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Beginner Insight

Coloured pen revolution

Seeing in colours rather than words, but adaptable enough to provide both

Making data and insights available to various types of users is an important part of ensuring that information is useful and actionable. When it comes to accessibility for different types of users, there are a few key considerations:

  1. Different users may prefer different formats for gaining access to data and insights. Some users, for example, may prefer visualisations like graphs and charts, whereas others may prefer tables or lists. To ensure that data is accessible to everyone, it is critical to consider the needs of different users and to provide data in a variety of formats.
  2. Level of detail: When it comes to the level of detail in data and insights, different users may have different requirements. Some users may require high-level, summary-level data, whereas others may require more detailed, granular data. Making data and insights available at various levels of detail can aid in making them more accessible to a broader range of users.
  3. User interface: Regardless of the user’s level of technical expertise, the user interface for accessing data and insights should be intuitive and simple to use. Making sure the interface is easy to use can help make data and insights more accessible to a wider range of users.
  4. Training and support: Providing training and support to various users can help to ensure that they can effectively access and use data and insights. Training sessions, documentation, and other forms of assistance may be included.

Overall, ensuring that data and insights are accessible to various types of users is critical to ensuring that they are useful and actionable. Organizations can ensure that information is accessible and useful to everyone who needs it by considering the needs of different users and providing data and insights in a variety of formats, at different levels of detail, and with user-friendly interfaces.

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Beginner Reporting

Downloading data to create your reports and analysis?

Here are the steps you can take to get started with Power BI and creating a basic financial report for a charity:

  1. Gather and organise your data: The first step is to collect all of the financial information that will be included in your report. This could include data from your accounting software, such as income and expense data, as well as any other financial data you want to include, such as budget or fundraising data. Check to see if the data is clean and well-organized, with consistent formatting and no missing values.
  2. Connect to your data in Power BI: After you’ve collected and prepared your data, the next step is to connect to it in Power BI. To accomplish this, use Power BI’s “Get Data” feature to connect to your data source. You may need to install a connector or use a different method of connection depending on your data source. You can find out more about the Blackbaud Power BI Connector here
  3. Create a report: After you’ve connected your data, the next step is to create a report. You can accomplish this by utilising Power BI’s various visualisation tools, such as charts, tables, and maps, to create a report that displays your financial data in a clear and meaningful manner.
  4. Customize your report: Once you’ve created a basic report, you can add filters, slicers, and other interactive elements to allow users to dig deeper into the data. You can also use Power BI’s formatting tools to make your report more professional and visually appealing.
  5. Publish and share your report: Once you’re satisfied with your report, you can upload it to the Power BI service and share it with others. You can also embed your report in a website or other application using the Power BI API.

By following these steps, you can get started with Power BI and creating a basic financial report for your charity.

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Beginner Reporting

Not all reports are reports

I’ve discovered that analytics and insight are two responsibilities of the database team that the teams either never get the time to properly concentrate on and thus take ages to deliver and are always misunderstood or what was required by the individuals asking for their analysis..

Depending on where you are in the organisation, for example, your level of responsibility will be determined by the database team’s expectations. It’s also difficult for database people to get enough time to understand the questions those people are attempting to answer. I’m currently working with one organisation where the fundraising teams are clamouring for analysis but the database team is struggling to deliver business-as-usual requests, so Reporting/Analysis/Insights suffers.

Anyway, the point of this post was not to highlight all of the difficulties; rather, it was to show how people requesting reports and people producing reports can work together to get the most out of each other.

Structured data is required by all organisations in various ways and for various purposes. Here’s some terminology to help you understand the various types of Reports:

  1. Lists – Some people require lists of supporters to function on a daily basis. For example, who is attending my event, who could I invite to this event, and to whom should I send my next appeal mailing? This is typically accomplished using a query tool, either within the database or by connecting to the database. Many people believe that this is a report, but it is not.
  2. Reports – Most CRM systems include a number of pre-built “Canned” Reports that cover the fundamentals. Some of these reports will address the issues on the list, while others will address financial or operational challenges that the organisation may face. Normally, a report will include Aggregation “rolled-up” numbers.
  3. Analysis – This is where we wake up database people (and sometimes get them excited) and try to engage them in learning more about our supporters. To begin, analysis can sometimes be done in Excel using a database extract and some magical formulas; more on this in a separate post. You may also have access to more powerful visualisation tools such as Power BI or Tableau. The discovery of information to answer questions such as, “What was my best recruitment method for this event?” When do the majority of my website visitors visit us, when do people of various demographics open our emails, and what works best? Packs A and B. As you can see, rolling up numbers and aggregations are required to clearly measure what is important. It’s not too difficult math as long as you understand the fundamentals; again, I feel another post coming on here.
  4. KRIs and KPIs are organisational indicators. KRIs are Key Reporting Indicators, which are useful to know even if we don’t have targets for them. For example, how many contactable people do we have on our CRM system? KPIs are Key Performance Indicators; the difference is that a performance indicator should always be accompanied by a target. For example, we anticipate bringing in X amount of revenue per team per month. We will sign up X number of people who have agreed to receive email communications from us.
  5. Insight – This is where we gain a deeper understanding of a problem and add narrative to show whether this is good, bad, or indifferent; it should essentially help with the AHA moments of looking at information, for example: only 25% of people donate to us using our website, but many more use the one-time donation process through our events fundraising platform. Our donation process workflow is inefficient and contains too many questions.

When it comes to analysis or insight, where data meets curiosity can be a powerful combination. It is also one of the reasons why fundraisers become frustrated with database teams. The database team has misunderstood or now because fundraisers have some piece of analysis they want to try a different thing and frustratingly on both sides it needs to go back into the database team to be rerun with new parameters which sometimes isn’t a 5 minutes process to just “Tweak”.

So here are my top three suggestions to make things easier for everyone involved:

Consider what you want: is it a report, a list, or something else? That way, you’ll know where you’re starting from and what skills you’ll need to produce it.

Determine and communicate the purpose of the analysis; database personnel will have a better understanding of the business need, and fundraisers will have a better understanding of the database if you know where and what data is stored in your systems.

Finally, don’t let reporting/analysis fall by the wayside. You’ll know what you want out of a system if you know what you want to put into it. If you’re planning a mailing or an event, or if you want to attract new supporters, consider what success looks like: the number of transactions, the value of those transactions, where people came from, and did they promise to give money/time. All of these things can be recorded in various ways, but only when database personnel are aware that it is necessary; adding it after the fact is never easy.

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ADRFM Beginner Insight Reporting

12 Days of Christmas

As some fun and to get you into the spirit of Christmas, we’ve decided to publish a page of a Power BI report each day to show you what can be done with data and what types of visualisations might be useful for your organisation.

This is an interactive reporting suite, feel free to have a play and see what little nuggets of insight you can gain. This is demo data so please bear this in mind when looking at the numbers.

Day 1 – We start off with maps – everyone gets excited to see their supporters on a map, but it can be really useful when thinking about new products or events that you may want to hold outside of London.

Day 2 – KPIs – They’re important so you know what’s working and what isn’t. If it isn’t working, you know you can change something. It’s also a really nice way to make this data presentable rather than a flat table of numbers, which I have presented to leadership teams before and couldn’t understand why it wasn’t engaging for them!

Day 3 – RFM – So here’s where we get to the more exciting segmentation models that some charities we’ve worked with have used in the past. Recency, Frequency and Monetary (or sometimes its called Value RFV). It’s a simple model of creating segments based on giving history and if you haven’t started segmenting your supporters this is a great way to get started.

Day 4 – Performance – This is one of the most powerful reports and really simple to visualise your teams activities. One of the things that this shows you is that you can filter other visuals based on a selection that you make. To see this in action click on Public Fundraising in green and watch the table change to only activities that were carried out by the Public Fundraising team. When looking at a visual, there is a menu on the right hand side that allows you to focus on a specific tile and there’s also an export data option for the summaries if you need to do more analysis under the three dots.

Day 5 – Demographics – Here we show how we blend data with open data sets to add value and help you to identify other key identifiers that your supporters may have. You can see a breakdown of Acorn classifications for the supporters. There are 8 high level classifcations that are then broken down to 2 further levels.

And as a bonus for me releasing Day 5 late, I’ve released Day 6 a few hours early.

Day 6 – Regular Giving – As well as keeping an eye on the number of active regular givers you have, it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the number of cancellations. To help with forecasting and planning we’ve extracted the average annual value of the regular givers.

Day 7 – High Value Fundraising – This report shows people at the different stages of solicitation. It also identifies the different types of restrictions that may apply to those special gifts

Day 8 – Forecasting – As we come to the end of the year, we all have the challenge of working out how we’re going to forecast for the coming year. Here we demonstrate using the past number of years income to forecast what may be expected in the future. It’s by no means perfect, but it’s a starting place.

Day 9 – Gift Aid – As we all know, gift aid is the extra money that you can get for nearly free! You need a declaration and your system will probably work out based on rules of what you can claim and what you can’t. Here you can see who you may want to send a communication to. These people are people who have given a gift that potentially is giftaidable but you can’t or haven’t claimed gift aid on the income. So as Tesco says, Every little helps especially with the current economic climate. Don’t forget to run your own gift aid mailing, maybe as a thank you mailing to all your supporters who have given in the last 12 months and try and entice them where it’s appropriate to give a declaration. Remember you can take a declaration over the phone if you have a supporter care team who are speaking to supporters you just need to confirm the verbal declaration in a letter and then so long as they don’t come back you’d be good to claim from those declarations as well.

Day 10 – Events – So as we move to a new year and start looking at calendars, here’s an overview of what has happened with events in the last financial year. It’s useful to see what platforms your supporters are using. We also look at the user stories for participants and its always interesting to see the keywords that different demographic of supporters use. Have a click around and let us know what you think.

Day 11 – Contactability – Every data persons favourite subject, GDPR and data protection. Here we demonstrate how to show the number of records that you can contact by the various channels used within the sector. We show the split between genders and age bands of opted in supporters broken down by the likely different communication purposes you’re want to use.

Day 12 – Communications – We all know that fundraising is built on relationships and a key to understanding relationships is language. Communications shows the different ways we interact with our supporters and how they speak to us and how we speak to them.

It’s been a blast putting this together, if you’ve not noticed it there’s an i at the top of each page which will give you more information about our reporting tools so come on dive in. We have a special offer that we will release next week if you’d like to get started on your reporting journey.


In terms of navigation, if you click on the “of” from 1 of 2 at the bottom of the report screen, you’ll be able to quickly navigate to the page you want to see.

As always, if you’re interested in finding out how ADRFM and our reporting solutions could help your organisation, feel free to get in touch.

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ADRFM Beginner Guest Post Insight Strategy

The Devil’s in the Data : 4 Tips to HelpĀ Develop a Data Led Fundraising Culture

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!