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fundraising-data-management

How to Optimize Your Nonprofit Donations With Fundraising Data Management

Léa

If you have spent any time working for a nonprofit, you know just how important fundraising is. It is the main source of income for most organizations, and as such should be treated with care and the desire to maximize any campaign’s potential. While most nonprofits know this, they may struggle with understanding how to bring about the most successful fundraisers. One thing they should never overlook is the importance of data management, the process of sifting through the numbers and statistics regarding their donor engagement to see what kind of an impact their communications are making.

In this article we will examine the concept of fundraising data management, explore the benefits, and offer the best practices that will help your organization maximize all donation opportunities. We will even discuss how to find the best fundraising software so that your nonprofit can streamline its processes, saving both time and money that can be better spent elsewhere!

Let’s go!

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What is Fundraising Data Management? 

Fundraising data management is a term used to describe a series of systems and analytics that allow nonprofits to understand the extent of their donor reach and engagement. These systems have been designed to optimize and consolidate information necessary to an organization’s  awareness of how to best engage with their donor base, not simply through soliciting funds, but by grasping what drives their supporters to give in the first place. 

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Benefits of Fundraising Data Management for Your Nonprofit

The number one benefit of implementing data management systems is increased efficiency. With an automated central donor database, you have access to any targeted information you need right at your fingertips. There is no need to waste your staff’s time with research and analysis when they could be spending it on tasks that use this data to forward your mission. 

Another important aspect of data management is the use of data analysis to understand how to improve your fundraising campaigns, or to better fit them to your target audience. A lot of planning goes into an event, and during and after there should be an analysis of what worked well and what can be improved next time. 

fundraising-data-management-benefitsThea is ready to dive into fundraising data management!

You can also use data management to create personalized donation requests by segmenting your donor data by almost any metric. Solicit donors who have yet to give this year, donors who have family or friends that benefit from your mission, or donors who missed a particular event they typically attend. 

In the end, fundraising data management practices exist to make furthering your organization’s cause both easier and more efficient. 

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Best Practices for Fundraising Data Management

Next, let’s take a closer look at some systems you can implement at your nonprofit to take your data management to the next level. 

Create a Detailed Donor Database 

A donor database, aka a constituent relationship manager (CRM), is a valuable tool to gather essential information on each of your nonprofit’s supporters. This system can track, organize, and manage contact information, details on interactions with your organization, and donation history. 

Each donor has a profile that includes data like:

  • Name

  • Location

  • How they prefer to communicate (via email, social media, post, etc)

  • Profession

  • Giving history, including online donation trends

  • Notes on how and why they became involved with your nonprofit

This information can be used to bring about a variety of efforts, such as identifying and reaching out to donors who have stopped giving, sending targeted emails or communication to specific groups, or analyzing attendance to a donor event. The first step to successful fundraising is understanding donors. And the first step to understanding donors is gathering and cataloging data.  

Segment Data to Target Your Campaigns

Segmenting involves dividing your contributors into smaller groups based on shared attributes. It allows you to personalize your fundraising campaigns by any number of metrics such as demographics, past event attendance, giving history, or past volunteer work with your organization

When you have detailed information on your donors, you can truly personalize their experience with your nonprofit. Like anyone, your supporters want to feel like they are true partners in the mission, and that what they do matters. Your organization can ensure this is conveyed through personalized communications. When your donors feel like they are appreciated, they are far more likely to continue supporting your nonprofit. 

Another thing to remember is that with a donor database, you can keep your retention numbers high. Without automation, it is easy to let someone fall through the cracks. But by running filters and doing occasional check-ins, you can catch the people that have missed their usual donation and find out what the issue is before it becomes a bone of contention. 

Use Data Analysis to Increase Fundraising Impact

Managing donor information is also integral to creating the most effective fundraisers. In the early planning stages, do a quick analysis of the data to decide what kind of event would be most likely to gain traction with your supporters. 

For example, if most of your donors are young professionals it may be a good idea to launch an online peer-to-peer campaign. With your fundraising software you can create a donation page that can be used by supporters to make their own pages. No matter how busy they are, they can find the time to share these donation pages on their social media networks. P2P is one of the best ways to collect donations online. 

If your nonprofit works with a lot of young families, then you can build a fundraiser around a family friendly event like a picnic, scavenger hunt, or touch-a-truck. 

fundraising-data-management-best-practicesIncreasing fundraising impact? Emily is all about it!

An older, more financially endowed base may prefer a swanky donor event like a gala or silent auction. Having the right data can inform you just how to get the most out of your fundraisers. 

After the event, you can use information in your database to determine whether there should be changes next time. What did the attendance numbers look like? Did the event attract new donors, and engage current donors? How much was given compared to previous events? This info can help you identify areas of excellence as well as areas of opportunity for future fundraisers. 

Integrate Your Systems

When your nonprofit decides to embrace automation in its systems, it is important that your various software platforms work together seamlessly. With the right software you can collect data in real-time during social media giving campaigns or even in-person events. Card payment machines for charities will record the donation and send it straight to the database. When your CRM works with your fundraising software, you can easily get all the information you need to ensure that your event is engaging the right people. 

Pro Tip: Your best bet when working with donor management software is to find a platform that offers many of the features that your nonprofit needs. The fewer systems you use, the better because you will be less inclined to encounter the potential for integration issues. That is why companies like Springly offer a large variety of nonprofit solutions on one platform: fundraising capabilities, CRM, robust reporting and analytics, and simple integrations. 

Maintain Your Donor Data 

To ensure that you are working with the best information you possibly can, you need to keep that information up-to-date. Maintaining a clean database means doing the following:

  • Update your software. Your vendor should provide updates regularly to keep the software compatible with changing technology, and correct any bugs in the system. Have your staff on the lookout for updates, and make sure they are installed whenever available. 

  • Clean Your Records. Merge duplicate profiles, purge lapsed donors, update donor information and add any additional information (you can send a quick email blast to gather info), and correct any email addresses that bounce back. 

  • Backup your data. It is imperative to have your database backed up at all times. Create a new backup anytime you clean or make changes to your database. 

By keeping your records in top form, you will be sure that you are reaching all of your donors through the communication channels that they are most likely to stay on top of. 

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Finding the Best Fundraising Data Management Software for your Organization

Fundraising data management software is not one size fits all. Before you start looking, first sit down with a few members of your fundraising team and talk about what your nonprofit needs. A software vendor can charge anything from nothing (free basic program with limited features) to several hundred dollars a month. You want to make sure that the software you choose gives you the most for your money, while staying within your budget. 

Here are some questions you may ask yourself:

  • Does our organization need to build a website, or do we need to focus on integrating software to an existing website?

  • What are our accounting needs? 

  • Do we already have software that allows us to create and run online and in-person events, or do we need this feature?

  • If our organization already has a website, database, fundraising tools, or payment processing, are we happy with these existing systems or would it be better to find a vendor that offers an all-in-one solution? 

For many nonprofits, it is worthwhile to find a software that offers a variety of features that streamlines their systems. Nonprofit membership management software companies like Springly make data management simple by providing all of the tools necessary for fundraising in one place. This includes nonprofit CRM software, fundraising software, data analytics, accounting software, and payment processing. 

fundraising-data-management-finding-the-best-softwareOliver is feeling great with all this newfound knowledge!

Often these companies offer free trials and tiered pricing so that your nonprofit can find a solution that works into the budget. If there is a feature you can do without because you already have a system in place, you can always ask if the new software will work with the existing software. A customer support professional can help navigate these questions and help you find what you need as long as you know what you’re looking for. 

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Final Thoughts 

Running a nonprofit organization requires drive, passion, creativity, strong communication, and any number of talents that can only be offered by human skill. However, to get the most out of these skills, nonprofits also need to work with data that ensures that they’re being put to good use and directed in the most effective way. 

Fundraising data management is necessary to save your staff time and money, as well as help maximize donor reach. By automating all of the systems that can be automated, your team will be able to focus more on the side of fundraising that requires the human touch. Not to mention that the gathered information allows for a truly personalized experience for donors. By implementing these data management systems, you can make your donors feel like true partners, and keep them invested in your mission for years to come. 

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FAQ

💡How do you create a fundraising database?

The best way to create a fundraising database is to find a trusted nonprofit data management software and transfer all of your donor data into the new system. Whether you have paper files or spreadsheets, have an individual on staff (or even a team) take time to enter all of the information into your database. This would also be a good time to reach out to your donors to ask for any updates, and to clean up any duplicates or outdated information. Find out more. 

🔑 How do you analyze donor data?

With an automated donor data base, analysis is easy. You can simply run filtered reports using any parameters you like to sort out your donors. Find out who is giving at specific events. Gather all of the repeat donors. Look for donors who missed a payment (or payments). Find out more. 

📝 What should a fundraising CRM do?

CRM should make soliciting donors more simple, effective, and personalized. The database can store, sort, and filter your donor information so that you can optimize donation asks, fundraising events, and create a solid channel of communication with your supporters. Find out more.  

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