The “X” in the title isn’t a typo, it’s a #dadjoke style data pun.
We have to make jokes with data, because otherwise when you mention “data,” not everyone is excited to listen.
Many of us envision data as endless blocks of numbers scrolling on a screen like in the Matrix movies.
For many people, that means a slightly panicked look comes across their face. Their eyes glaze over immediately and they don’t hear anything else you say—and then suddenly have somewhere very important they need to be.
Other people get excited at the mere mention of data. They love data and numbers.
And yes, data is numbers. But it’s more than that.
Kris Hoots, one of Oneicity’s founders, says that “data means people.”
Which is why no matter which group you belong to (those who love data or start running the other way), data is an important part of a successful fundraising strategy.
Here are two brief looks at why fundraising without using data won’t be as successful.
–Get insight into your donors. Data can show you what your donors care about and what they respond to. Does Ms. Johnson only give at a certain time of the year? Or does Mr. Hendrick give his biggest gift when you’re highlighting a certain program or offer?
You can look at what donors responded to: was it an appeal, or a newsletter? Was it a button in an email or a banner on the webpage?
Each gift a person makes to your organization lets you learn something about them. It’s not just numbers, it’s insight to your donors—what they care about and what they respond to.
–Dial into results. Looking at results shouldn’t just mean looking at how many funds a particular appeal raised.
By digging into data, you can see how that appeal REALLY performed. What was the cost of the appeal compared to how much it raised? Were there a lot of small gifts? Was your impressive “funds raised” total skewed by one or two large gifts?
For example, say a nonprofit raises an impressive $1 million dollars from one appeal. If you just looked at the amount raised, that looks really good!
But after digging deeper into the data, you find out that the appeal cost $900,000 to write, design, print, and mail first class.
So, really the organization only made $100,000…which isn’t a very good return on investment.
Data doesn’t have to be your favorite part of your job, but if it’s not a part of your fundraising you’re not doing all you can for your organization.
If you’re still scared of numbers or are unsure of what to do with them (or if you just love them and want to talk numbers), then email us firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on twitter @oneicity!