can do to impact it, in whatever spare moments you may have.
Before you add an additional donor event to your 2020 calendar or purchase the latest cutting-edge tool to help you communicate with your donors in a new and different way, consider another priority. Take a fresh look at your organization’s greatest fundraising asset — your donor file — through the lens of an in-depth donor analytics study.
Here’s how to bring in major dollars for your charity: Improve your understanding of your donor analytics.
You’ve likely heard statements like these:
- “People who used to give $20 to 10 organizations are now giving $40 to 5 organizations”
- “People who used to send a check are now making their donation via other channels.”
It’s true that the way people give is changing. There are also fluctuations in historical giving cycles. While these trends are important, they can’t be the only intel being used to make strategic fundraising decisions in the coming year.
In addition to traditional aggregated metrics that describe seasonal giving, campaign results, and channel-level ROI reporting, make sure to invest the time to analyze retention, conversion, gift frequency, and average gift. Technology today allows you to efficiently segment donors by discovering answers to questions like:
- “Who has engaged with us in multiple ways such as volunteering, taking a tour, or donating household items?”
- “Which donors have increased their giving year over year?”
- “Whose giving has decreased?”
- “Which donors have the capacity to give at a higher level?”
Answers to these questions help you to identify patterns, trends, deficiencies, and opportunities in your donor file. You can leverage these learnings in your future donor marketing plans to improve your donors’ behaviors and your charity’s ROI.
Regular detailed analysis also allows your team to save your most precious resource: time. That’s time you can spend prioritizing your contacts and focusing on building relationships with the donors most likely to respond. Equally important, in-depth donor level analysis allows you to identify both positive and negative trends that may be hidden by changes to your acquisition program, your second gift conversion strategy, database flagging, or any number of other variables that could affect your donor giving patterns.
Whether you have a one-man development team or a large development staff that includes people focused on personally cultivating donor relationships, there is never enough time to contact everyone you would like. Donor analytics gives you the ability to create a donor marketing program that feels like it’s tailored just for her.
Within the world of nonprofit development, your goal is to move donors from a transactional relationship with your charity to one that is transformational. Analytics might not be the shiniest tool in the box, but it might just be the most valuable.
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