Your nonprofit relies on your donors’ support in order to meet its daily operations. However, if your nonprofit doesn’t fully understand its audience, it’ll be more difficult to engage your donors and motivate them to give.
Collecting donor data can help your organization create comprehensive donor personas for each of your supporters, whether you have hundreds or thousands of people giving to your cause. While this may seem overwhelming, a strong data collection strategy backed by a solid tech foundation can streamline the entire process.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the essential data points your nonprofit should collect in its constituent relationship management (CRM) platform:
Comprehensive data can help your organization steward strong donor relationships and tap into your donors’ unique motivations for giving to your nonprofit. As a result, your donors will feel more passionate about your cause, leading to a boost in online fundraising. Let’s begin.
Your donors’ demographics will give you a baseline overview of the type of donors that are likely to give to your nonprofit. This will inform your outreach strategies so you can better target your ideal audience or even work towards reaching new audiences.
Specifically, you’ll want to use your donation page or data appends to collect data points such as:
- Contact information
- Employment Status
For example, let’s say you collect these data points and discover that most of your donors are Gen Z or Millennials. Younger generations tend to prefer digital communications, so your nonprofit can amp up its social media marketing efforts to encourage donor retention.
Employer data can also have a huge impact on your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. If your donors work at companies that offer matching gifts, your organization can receive double (and sometimes triple) the amount of the original donation. In fact, according to Double the Donation, over 26 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs. If your donors are eligible for matching gifts, they can easily increase their impact and play a more rewarding role in your organization’s journey.
By taking a closer look at your donors’ history, you can better understand their giving capacity and interest in your cause. This information will help you tailor your donation appeals, volunteer outreach, and other communications to their needs and preferences.
Collect the following data points about your donors’ involvement:
- How frequently they give
- Their average donation amount
- The last time they gave
- The events they’ve attended
- Whether they’ve volunteered and how often they volunteer
With these data points, you can then segment your communications to better target certain types of donors. For example, you can create an email segment for donors that used to give frequently but haven’t given in the last year to reengage them with your mission. If you have a fundraising deadline quickly approaching and you haven’t hit your goal yet, you can create an email segment for major donors to ask them to help push you over the finish line.
You can also segment your communications to promote monthly giving. According to Donately, monthly giving can help your organization establish a reliable donation pipeline that you can access year round. Create a segment for donors that give frequently and have the potential to be monthly givers. In your outreach, highlight the various benefits of monthly giving, including the ability to play a more active role in your nonprofit and the convenience of only having to fill out your donation page once.
These are often answers to questions like: What are your supporters’ hobbies? Why are they passionate about your cause? Are they interested in finding new ways to get involved with your organization?
This information will help you build stronger relationships with donors and find relevant ways to keep them engaged. For example, a donor with graphic design experience may express that they want to play a larger role in your organization. You can then open up a new volunteering opportunity to them, such as improving your fundraising website or your marketing materials.
Understanding your supporters’ passions can also help you craft personalized donation appeals that are more likely to inspire action. For instance, if you’re an environmental organization, you may have several donors that give because they care deeply about saving endangered species. In your donation appeals to these donors, you can then emphasize the different ways your nonprofit’s work is helping to protect endangered animals.
By taking the time to get to know your donors, they’ll feel more valued and appreciated by your organization. At your next in-person event, ensure that members of your nonprofit board or staff are present to engage with donors one-on-one and ask them about their interests. If you have a large donor base, you can create online get-to-know-you surveys that take just a few moments to complete.
To steward strong donor relationships, you need a comprehensive understanding of each of your supporters. The accessibility of data has made it easier than ever to create donor personas and use this information for better engagement and outreach. Use donor data research tools, like your donation page and data appends, to collect essential data points and learn the best ways to drive donor retention. Good luck!
About the Author
Jacob Spencer | Customer Success / Account Manager at Donately
I strive to make every step of our customer journey as enjoyable as possible. My goal is to turn everyone that trusts Donately into a raving fan! Raising funds can be daunting, but we know that with the right tools, it can and should be easy.
Throughout my career, I’ve been able to help sales and success teams tackle new markets, grow and expand. Leading with empathy, listening to actually solve problems, and remembering that we are all human are the key elements to growing any business in a meaningful way.
When I’m not working you can find me spending time with my wife, 2 boys and our Border Collie, Abbie. Family>Everything.