This blog post was very kindly written by Paul Hayward, Director of Fundraising, RNID.
If you work in fundraising, or alongside fundraisers, you’ll know how important data is to everything we do. You use it to track progress, assess programs, and make decisions about where to allocate precious resources. But what about using data to inform and guide your fundraising team? Building a data led approach to fundraising can help you raise more money and do so more efficiently. At RNID this approach has driven our fundraising strategy, our ways of working and the way we make day-to-day decisions, with a transformative effect.
Here are four tips to get you started:
1. Use data to set goals.
Too often, fundraising teams operate without clear goals. This can lead to wasted time and resources chasing after unimportant metrics. Instead, use data to set attainable goals for your team. What amount of money do you realistically want to raise? What kind of growth do you want to see? What’s the long-term value of the work you’re delivering? Answering these questions will help you focus your team’s efforts and better utilize your resources.
2. Use data to inform strategy.
Once you have set some goals, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to achieve them. This is where data comes in. Look at your programme and try to identify trends. Who are your most generous donors? What kinds of appeals work best with different segments of your audience? What products attract and retain people most effectively? Answering these questions will help you develop targeted strategies for reaching your goals.
3. Use data to track progress.
As you implement your fundraising plans, be sure to track progress along the way. This will help you course correct if necessary and adjust your strategy as needed. It will also help you see what’s working so that you can replicate those successes in the future. Set some relevant KPI’s before you act and keep checking back in to see your progress against them; not only will it help you hold your work to account, but it will help develop a sense of momentum as you succeed!
4. Use data to assess results.
Once you’ve reached the end of a campaign, it’s time to take a step back and assess the results of your efforts. Which strategies were most successful? Which ones fell short? What can you learn from your experience that will help you be even more successful next time around? Answering these questions will help you fine-tune your approach, develop future strategies and make sure that you’re constantly learning and improving.
Developing a data led fundraising team doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. By following these four simple tips, you can start making data-informed decisions that will help you raise more money and do so more efficiently. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!