4 Effective Strategies to Organize Nonprofit Campaign Data

By susanlienau | January 7, 2019 | Philanthropy Operations

When people give to your campaign, do you have an accurate and effective way to store the information they submit on the donation page? Even with a basic CRM, are you getting the most out of your storage space?

You work hard to plan fundraising efforts for your nonprofit. Make sure you get the most from this hard work by storing all of the important data that you gathered! Establishing a strategy to store and organize your campaign data is vital to the success of future fundraising efforts.

Let’s just say you’re planning a capital campaign. After your feasibility study, you conduct prospect research, make a gift range chart, and reach out to your major prospects to contribute. Maybe you’ve even hired a fundraising consultant to walk you through all of this!

What happens when the campaign is over? Do you start your project, then forget about all of this preparatory work? The data you collected about your new donors, updates on existing contributors, and even updates to the campaign itself should be accurately reported and organized for future use.

When you are writing a strategy to keep yourself organized, be sure to include the following elements:

  1. Invest in the best CRM for your nonprofit.
  2. Segment your contributors based on similar attributes.
  3. Measure the overall engagement of your supporters.
  4. Produce a generosity score for your supporters.

Don’t let your important data collections slip through the cracks after a fundraising campaign ends. Even during the frenzied transition between working on the campaign and beginning your nonprofit’s project, take a minute to store and organize all of this data. You’ll thank us later!

Let’s dive in to learn more about how to build this important organizational strategy.

1. Invest in the Best CRM for Your Nonprofit

Foundations are important. When you build a house, you should make sure there are no cracks in the foundation or else the entire house could collapse. The same is true about foundations for important nonprofit strategies.

In order to build your best strategy, you need to lay your foundation first. To do this, be sure your nonprofit has the best tools with which you can grow. Investing in the best CRM for your nonprofit is the first step to making your supporter data strategy the best it can be.

If you build your strategy on the wrong software foundation, it’s likely that it will fall through and you’ll be stuck creating a new strategy again in the next couple of years.

Below are some general tips and tricks to finding the best solution for your organization:

  • Don’t be too tempted by the word “free.” Free fundraising software can be a good idea to get your feet wet with a new solution, but it often comes with limitations. Always expect to scale up in price after a trial period.
  • Make a list of goals your software solution should achieve. It’s easy to get distracted by the bells and whistles of software solutions while you’re conducting research. Keep your priorities straight by developing a list of organization goals before diving in.
  • Choose a provider with values similar to your nonprofit. Many vendors have priorities for their software to accomplish. For instance, Bloomerang focuses on donor retention. Choose a provider whose focus lines up with your own.

By conducting extensive research, you can be sure that your choice in a CRM software solution will be useful for the specific needs of your organization.

If you’re considering buying a new software solution, check out Bloomerang’s guide on how to choose the best nonprofit CRM and make sure you get one that works for you. Don’t let your organization’s “house” collapse! Make sure you have the storage capabilities you need for your fundraising efforts and supporter outreach.

2. Segment Your Contributors Based on Similar Attributes

Remember making that list of goals for your CRM solution to solve, back in section 1? Well, these are all of the elements that you specifically need for your software solution.

But there are also some general functions this software should do to organize your data. These are some best practices for every nonprofit to include in their organization strategy. The first of these best practices is segmentation.

Storing segmented groups of donors in your CRM makes future solicitations that much more effective. You can change up your appeal based on the audience you are addressing to show them that you know who they are and value their support.

No matter if you’re conducting your annual fund campaign or fundraising for a specific project, appealing to segments of donors based off their preferences can make all the difference. Try grouping supporters within your CRM based off their similar:

  • Recency and frequency of giving. Chances are, you have supporters of all shapes and sizes, so be sure to create segmented lists for groups like first-time donors, monthly donors, and long-term loyal donors. A new donor needs to hear different things from you than a 5+ year donor. Plus, donors like it when you refer to them by the type of donor that they are. It shows you are paying attention and tailoring content for them!
  • Giving channel history. While it’s good to take a multi-channel approach, there are some giving channels that require special attention. For example, memorial and peer-to-peer donors should be communicated to differently than direct appeal donors (online and direct mail). The former group may not have as strong a connection to your mission as the latter.
  • Affiliations. Some of your donors may have personal or professional affiliations with one another or with local organizations. Create groups of donors based on religious affiliations, alumni information, employment, or other connections. These can help you understand what your supporters are interested in, and how you can most effectively appeal to these interests.

When you reach out to your supporters, be sure to consider which approaches and stories will appeal to certain segments. For example, a monthly donor may be turned off by frequent, generic Giving Tuesday appeals since they are already committed to making recurring donations.

3. Measure the Overall Engagement of Your Supporters

Not all of your supporters are created equal. While they are all important to your organization (and all appreciated), some are more engaged than others. For example, even if two donors give the same amount, one may volunteer more often, which means they are more engaged.

Overall engagement scores are one of the important metrics your CRM should offer among the software’s donor database measurements. Donor engagement takes into account more than simple donation amounts. This important metric is a composite score of other factors such as:

  • Recurring gifts
  • Events attended
  • Survey responses
  • Email click-through-rate
  • Email open-rate
  • Volunteer hours
  • Recency of giving
  • Upgrades/downgrades
  • Social media interactions

While these are just a few, the list of engagement metrics goes on and on. Coming up with a composite engagement score that takes all of this information into account is key to compiling a future engagement strategy.

For example, Bloomerang’s CRM gives each supporter an Engagement Level of “cold” “warm,” “hot,” or “on fire!” depending on the interactions that are recording within their profile. This level is determined using an algorithm developed by Dr. Adrian Sargeant.

This score can give you indication as to which supporters will make a good interviewee in your next feasibility study. Or maybe it will show who needs an extra stewarding push from your organization.

Be sure to watch your donors’ engagement levels over time for even more indication about how to approach them. You can predict donor behavior and make future decisions based on their past engagement.

For instance, if you have a donor who has given every year for 5 years and attended the majority of your events, consider asking for a larger donation from them. Chances are, they will agree to that higher amount or continue to give the same amount as before. Very few donors will stop donating altogether. Making these types of predictions can drastically increase donation revenue for your nonprofit.

4. Produce a Generosity Score for Your Supporters

During your campaign, you likely collected information about the philanthropic and wealth indicators for certain prospects in your CRM. It’s important to save this past prospect research to create a jumping-off point for future research.

Some CRM software solutions also help with the prospect research process by creating a “Generosity Score” for each supporter. This score comes from prospect research data and helps determine an individual donor’s affinity for giving.

This score is often generated through software integrations with prospect research databases. For example, Bloomerang integrates with DonorSearch in order to come up with a “Generosity Score” for each individual donor profile.

Generating this score, and prospect research in general, can help your nonprofit to:

  • Identify major gift and planned giving prospects.
  • Give a more complete picture of each individual donor.
  • Request the most effective donation amount from supporters.
  • Create new marketing opportunities and new ways to segment donors.

If you want more details as to the ins-and-outs of prospect research, the Prospect Research Ultimate Guide by DonorSearch is a great resource. If you conduct your own prospect research without the help of a database, this guide can help you learn more about individual factors you should record in your CRM.

When paired with an engagement score, your organization will have everything it needs to make the most effective asks.

For example, let’s just say you’re launching a capital campaign and are looking for major donors. Someone with a high generosity and a high engagement score will likely be a good candidate. Then, you can look at what segmented groups they’re a part of to decide how to reach out to them!

The data you collect from fundraising campaigns is key to future campaigns and outreach for your nonprofit. Make sure it’s saved and organized in the best way possible in a CRM that serves the specific needs of your organization.

Author Bio

Jay B. Love is a Co-Founder and current Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang. He has served this sector for 33 years and is considered the most well-known senior statesman whose advice is sought constantly.He is a graduate of Butler University with a B.S. in Business Administration. Over the years, he has given more than 2,500 speeches around the world for the charity sector and is often the voice of new technology for fundraisers.

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