What Are You Doing with Your Donor Data?

Donor Data Segmentation

So you’ve spent weeks, months, or even years collecting every bit of information that your donors produce. Your donor data may include phone numbers, emails, birthdays, donotion history, and even meal preferences.

Now that you have donor data, what are you going to do with all of that information?

First, when it comes to donor data, you must avoid “Analysis Paralysis”.  It’s easy to look at a large data set and become overwhelmed with figuring out where to start. Let’s look at breaking down your donor data into actionable items.

Be Strategic with Donor Management and Messaging

Painting an accurate profile is one of the most important things you can do with your donor management system. Every piece of contact information and donor history forms the decisions you make on how to approach them for more support for your organization. You definitely want to invest in a donor management system that can keep all your information in one spot; with logins so your staff and volunteers can access and update the information themselves.

There are several ways to contact your supporters, and as technology progresses, those channels have multiplied. The easiest thing to remember is to have your messaging spread across as many of those channels as possible. Social media provides a great, free outlet to contact those who subscribe to your pages or channels, but there’s not a way to segment those messages beyond mass appeals.

Donor segmentation may seem like a daunting task, but it’s important to remember, if you have data, you can segment.

    1. Run queries. Run as many as possible. Take a training class with your donor management system and ask specifically what you need to do to filter and find the thresholds that separate your donors from major funders.
    2. Place as many fields as you need in your queries. It’s easy to cull the data once in a spreadsheet, so it’s best to start with more data than you need.
    3. Use your mailing list effectively. If you’re running a mailing list, put a note in their record that they were included on that mailing or email list. It’s crucial to look back and see if they were included in your event invite or were included in your direct mail appeal for the end of year gift—and helps you determine if you already contacted them. Donors may not like being asked for an appeal more than once.
    4. Run the query based upon what you’re asking. If you are looking at sending out event invites, run the query for anyone who’s bought an admission or sponsorship for your event previously. They’ll probably want to return to your event and have a good time!
    5. If you have a returning donor, don’t be afraid to ask for a little bit more than last time. If they gave previously, and you’ve been a good steward of their donation and effectively communicate how far their donation went, they’re more likely to increase their donation amount.

Thank your Donors and Attendees

After wrapping up a fundraising event or online campaign, be sure to thank your donors and event attendees as quickly as possible with information for tax purposes, and most importantly a personalized message. Ideally this will include a  hand-written note from an executive staff or board member—which can quickly turn a one-time donation into a recurring one.

By being organized, strategic and timely with your donor management, you will find you create a growing community of supporters!

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