A Deep Dive Into Data Collection

Accurately entered donor information is invaluable to fundraising.

It tells you who your contributors are and provide the foundation for all the strategies and tactics that will get you to your goals.

Acquiring data at an event ensures you get the most current, accurate information. However, capturing the information that will best aid you in your planning could be overlooked if you don’t have an understanding of how that information can benefit your efforts. During the chaos of event night, details included in a donor’s information can be overlooked, important steps can be missed, and too often data is entered incorrectly. This provides you with misleading information that can take you blindly down the wrong path when planning your next fundraising campaign.

Let’s dig into the characteristics, the challenges, and the motivations behind data collection.

Types of data

When you are looking at data each bit of information you glean, whether it is basic contact information or trends in giving, is meant to help you succeed in one area of the organization or another. There is administrative data (name, address, etc.), relationship data (associations, businesses, etc.), marketing data (what campaigns did they respond to), and, the most important to your fundraising efforts, a donor’s financial data. These data types make up your toolbox for effectively working with your donors.

Zero in on prospect data

  Greater Giving recommends providing online registration so you have accurate data prior to the event along with guest information in your fundraising software for faster check-in. See How Here.

Once you have the strategies nailed down for your next campaign or project, turn your laser-focused attention on the donors whom you can assume from the data would most likely support your project. With good data collection, you will be able to sift through the information based on the donor characteristics that best match your needs.

Examine donor and gift retention

What can you expect of your donors when you make the call to contribute? Your data can give you insights into when, where, why, and how much you can expect your donor group will give. From there you can plan your project around those numbers, set fundraising goals, and watch for trends in giving that will help you plan better fundraising initiatives.

Get smart with your donor relationships

Communicating effectively with your donors will take you far in your fundraising. Fine-tuning your message with the help of your data collection can help you offer just the right pitch to the appropriate people. Maybe you have a large number of donors who live near a country club. Make a point to book that venue for a future event.

Make the most of business connections

Exploring your data for key relationships among donors provides another avenue to fundraising. Your donors may have relationships with organizations or corporate entities that you could potentially turn into major contributors.

Explore alternate ways to give

 Streamline your event using tips from Greater Giving’s recent webinar “5 Keys to Efficient Event Setup” with Siri Lippy, Greater Giving’s Senior Professional Event Services Manager. She offers best practices for running both automated and manual benefit auctions.

Effective data records can also clue you in to other ways your donor groups would likely be motivated to give. Maybe a large number of regular donors belong to a professional group, plan an event that may be of interest to them and the people they associate within their professional lives. For example, you may notice a large number of your donors work for a local tech company. Consider hosting an event with a robotics theme with activities that allow them to explore other areas of technology. This can also help you refine the pitch about your organization so it can better resonate with that particular crowd.

Problems with data collection

Protecting sensitive data is always a concern. Don’t let the valuable information you’ve collected slip away on a spreadsheet or become vulnerable to interference. Pick a reliable method for collecting and storing information.

Relying on data makes accuracy imperative, as well. When you work from corrupted data, you’ll be heading down the wrong path blindly, ending in uncharted territory where you’ll have to find your way back to the start of your project to revise and refine your data to match your needs. This is time-consuming and can make your approach less effective.

Data collection is an entity all its own. Learning about the macro qualities of data to achieve the micro-goals of your fundraising goals can help you effectively plan your next event.

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