We are moving toward an increasingly data-driven world where leveraging analytics has become the fabric of business as well as building effective fundraising strategies. But the advancement industry still seems to lag and remain focused on traditional approaches.
Those who can get on board and leverage data analytics will rise above the masses and more effectively compete for philanthropic dollars.
Don’t throw away your prior, proven strategies. Do consider how to incorporate the wisdom of the past with the capabilities of the future.
How can analytics in fundraising help my institution?
One of the most prominent ways analytics in fundraising help your institution is by transferring information quicker to your fundraising staff. Analytics also equips them with more readily accessible and actionable information. Fundraisers can engage with donors and have more strategic conversations because they can realize the philanthropic vision of that donor.
Leveraging analytics in fundraising is an element of working smarter, not harder. It also aligns with the notion that we all must do more with less. Using analytics in fundraising is your tool to do that.
Here are some specific strategies to leverage analytics in fundraising.
Pinpoint Major Gift Prospects
Institutions have vast donor applications, making it impossible to wade through relevant data like giving history and past interactions. Analytics in fundraising provides your team with statistical monitoring and predictable scoring to enhance the critical list of vital supporters.
Focus on Affinity
Identifying wealth and capability is essential when it comes to prospective donors, but determining affinity may be even more impactful. This is because affinity focuses on the relationship and is more of an indicator of long-term giving capability.
But when wealth, affinity, and philanthropic tendencies are combined, you can identify a prime constituent for any institution. And determining these components are best done with data analytics.
Tailor Fundraising Appeals
A fundraising appeal is a formal request for donations. Most institutions have annual giving programs where there could be multiple appeals like direct mail, email, and social media outreach—all of which you’re speaking to the masses.
The most effective fundraising appeal strategy encompasses speaking to the masses and simultaneously tailors the messaging. Tailored messaging helps your prospects feel like you’re talking to them individually. But creating tailored messages as scale is impossible unless you’re using analytics in fundraising.
Gone are the days when you can do set-it-and-forget-it fundraising strategies. You must analyze trends, including donor tendencies and reactions. Then, you must continue to refine that.
To put it firmly, if you’re still setting your strategy at the beginning of the fiscal year and keeping it the same, we’re talking to you.
Again, staying abreast of trends is only possible with analytics. Analytics in fundraising helps you examine your trends—in terms of who engages, when, and what communication methods are most effective.
Maximize Event Funding
Traditionally, institutions set their standard yearly events regardless of trends. But if you separate yourself from the emotional ties to the event for the institution, is it best serving the institution?
It’s not as common, but you can leverage the power of analytics to maximize event fundraising.
Using analytics in event fundraising doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating events—that is one aspect. But more so, it helps you identify the effectiveness of the event. This is even more relevant is the event is for cultivation purposes. If the event is for cultivation purposes, what guest list are you attracting? If you’re not drawing a guest list with the three components (wealth, affinity, and philanthropic tendency), that’s still not a win.
It is necessary to use analytics in fundraising to evaluate your events. Only then you can decide whether it’s something you should continue (or improve), who it’s reaching, and how its driving interest and attracting audiences to support your institution.