Why Nonprofits Fail to Make the Most of Their Donors
**You love your donors and you want them to love you. **
You craft amazing campaigns. Powerful messages, moving stories, carefully constructed asks. You believe in your mission and you are very good at connecting with others who do, too.
But you arent getting the donations that you need, and you keep losing donors. Its like your donations are a leaky bucket. You work harder and harder, create more campaigns, reach out to more people, but you cant keep the donors youve got or raise as much as you need to. You are not alone. **Only sixty-three percent of organizations meet their fundraising goals. **The average nonprofit is missing out on over three and a half MILLION dollars in donations because they arent maximizing their data.
Information about your donors and campaigns is all over the place. You have no way to bring it all together so you can understand giving patterns for ALL your donors and improve the overall donor experience. Bringing data together is a new thing for nonprofits. And its powerful.
You can improve your donor experience, send the right messages to the right people and increase your donor base and your donations. You already have the data to do it.** In this post we will explain how. **
Create a Blueprint
You have lots of data, in lots of different places. But you cant get your arms around whats there and what is possible. You are overwhelmed and stressed out just thinking about it. You need to understand how all the measures together answer the big questions about which donors respond to what appeals and what the best way is to move donors from interest to impact. But you dont even know where to begin. You feel like you are trying to build a house with a napkin sketch and a roll of duct tape.
The first step is to create a blueprint of what data you collect, where it all lives, and what is actually important to you to do your job. With this you can have a clear understanding of the gold mine you have at your disposal.
Mary had great donors who were committed to her organization and their mission of helping victims of human trafficking. She had several databases for her digital marketing, planned giving, and annual fund campaigns but no idea how to get the right information out of them. She was overwhelmed, paralyzed with indecision, and had no idea what to do. She didnt know if she needed a new database, a new staff person, or a new job!
We worked with Mary to create a blueprint of her data, laying out all the information, where it was stored, and what could be done with it. After working with us she knew exactly what she needed to do to get answers to her questions. She had a clear sense of what she had, what was important, and where it was all living.
Bring It All Together
**You have lots of data, but its trapped in different places, making it hard for you to get the information you need to be effective. **Your colleagues are all using something different to track their work, and you are stuck looking at reports that are disconnected, with no way of knowing whether a donor is giving in a variety of ways, or whether your annual giving campaign or your digital marketing brings in more donors.
To break out of these compartments you need to connect all your sources of data and relate them to each other. Its like having a ventilation system for your house. Instead of running from room to room turning on the window AC units, you connect all the rooms with ductwork so the air efficiently moves from one place to the next.
When we first met Janet, a successful fundraiser, working with a national nonprofit, she was struggling to see who was giving, when and how much they gave, and what drove clients to move from asking for more information to actually making a gift to her organization.
She kept getting questions from the board like do people who make a request for information end up putting us in their will? and are we sending the same people direct mail pieces and emails?. Again and again she shouldn’t answer them and it made her look like she didnt know what she was doing. Her boss expected her to target her fundraising efforts with data, but because her data was in multiple different systems she couldnt answer some obvious questions and was embarrassed by her justifications to her boss. After a particularly humiliating board meeting she met us. And it was a good thing she did.
We pulled all her data together and connected it, so she could analyze and visualize it and get the answers she needed. Having everything in one place meant that she could make better decisions, build better relationships with her donors, and know when to move a donor along the pathway to giving more or even including them in their will. Now she can answer any question the board throws at her with confidence.
Make It Effortless
In order to see everything in one place, you spend hours and sometimes days wrangling databases and spreadsheets.
To make this effortless, you need to automate your processes, so that data goes where its needed, and your reporting and visualizations are updated automatically, with no effort on your part. Its like setting your smart thermostat to turn up the air conditioning or having your smart lights turn off when you leave the house.
Susan is the development director of a national nonprofit, and in addition to all her other responsibilities, she spent 10-20 hours every week wrangling and manipulating excel spreadsheets to create the reports she needed. The results were some pretty standard visualizations that werent even interactive. We connected and automated her data so that with a push of the button her data is loaded into an interactive dashboard where she can see patterns and interact with her data in seconds instead of hours.
Get More Out of Your Data and Your Donors
Targeted campaigns, going to the right donors at the right time with the right message, can increase donors, donor retention, and donations. We make it painless by mapping out your data, connecting it across systems, and providing an interactive dashboard to visualize the results. And we automate the process for you while we are at it.
Weve been helping nonprofits get more out of their data for 20 years. Schedule a free consultation with us here. We can tell you what your most important roadblock is to having the right reports in an hour (or less).
Know someone else who might be struggling with their data? Please share this with them.