Data maturity in the UK charity sector: Why it matters and how to achieve it

Data is a valuable resource for charities. It can assist organisations in better understanding their donors, tracking fundraising efforts, and measuring their impact. However, just as with digital maturity, charities must have a high level of data maturity in order to effectively use this tool. So, what exactly is data maturity, and how can charities in the United Kingdom achieve it?

Let us begin by defining data maturity. In layman’s terms, it refers to how well a charity can collect, manage, and use data to achieve its objectives. This includes having a system in place for collecting and storing data, being able to analyse data, and using data insights to make informed decisions.

So why is data maturity so important? For one, it allows them to better understand their donors and supporters. By collecting and analyzing data on things like demographics, giving history, and engagement, charities can tailor their communications and fundraising efforts to better reach and retain donors. Additionally, data can be used to track the impact of their efforts and make adjustments as needed.

But how can you achieve data maturity? Here are a few key steps they can take:

• Create a data strategy: Outline the charity’s data goals, target audience, and the specific data tools and platforms that will be used to achieve them.
• Invest in a data management system that can efficiently and securely collect, store, and analyse data.
• Use data to inform decisions: Charities should review their data on a regular basis and use the insights gained to make informed fundraising and outreach decisions.
• Data training: Charities should ensure that their employees understand how to collect and use data effectively.
• Review and update data strategy on a regular basis: As with digital maturity, charities should review and update their data strategy on a regular basis to ensure they are meeting their goals and responding to changes.

In conclusion, data maturity is crucial for UK charities to understand their donors and supporters, track their fundraising efforts, and measure their impact. By developing a data strategy, investing in a data management system, using data to inform decisions, training staff on data, and regularly reviewing and updating the strategy, charities can work towards achieving data maturity and better achieving their goals.


Digital maturity in the UK charity sector: Why it matters and how to achieve it

As the charity sector continues to evolve, it’s becoming increasingly important for organizations to have a strong digital presence. Not only does this help them reach more people and raise more funds, but it also enables them to operate more efficiently and effectively. But what exactly does it mean to be digitally mature, and how can UK charities achieve it?

Let us begin by defining digital maturity. In layman’s terms, it refers to how well a charity can use digital technology to achieve its objectives. This includes having an easy-to-use website, being active on social media, utilising data and analytics to make informed decisions, and having systems in place for online donations and fundraising.

So, what is the significance of digital maturity for UK charities? For one thing, it enables them to reach a larger audience. With more people spending time online, charities must have a strong digital presence to connect with potential donors and supporters. Furthermore, digital tools and platforms can help charities track donations and fundraising efforts, allowing them to allocate resources more effectively.

Here are a few key steps they can take:

  • Develop a clear digital strategy: This should outline the charity’s goals, target audience, and the specific digital tools and platforms they will use to achieve them.
  • Invest in a responsive and user-friendly website: This should be easy to navigate and use, and should provide all the information potential donors and supporters need.
  • Utilize social media: This can help the charity connect with a wider audience and keep supporters updated on their activities and impact.
  • Use data and analytics to make informed decisions: This can help the charity understand which of their digital efforts are working and which aren’t, and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Implement online donation and fundraising tools: This will make it easy for supporters to make donations and take part in fundraising activities online.

By following these steps, Charities can work towards digital maturity and better achieve their goals. It is important to remember that digital maturity is an ongoing process, and charities should regularly review and update their digital strategy as needed.

In conclusion, digital maturity is crucial to reach more people, raise more funds, and operate more efficiently and effectively. By developing a clear digital strategy, investing in a responsive and user-friendly website, utilizing social media, using data and analytics, and implementing online donation and fundraising tools, charities can work towards achieving digital maturity and better achieving their goals.


The benefits of mentoring in the UK charity sector

Mentoring is a powerful tool for professional development, and it’s especially beneficial in the charity sector. By pairing experienced professionals with those new to the field, mentoring can help to build skills, knowledge and confidence, which can ultimately help organizations achieve their goals.

One of the key benefits of mentoring is that it can help to accelerate professional development. A mentor can provide guidance and support, and can share their own experiences and insights, which can help mentees to navigate the often complex and challenging landscape of the charity sector. This can help mentees to build their skills and knowledge more quickly and effectively.

Mentoring can also be a valuable tool for building confidence. It can provide mentees with a sounding board for their ideas and help them to develop a sense of self-awareness. This can be particularly beneficial for those new to the sector, who may be feeling overwhelmed by the demands of their role.

Mentoring can also be used to address specific skills gaps. If a mentee is struggling with a particular task or challenge, a mentor can provide guidance and support to help them overcome it. This can help to improve the performance of the mentee and the organization as a whole.

In addition, mentoring can help to build a sense of community within the charity sector. By connecting experienced professionals with those new to the field, mentoring can help to foster a sense of collaboration and support. This can be especially beneficial for those working in smaller or remote organizations, where opportunities for networking and professional development may be limited.

Finally, mentoring can be a valuable tool for retention. By investing in the development of their staff, organizations can help to create a positive and supportive working environment, which can help to retain talented individuals.

In conclusion, mentoring is a valuable tool for professional development in the UK charity sector. It can help to accelerate professional development, build confidence, address specific skills gaps, foster a sense of community and improve retention. Charities can take advantage of mentoring by pairing experienced professionals with new staff members or volunteers to help them grow their skills, knowledge and confidence. It is an effective way to invest in the development of staff and volunteers, and ultimately help organizations achieve their goals.


Anybody have a map – What you need to know about supporter journeys?

A supporter journey in the charity sector refers to a person’s interactions with an organisation over time, from their initial awareness of the organisation to their decision to support the organisation through donations or other means. Understanding supporter journeys can help organisations understand what motivates people to support them and how to effectively communicate with them, which is an important part of building and maintaining relationships with supporters.

A supporter’s journey can be influenced by a variety of factors, including their personal values, interests, and motivations for supporting the organisation. Some typical stages of a supporter’s journey may include:

  1. The first stage of the journey occurs when a person becomes aware of the organisation and its mission. This can occur via a variety of channels, including social media, advertising, and word of mouth.
  2. Interest: At this point, the individual is interested in the organisation and what it does, and may begin to learn more about its work and impact.
  3. Consideration: At this point, the individual begins to consider whether or not they want to support the organisation and may begin to look for more information on how to get involved.
  4. At this stage, the person takes some action to help the organisation, such as donating money or volunteering their time.
  5. Loyalty: The individual becomes a loyal supporter of the organisation over time and may continue to engage with it through donations, volunteering, or other means.

Understanding supporter journeys can help organisations understand what motivates people to support them and how to effectively communicate with them. Organizations can create targeted campaigns and messaging that engage and retain supporters by understanding the different stages of the journey.

ADRFM Beginner Guest Post Insight Strategy

The Devil’s in the Data : 4 Tips to Help 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!

ADRFM Insight Reporting Strategy

Board Report – What should you tell them?

Reporting and Insight should always be led or driven by the strategic direction of the organisation, whether that be an organisational strategy or fundraising strategy. It’s only knowing where you are now that can help you work out where you’re going and how well your doing against those objectives or targets. So I would always make sure that these strategic documents include ways in which you are planning on measuring success.

The next thing that I would say is break up the kpis into when they make sense to the audience that want or need them. There’s no point giving an appeal and segment breakdown to board members as they won’t be into the detail, they’ll just want to know if you asked us for investment did it work and how much did it return? I recently finished a book by Elizabeth Clarke which talked about understanding your audiences for reporting which was really helpful to me. You can find a link to that book here.

So you should have now an idea of where you’re going and a way in which you’d like to measure the success of those initiatives. The next thing is the data. You can only count what you can record so this should help inform what you want to do with coding structures across your CRM system. Whether its the number of new regular givers or the number of campaigners or the number of facebook fundraisers, all of these things should be recorded in your database somewhere.

So now you have data and targets the next thing to do is work out your baseline, where are you right now. this gives you a starting point to compare yourself to. A key thing here is that you are comparing your organisation to your organisation, not anyone else or any other organisation or any other sector benchmarks to start off with.

And if you don’t have targets, that’s ok, compare yourself to the same period last year (for those of you using power bi, that’s a formula you can use – sameperiodlastyear() ). If you don’t have the data then that’s ok too everyone starts somewhere.

Here are some top line kpis that we record as part of our reporting suite:

  1. Total Income
  2. Total Number of Contacts
  3. Total Number of Donors
  4. Total Number of Active Regular Givers
  5. Total Number of supporters that we can email
Here’s an example of our ADRFM reporting suite showing the top line details for a board report.

Using these 5 key indicators should be enough to work out how the organisation is performing, especially when you compare it to a previous period and start to identify trends.

For a board report, that should be enough to get started around income, expenditure would be helpful as well but not many organisations record this in their CRM. I’m a fan of recording some high level numbers for expenditure in your CRM just so that you can begin to work out ROI (Return on Investment) for all the activities that you do. Remeber everything has a cost, so free activities still have costs associated with them, whether it be staff time or freebies that are offered for support.

The other thing with these kpis is they should be relatively easy to pull out of your CRM systems. I appreciate that any kpis that require a snapshot of your data can be a challenge but power bi does make some of that easier with the use of DAX formulas.

Other things that Boards would normally want to know about are forecasted income Whether that be from High Value teams like Major Donors and Trusts or whether that be from things like Regular Giving and Lifetime value.

The key with all of the reporting data, start small and then grow. Once you have a handful of indicators and I would suggest no more than 6 indicators to start off with give it at least 6 months to show trends and then put some narrative around what the numbers say. A thirst for knowledge or curiosity, both of which are really useful may lead you to other things that you might want to look at, like 2nd gift rates, retention, conversion but think very carefully about whether these secondary indicators need to be reported to the board or if it will overwhelm them with numbers – nobody wants a wall of data

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you get started on your reporting journey please get in touch.