How You Can Use Data to Increase Nonprofit Donations

Angie oversees Cazoomi's operations. She enjoys traveling, loves dogs, is a 1% Pledge supporter, and a start-up entrepreneur with investments in several APAC startups. 7 minute read

Nonprofits operate in the realm of the concrete: you take concrete actions to get concrete results that support your cause.

So much of what’s good in this world comes from concrete action by nonprofits. Take Qsource, for instance, a nonprofit whose concrete actions have massively contributed to the improvement of healthcare services across the US. 

Or The Trevor Project, a nonprofit that works relentlessly to prevent suicides. Or The WWF, whose team makes sure our planet is still habitable. 

We have dozens of stories about nonprofits, the concrete actions they take every day, and how SyncApps supports them.

Do you know what’s the opposite of “concrete” in this world and why nonprofit marketing seems so cryptic? Dealing with abstract data for your campaigns.

For the makers and doers in nonprofits, the 1s and 0s that make up their donor data are often too abstract to make sense. So they rarely use the data they have at full potential or even collect all the data they need.

This is where we come in. At SyncApps, we help nonprofits integrate mission-critical solutions like NPSP, NPC (coming soon), Salesforce, NetSuite with Constant Contact, Mailchimp, and others. Learn how SyncApps supports nonprofits and claim your lifetime discount here.

Nonprofits need data, just like any other organization. And yes, you can turn abstract data into actionable insights, provided you collect and use it the right way. 

Why Do You Need to Collect Donor Data?

Data fuels any kind of marketing today, even for nonprofits. If you collect the right kind of data, you can reap countless benefits.

Here’s how the SyncApps clients use data:

  • Understand giving affinity and giving capacity. With the right kind of data, you can understand how likely your donors are to give (giving affinity) and how much they can afford to give (giving capacity). This way, you can identify high-impact donors and focus your campaigns on high-yielding goals.
  • Demonstrate your/their impact. If you know how much each donor gave and when they did it, you can demonstrate your impact and show them how their money was used. By targeting them with campaigns that detail the impact their donations had, you stand a better chance of turning them into recurring donors.
  • Cultivate relationships with your donors. Most people need several touchpoints to understand your nonprofit’s impact and how donations are used. Gathering data on your donors makes it easier to target them with relevant and timely campaigns.
  • Understand donor analytics so you can prevent them from lapsing. You can monitor various metrics and pinpoint when your donors stop engaging, attending events, or giving. This is when you should reach out to make sure they don’t lapse entirely.
  • Identify corporate donation opportunities. Got several individual donors who work for the same company? You can reach out and ask them if they want to give on the company’s behalf as well.

Armed with relevant data, you can automate most of your marketing and, more importantly, make sure that you never miss an opportunity or allow your donors to fall through the cracks.

“Relevant” is the keyword here, so let’s find out what type of data you need to collect from your donors. 

4 Types of Data Your Nonprofit Should Collect

These types can vary from organization to organization and/or depending on how your systems are configured. If you use Salesforce/NPSP and an email automation platform like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, you can easily collect all of these:

  1. Contact data: if possible, go beyond name and email address and collect phone numbers, social media handles, and even physical addresses. You want to be able to reach them on as many channels as possible. Be careful, though! Not everyone is willing to give away that much data, so tread lightly and don’t make all these fields mandatory.
  2. Demographics: gender, location, income level, employment status, and employer name. All these will help you paint a clearer picture of your donor’s giving affinity and giving capability.
  3. Donation habits: this is an ongoing collection effort. Use Salesforce/NPSP to collect data on how much each of your donors gives, when they do it (do they give more around the end of the year, for instance?), and if any special events trigger donations.
  4. Interaction and engagement habits: every donor is different. Some prefer to be contacted via phone or SMS, while others will visit your website, open your emails, and engage with your social media content. Note all these preferences down, along with event attendance, volunteering work, and so on.

Cool, now that you’ve got all this relevant data, let’s look into how you can put it to good use.

How to Use Data to Increase Nonprofit Donations — The Smart Way

Getting to know your donors is an incredible asset. Use it to unlock more donations.

Identify Your Biggest Donors

76% of donations come from 4% of donors. So, it makes perfect sense to know exactly who your key donors are and target them with dedicated campaigns.

Head on to your NPSP/Salesforce dashboard to identify them. Next, use your Salesforce to Mailchimp or Constant Contact integration to seamlessly migrate that segment to your email automation platform. All it takes is one click, and all the data will be migrated automatically and error-free.

Now that your email marketing platform “sees” your high-impact donors, it’s time to target them with:

  • Early invites to your events
  • Ultra-personalized thank-you gifts
  • Personalized reports about the impact of their donations

Pro tip: consider sending them a physical letter too. It’s something they can hold on to and cherish!

Pinpoint Untapped Opportunities

Are you leveraging corporate matching gift programs yet? Some corporations match the gifts their employers give to nonprofits.

A recent study revealed that nearly $7 billion in gift-matching programs go unclaimed every year.

You have the data to make this happen! 

Head on to Salesforce/NPSP and check out the “employer” field of your contacts. If you have individual donors who work for the same company, you can target them with dedicated campaigns and encourage them to enquire about corporate matching gift programs.

You know the rest: use your integration to migrate the segments to your marketing automation platform and send them personalized campaigns.

Bring Back Donors Who Haven’t Been Active for a While

Use NPSP/Salesforce to identify donors who haven’t given in a while or haven’t interacted with your emails/website in a while. The latter segment is very likely to stop giving soon, so it’s a good idea to get out in front of it.

Use your integration to nudge them:

  • Remind them of the impact their donations had in the past (personalize this as much as possible).
  • Let them know about your upcoming plans and actions and how they can support them.
  • Don’t be pushy! Some people may not be able to give anymore! Tell them they can support you in other ways — for instance, by sharing your events on social media.

Wrapping Things Up

It’s fairly easy to turn something as abstract as data into concrete donations. All you need is a data collection plan and a solution to help you analyze that data without hiring data analysts and programmers. 

Your data collection plan is above, and the solution you’re looking for is below.

Try SyncApps for data integration and automated analysis. Connect Salesforce or NPSP to your email marketing platform in minutes! It’s free to try, and all nonprofits get a lifetime discount!