What Are You Doing with Your Donor Data?

Donor Data and Relationships in Fundraising

Donor Data Management

How To Supercharge Relationships

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

With the rise of online donor engagement, data collection is a natural part of modern fundraising. You collect information at every turn, whether someone fills out your donation form, registers for an event, interacts with you on social media, or browses your website. However, it can be easy to get lost if you don’t know which information is helpful to your nonprofit.
To help, we’ve put together this guide to break down your donor data management into actionable items. That way, you can transform the masses of information stored in your CRM into insightful tidbits. Here’s what you can expect in this guide:

  • Gather relevant donor data.
  • Organize and segment your data in your CRM.
  • Deliver relevant appeals.
  • Identify opportunities to increase donors’ value.

You can supercharge meaningful relationships when you implement smart donor data management processes. Let’s get started.

Gather Relevant Donor Data.

Gathering donor data requires a thoughtful approach that ensures the information you collect is helpful to your fundraising and marketing teams.
Here are the key pieces of information we suggest gathering:

  • Contact details: Gather donors’ names, email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses. Accurate contact details ensure your appeals are delivered successfully, so you can continue stewarding donor relationships.
  • Communication preferences: Know which channels donors prefer being contacted on. Respect their preferences by understanding if they prefer email, direct mail, phone calls, or social media outreach.
  • Giving history: Better understand donors’ giving patterns and preferences by tracking donation amounts, frequency, dates, and specific campaigns they’ve supported. ● Demographics and location: Gather demographic details like age, birthdate, and marital status in addition to geographic location.
  • Employer information: Knowing where your donors work enables you to tap into corporate philanthropy opportunities like matching gifts and volunteer grants. ● Interests: Understanding your donors’ interests, hobbies, and philanthropic passions can help personalize outreach.
  • Giving capacity: While not always readily available, you can gather wealth indicators to determine giving capacity. This can help locate major gift prospects or upgrade opportunities.

When deciding what information to gather, determine your organization’s must-know data points and avoid filling your CRM with unnecessary details.

Fill In Gaps With Data Appends.

In your CRM, you might notice gaps in supporters’ profiles. Alternatively, you might notice your donor response rates are low, indicating that some of your data is outdated or inaccurate. That’s where data appending comes in handy.

As explained in NPOInfo’s data append services guide, appending is the process of filling any gaps in your database. This process is used to supplement existing data and to correct outdated or otherwise inaccurate data. It involves comparing your CRM’s data with information from an external, more comprehensive database of publicly available information.

Depending on your nonprofit’s needs, you can append all sorts of information. Append employer data, contact information, demographic data, and wealth data to ensure everything’s up-to-date. Here’s how the process works when you partner with an append provider:

  1. Format and upload your data. Put your donor data in one format, typically a comma-separated value (CSV) format, to be analyzed. Then, send it to your service provider. Indicate which data points you’d like appended.
  2.  The provider matches your data. The provider will match the data you shared to their more comprehensive database of information. Using the details you gave them, they’ll be able to correctly identify your donors and pinpoint any missing or outdated information in your system.
  3. The provider enhances your data. They’ll correct any inaccuracies and fill in any missing data. They’ll likely validate whether it’s correct, too. For instance, they may check that emails in the dataset don’t trigger failed delivery messages.
  4. You’ll receive your data. After the process is complete, their team will send the data file back to you. They’ll likely offer it in any format you need to upload the data to your CRM easily.

Leveraging appending services means you can ensure any data you have is accurate and complete. The result will be more insightful donor profiles. In no time, you can deliver more relevant appeals and ensure your donors receive your outreach.

Organize and Segment Your Data In Your CRM.

Now, you need a place to put all of your data. That’s where your CRM, also known as a donor management system, comes into play. With your CRM, you can create better outreach appeals using donor data. Specifically, you can segment to ensure your communications are as relevant to each donor as possible.

FreeWill’s donor stewardship guide explains that the segmentation process “allows you to tailor your communications to groups of donors differentiated by their gift frequency, size, type, or any other characteristic you find useful.” Donor segmentation may seem daunting at first, but if you have data, you can segment it.
Organize your CRM and maximize features like segmentation with these best practices:

  1.  Run queries. You’ll want to know how to pull information that meets certain criteria from your database. To help, take a training class for your donor management system and ask 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 easier to cull the data once it’s in a spreadsheet than to go back and add more later.
  3. Use your mailing list effectively. Put a note in supporters’ records indicating if they’re included in a mailing or email list. You can look back and see if they were included in specific outreach, helping you determine if you already contacted them.
  4. Run the query based on what you’re asking. For example, let’s say you’re sending out event invites. To set up your event for success, run a query for anyone who registered for previous events. They’ll probably want to support your next one, too!

Organizing data within your CRM and leveraging segmentation will enable you to craft meaningful outreach and deliver appeals to likely supporters.

Deliver Relevant Appeals.

How will you use the information you’ve gathered to kickstart meaningful relationships? Let’s start with using your donor data to select the opportunities you promote.
Donors’ giving history can be an incredibly helpful data point. You can leverage it to craft targeted fundraising appeals and tailored messaging that resonates with them. Let’s take a look at a few examples of this in action:

  • Promote opportunities that speak to them. Looking at your data, identify trends in donors’ past giving history. For example, maybe they’ve historically given to your animal shelter’s rescue program or attended your annual 5K fundraiser. Knowing these details, you can share information about specific programs or events.
  • Reach out during important times. For example, maybe you want to send a special birthday message to let them know you’re thinking of them. Or, maybe they’ve donated around the end of the year for the past few years. Use notable dates to guide the opportunities you send.
  • Thank attendees immediately post-event. After wrapping up a fundraising event or online campaign, thank your donors and event attendees as quickly as possible. Ideally, this will include a handwritten note from an executive staff or board member, which can turn one-time support into an ongoing relationship.

Sending relevant appeals to donors will communicate that you pay attention to their preferences. This will naturally strengthen your relationships and inspire them to continue giving.

Identify Opportunities to Increase Donors’ Value.

Strengthening donor relationships means inspiring people to grow their support over time. Luckily, your donor data can help out with this!
Analyze your donor data to identify upgrade opportunities. Pay special attention to giving history, engagement level, and interests when doing this. As you explore your donor data, keep these tips in mind to inspire donors to increase their support:

  • Look for individuals who’ve given more over time. Look closely at those who have consistently increased their donations. With your next appeal, don’t be afraid to ask for a little more than last time. You can suggest an incrementally larger gift based on how much they’ve increased their gifts in the past.
  • Pinpoint recurring donors. Similarly, pay attention to donors who consistently give to your nonprofit. Anyone who gives regularly might be inclined to join your recurring giving program.
  • Segment donors based on capacity. Group donors based on wealth indicators. Focus on donors who have the capacity to make larger contributions than what they’ve historically given.
  • Assess engagement level. Look at other ways donors have given beyond regular donations. This can include participation in events, volunteer activities, or other forms of involvement. Those with high engagement levels are more likely to be receptive to an upsell opportunity.

Effective donor data management means you can successfully upgrade support over time. Test out these strategies and see what else your team can come up with to fuel engagement over time.

Wrapping Up

Each piece of information stored in your database fits together to paint a picture of who each donor is. Put your donor data to use with the tips we’ve recommended.

Leveraging donor data to power your stewardship efforts means you can boost donor retention and grow each donor’s lifetime value. By being organized, strategic, and timely with your donor management, you’ll create a growing community of supporters!

Event Software Ad

Share your thoughts