Benefits of Data-Driven Fundraising

How does your organization set goals for your fundraising and strategic plans? The first thing you should look at when deciding on new ways to move forward is analyzing your past and asking questions on what works, how to improve and how to stay relevant. 

Collecting and analyzing your donor data is so vital to your nonprofit’s success. Data-driven fundraising is smart fundraising because you are using statistics and known variables to drive your decisions. 

Software like Donor Engine not only helps organize your data but gives you an endless amount of analytics on your donor’s interests, habits and giving patterns that will help plan your next steps. Here are our top reasons why you should invest in your data:

Save Hours of Time 

If you’re working on a new marketing or communication strategy, you’ll know that it involves trial and error. Testing different ads, messaging, and images can take some time before you begin to see positive results.

Tracking and storing your data can save you a ton of time in managing your strategy. By noting how your donors responded to past campaigns and events, you can make more informed decisions. For example, choose to focus on images that inspire your donor bases to action or cut down your social channels based on their engagement level. 

Having a reference to your success will keep your team on track and make sure you aren’t making the same mistake twice. Dave Saraiva CFO of Donor Engine has helped dozens of nonprofits implement donor management software and, thus, work more efficiently. 

He says, "We've had clients that have come on adopted Donor Engine and through the efficiency that it brought, they've saved hundreds of hours over a year and been able to translate that into a better project, outcomes, more funds raised.”

Raise More Money

Gathering data on a regular basis will help reveal your donors’ giving patterns and reveal hints on how to plan your campaigns. You should also gather data before or after a campaign to learn how it impacts your audience. Specifically, you should collect info on: 
  1. Your donors’ giving history and how many times they have donated to your organization 
  2. Age, location, interests and other demographics
  3. What motivates your donors to give 
Mathew Dubins is a Donor Scientist who spoke with us in the Fundraising Superheroes podcast on the importance of data analytics. He shared that the more you know about your donors, the better you can predict their actions increasing your fundraising performance. In our interview, he explains, "you're going to waste a lot less time and money in soliciting your donors, whether it’s through direct marketing or possibly major gift solicitation, whatever the case may be.”

Build Stronger Relationships

Getting your donor’s permission in a donor survey or feedback form will show them that you care about their experience. No one knows your donors better than themselves, so don’t be afraid to ask and apply their input. 

You can send a donor survey after an event or newsletter subscription to understand what motivates their actions and why they enjoy being a part of your nonprofit. Be sure to collect data on their status, communication preference and how they heard of your organization. 

Mathew shared a story with us in his interview about a client who didn’t realize that several of their donors had been with them for ten years. By realizing they had reached that milestone, the nonprofit reached out to their donors in an email campaign celebrating a decade of support and thanking them for their contributions. Being aware and remembering little milestones like an anniversary is a small act of kindness that can go a long way. 

Create Better Content 

Keeping track of your campaigns, communications, and social media analytics can significantly impact your marketing decisions. Donor Engine tracks click rates and engagement directly through our CRM so fundraisers can easily see who their most active donor base is. But you can also track subscription rates and social media engagement.

Keeping track of what content your donors enjoy can help you choose what to include in your newsletter, post on social media or email campaigns. You can even include content in your donations receipts to add a personal touch. Utilizing software like Google Analytics is another way to see "heat maps” of a page to discover what areas are being clicked on the most. Before using Google Analytics, a pro-tip is to make sure you have your naming conventions and matrix confirmed before building your account!


Generally speaking, keeping track of your donor’s habits, interests, and actions is the best way to improve your organization’s strategies. A donor management software is a big commitment but can pay off by saving you time and money in your daily operations. If you’re curious about learning more about the benefits of data-driven software, book a demo with one of our team members. 

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Management & Leadership,Strategy,Donor Relations Aug 21, 2020, 12:00 AM

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