Developing a Data-Driven Organization
Data makes the fundraising world go round. By creating a data-centric mindset at your organization, you can optimize overall engagement with stakeholders, donors and supporters. This important data should be recorded, tracked, and measured constantly. But do you know the best way to foster healthy data practices at your nonprofit?
Data helps your team members communicate, engage, and retain support for your organization. With the right tools and a proper data capturing strategy, adjustments can be made to optimize fundraising initiatives. Follow these easy tips to make your organization more data-driven.
Cultivate a Data Mindset
In order to establish a data-driven culture, your team needs to see how information can be used firsthand. As an organization, you should aim to use data to make decisions that will drive positive results. A healthy data environment will include an efficient gathering of data, the appropriate storage of data, the ease of retrieving the data and the capacity to analyze data.
A data-driven culture allows all departments to view the effectiveness of ongoing opportunities. Fundraisers can use the data to predict income and make strategic decisions about upcoming campaigns. Organizations with an established data mindset tend to be the most creative, curious and high-functioning nonprofits.
Key data points to track should include:
- donor retention rate
- average gift amount
- donor conversion rate
Make Data Accessible, Clean and Digestible
Data should be easy to find and interpret. Everything from donor-centered metrics to financials should be made available to team members. Concurrently, a constituent relationship management system (CRM) can help keep the data organized. Email marketing tools should also be put in place to keep detailed metrics like click-through rates and opens in a centralized location. Don’t forget to establish healthy data habits!
To help keep data top of mind in your organization, consider:
- Sending an internal weekly email to your staff showing progress against your goals
- Creating dashboards where people can track months worth of data
- Hosting quarterly review meetings to discuss and dissect your data
Prioritize and Establish Data Metrics
Each organization should focus on establishing metrics that can help improve the company’s performance not only as a whole but within each department. Tracking actionable metrics will help your organization determine what is working and what isn’t. Metrics can be applied to direct fundraising campaigns or overall communications. Consider assigning specific team members 1-3 actionable metrics that they should specifically monitor over time. Set goals for these metrics and give team members the opportunity to present their observations over time.
Once you’ve created a data-driven culture at your nonprofit, time and patience will be needed before actual results can be discovered. Proper data-driven practices will in turn increase staff efficiency. Data should form a basis for why and how decisions are made within your organization. Organizations should embrace the use of data to influence change in the most beneficial way for both your organization and team members, as well as your supporters.