The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

How to Use Your Data to Get Closer to Supporters & Prospects

As a fundraiser, one of the toughest parts of your job is finding (and keeping) loyal donors. This is an especially difficult task in the face of uncertain economic times. Mix in our crazy presidential election ramp up, and you’re left with a foolproof recipe for widespread anxiety and skepticism.

I know that these barriers are hard to transcend, but there is a way to build deep and lasting connections with your targeted donors and prospects. And that way is paved with data that you already have. Let me tell you what I mean.

Use Giving to Date to Shape Your Future Approach

The easiest place to start is with what you already know. Dig into your donor database and focus on donors from the last two years, especially those who are high-ticket givers or have given three or more years in a row.  Retaining these folks is your absolute priority!

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Next, look for trends or patterns to help you deliver the strongest possible ask to each donor (or, more realistically, to small groups of donors). Here are two questions you can answer with data you’re likely to have on hand:

  • What do your monthly donors look like?
    • Get a clear picture of your monthly donors, especially those who are newly committed to monthly giving. These folks are loyal and most likely to become long-term supporters.
    • See if other prospects share some of the same characteristics, and then launch a campaign to convert them into monthly donors.
  • Who’s made a significantly larger gift than ever before within the last six months?
    • Make a personal thank you calls (a personal note otherwise), and ask what spurred the latest gift. There may be more donors about to experience the same situation and likely to respond to a focused ask. Plus, these folks may be ripe for major gift prospecting.

Reach Broader to Fine-Tune Messages, Channels, and Timing
Don’t stop with your donor database. Your organization will find equally valuable insights in sources as like your email system, volunteer database, Facebook and Twitter analytics, and online survey findings.

These sources provide priceless clues about donor habits. The most reliable way to reach your donors or prospects will always be:

  • Where they already are (For example, in their email inboxes or Facebook accounts).
  • At the times and on the days they tend to be there (when they open or click emails, sign your online petition, or retweet a recent tweet from your organization).

You can also use these sources to sharpen your insights into your donors’ passions and values, so you can ensure your campaigns reach and resonate with them. For example, use your volunteer data to find out: 

  • How many current or recent donors were volunteers first (and whether they still are or not)?

If there’s a significant percentage of donors who entered the organization as volunteers:

  • Consider launching a donor recruitment campaign to current volunteers that features profiles of existing donors who are or were volunteers.
  • If you need to build your volunteer corps, cross-promote those opportunities to similar donors who are not current volunteers.

When it comes to data, there’s SO much power in the information that’s already at your fingertips. I can’t wait to hear what you do with it!

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About This Blog

Linda Lombardi

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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