The D word. D-A-T-A. It’s that topic that’s at the top of everyone’s list these days but, let’s be honest, it can be a little bit intimidating.
Not sure how data relates to your nonprofit or how you can use data to help your organization change and grow? No worries. We’re here to dig into some easy ways you can start thinking about data in order to use it to take real action for your nonprofit.
Why is data so important?
Data can provide the insights needed to grow, sustain, and modernize your nonprofit. You can use data to pivot from an idea that isn’t working, segment supporters into more meaningful target audiences, create compelling cases for board members, and so much more.
However, the thing about data is that it isn’t always about the numbers. Okay, so that’s not entirely true. But, the bigger takeaway is that data results really only matter if you use them to drive better decision making.
When you use data as a tool to help you grow, it allows you to shift your thinking, pivot faster, and gain a deeper understanding into the intricacies of your supporter base. By using data, you can take the steps necessary to turn more supporters into evangelists for your cause by nurturing them along the way.
Data segmentation broken down
Nonprofits typically interact with donors, fundraisers, volunteers, and influencers in completely different ways. After all, these four separate groups are taking four separate actions to support your cause. But when it comes to communication, they stick to just one message for every type of supporter.
That’s where a broader sense of data segmentation can really come into play. What if you dove deeper into these verticals and spoke to various subsets of these groups in entirely different ways?
When you segment your target audience, you’re able to connect with those groups in more meaningful ways and trigger them based on so many different and unique factors.
How much they supportThink about the superlative style of data segmentation. The ‘most’ of each of your verticals (fundraisers, donors, volunteers, board members, etc.) is one way to start thinking about data:
- The ‘most dollars raised’
- The ‘most frequently attended an event’
- The ‘most given at one time’
These tend to be the superheroes in your network and most likely deserve some individual attention when it comes to messaging. You could reach out to this segment and educate them on the value of a share and how tapping into their networks with your message is so beneficial to your cause.
How they show supportIf you’ve got an elite group of volunteers who always show up, put in the hours, and ask what else they can do… start talking to them about starting their own fundraisers and fundraising on your nonprofit’s behalf. Show them examples of successful fundraisers started by volunteers to get their confidence up. Give them tips and motivational ideas to get them started.
When they show supportWhat about behaviors within the verticals? Do you have donors who only give during the holidays? Make sure they know about the other fundraising initiatives throughout the rest of the year. Keeping in mind that they’re usually holiday-only donors helps you to craft messaging that eases them into becoming evergreen supporters.
Or think about fundraisers who have set up campaigns in the last 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, etc. Talking to fundraisers whose campaigns have been over for a year or more can take on a distinctly different tone than those who are fresh off of a campaign.
Key driver for success
As it turns out, you don’t need to have a degree in math or statistics to use and understand data as it relates to nonprofit growth. You just need to get started. Actually, it turns out the number one characteristic of successful data driven nonprofits is curiosity. The curiosity to dig in, take the first step, and to not let fear get in the way of such a wealth of information.
We believe that successful nonprofits will start thinking about data as a necessary tool to gain valuable insight into their organization. Those who aren’t interested in the power of data will fall behind.
So, if you want to gain a deeper understanding into your organization that allows for you to make real change, grow, and stay relevant, dig into the data. There is definitely no downside.