Jul 22, 2021

Best practices for collecting campaign and donor data


Whether you’re running a campaign independently or through your nonprofit, its success depends on a variety of factors. Collecting and managing data from campaigns and individual donors is one of the most important steps to a successful campaign. Follow these best practices for campaign and donor data to maximize your chance of success.

Importance of collecting data

In any industry, collecting data is extremely important to help individuals make informed decisions. This statement is especially true in fundraising as campaign and donor data can help nonprofit organizations target the right audience.

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is, “How can I reach my donors in a way that resonates with them and inspires them to keep supporting?” This is where collecting, managing, and understanding data becomes crucial. Thanks to modern technology and online fundraising, collecting data has become much easier and more accessible to organizations around the world.

The number one factor to consider when you collect donor data is its reliability. If you’re analyzing inaccurate data, it may harm your decisions more than it helps. If you’re able to understand your donors, you give yourself an increased chance of personalizing their experience to keep them engaged and donating longer.

There are two main types of fundraising data you can collect and use to make strategic decisions — campaign data and donor data.

Types of nonprofit campaign data

The emergence of online fundraising campaigns has given nonprofits access to data they can use to better understand their audience. Sometimes, the sheer volume of information can be overwhelming and difficult to analyze. First, let’s define the two main types of data:

  • Quantitative: This is numerical data used to make predictions and evaluate trends of a large population. Examples of quantitative data include metrics such as donation amounts, number of donors, and page views.
  • Qualitative: This is non-numerical data that is interpreted to determine trends. Examples of qualitative data are surveys that require written responses, phone recordings, and observation studies.

Quantitative campaign data

Quantitative data can give useful insights to campaign decision-makers and help predict the results of your efforts. These types of data points are great for setting campaign goals and evaluating the success of your nonprofit at a high level. Here are some important key performance indicators (KPIs) to track for your campaign:

  • Donation frequency: How often are people donating to your campaign? Tracking this frequency may help you identify important trends. Maybe you realize your donation frequency is comparable to the schedule of your newsletters or social media posts. In that case, you’d have an easy way to attempt to boost donations!
  • Donation amount: Does your campaign have a few donors contributing a large amount, or a plethora of people giving a little bit? This will impact the channels and methods you use to market your campaign and the types of fundraising events you hold to collect donations.
  • Method of donation: Track and analyze the donation methods of the people supporting your campaign. This can provide insights into new payment methods such as Venmo or Cash App. Try polling your donors and ask them what their preferred giving method is, whether you already offer it or not. Donating should be convenient and easy for the people supporting your nonprofit.

Qualitative campaign data

Qualitative data can be subjective and hard to measure at times, but it is still important. One example of this data could be when a donor gets confused about where they can support your nonprofit. If you’ve been told this by even one or two people, that’s valuable information you can use to improve your process.

One of the best ways to generate more qualitative information is by surveying your customers or giving them an opportunity to provide feedback at any stage in the process. Questions such as, “What did you enjoy most about this experience?” and, “What could have been improved about the donation process?” are fantastic tools to fine-tune your nonprofit and maximize success.

Managing and analyzing campaign data

Managing and analyzing campaign data

Analyzing nonprofit data is an important step in measuring the effectiveness of your campaign. Choosing which type of data to collect and analyze is the first step towards your success:

  • Data that generates more funding: Donors are interested in seeing the impact their donations have on the community they’re supporting. If you can show the tangible and quantifiable results of their funding, they may be more likely to donate in the future. This is often quantitative data such as the number of people helped, meals served and schools built. These data points can help your organization evaluate progress towards goals and identify areas where you need to improve.
  • Data that shows community appreciation: This type of information can be hard to quantify, therefore it’s often qualitative information. Share stories from the gifted communities and include as many photos, videos, and testimonials as you can. Sometimes the numbers don’t do justice to the impact the donations have on the cause you’re supporting. This type of data is great for your nonprofit internally as well as the donors.
  • Data that shows where the donations are going: You know where the donation goes once it’s been sent, but the original donor might not. Many nonprofits mention the cause donors are supporting, but nothing else. If you offer full transparency of your organization and can track where the donor’s gift is going, he/she/they may be more encouraged to keep supporting the cause. This can require additional infrastructure to initially set up, but it will be worth it when donors keep coming back. This data may also give further insights into unnecessary costs that take away from the original donation.

Make sure the data you’re collecting and analyzing will be impactful for your nonprofit, donors, and the community your organization is supporting. This will give the data the best chance at having a real impact on your campaign.

Types of donor data nonprofits collect

Collecting information about donors is important to help understand what motivates them to support you. There are many strategies for making the most of this data, including:

  • Connect donor data with campaign data: This will save your team time and money by integrating your CRM with your campaign tools. This can easily unlock access to data points such as contact information, donation history, and more. You’ll also be able to follow up with new donors and stay in touch with long-time supporters.
  • Break your donors into segments: Segmenting your list of donors and potential donors allows you to customize marketing campaigns to target each group. Personalizing your marketing content such as emails and social media posts will increase your chance of getting people to convert. The more granular and personalized your segments are, the better chance they may donate.
  • Create donor profiles: Evaluate different characteristics of donors, and use that data to create a few profiles that most people fit into. When creating profiles, look at characteristics such as income, location, age, and any other demographic data points that are relevant to your campaign. When you receive a new donation, you’ll know what type of person you’re dealing with and how to please them based on the profile they fit the best.

Managing donor data can seem confusing at first, but it pays off long-term. Be sure to tweak and customize the steps above to fit the unique needs of your nonprofit.

Organizing and analyzing donor data

Once you’ve created profiles and segments based on the characteristics of your donors, it’s time to use them to your advantage. Evaluate donors’ preferred methods of communication and frequency.

Some of your donors are most effectively reached through social media and benefit from constant reminders that your nonprofit is supporting great causes. This is typically effective for younger generations that are more active online and being pulled in every direction by information overload.

Evaluate the methods of donation that work best for your target audience based on the data you’ve collected. Did you receive large amounts of donations through online forms, social media posts, or at an event? Evaluate similar campaigns from the past and leverage that information to put your resources in the most effective place possible.

It’s also important to consider your donor’s areas of interest. Are they passionate about a specific cause, or do they like helping out any way they can? If donors care about focused causes, it’s not recommended to send them emails or newsletters about every event your nonprofit is having. This could deter them and cause them to unsubscribe from future messages. Be sure to tailor your marketing materials based on the audience that’s receiving them.

Capture donor and fundraising data seamlessly with GiveSmart

Capture donor and fundraising data seamlessly with GiveSmart

From planning events to supporting your cause to keeping donors informed, your nonprofit has a lot on its plate. Collecting data from your events and donors should be simple so you can remain focused on the heart of your organization. With GiveSmart fundraising software, you can benefit from intuitive dashboards and reporting. Track the rate of success on your events, and identify trends in your data with ease.

Whether you’re hosting a virtual or hybrid event, GiveSmart provides a streamlined experience for your nonprofit and donors. Schedule your free demo today to see how easy data collection can be!


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