5 Ways to Use Donor Data to Increase Retention

There’s no easy answer regarding the age-old question of how to improve nonprofit fundraising outcomes. Making strategic decisions for your cause takes time, effort, and experience. However, having the right donor data on hand can really improve your nonprofit’s fundraising approach. When your team is able to effectively manage your donors, steward your relationships and make solicitations based on donor data, the sky’s the limit for your fundraising success.

We’ll walk you through the most effective ways to manage and leverage your nonprofit’s donor data using donor database software tools.

With informative donor data on your side, your team will be well prepared to increase donations and strengthen supporter relationships.

Let’s dive into these essential donor data management strategies!

1. Invest in a true donor database

It’s likely that your nonprofit already collects donor data in some capacity, whether it’s in a spreadsheet or a CRM. However, if you want your donor data to be as effective as possible, you’ll need to invest in a donor database that’s designed for causes like yours.

All too often nonprofits go for the cheapest donor database option. This means that they could miss out on important insights and are stuck in a lightweight system that isn’t built for their needs.

Investing in substantial (yet affordable) donor database tools can drastically help your donor data strategy. Be sure your software provider offers a platform that is:

  • Scalable. Find a solution that lets you pay for the plan you need right now while still offering a more robust product down the line for after you’ve grown.
  • Customizable. Nonprofits have distinct needs from businesses, and different nonprofits themselves have diverse needs. Choose a donor database that lets your team customize tools to fit your strategy and goals.
  • Cloud-based. With a cloud-based system, you’ll be able to access the information anywhere—you’ll never need to worry about losing access to your information.

Don’t settle for a lightweight donor data solution that isn’t built to manage your needs. Instead, invest in software that’s built to last.

2. Track your supporters’ giving history

Knowing how your supporters tend to give, when they’ve given to your cause and what inspires them to give can bolster your nonprofit’s fundraising, stewardship and engagement efforts.

Yet, many organizations take a haphazard approach to managing giving histories, leaving nonprofits like yours with an incomplete understanding of their community’s giving habits.

As your team thinks of new ways to manage your donor data, be aware of unique software tools that are designed to help nonprofits make sense of their supporters’ giving history.

Read through these essential ways your nonprofit can better understand how your donors give:

  • Organize giving history into a timeline. Choose a database that organizes your donors’ giving history data into succinct, easily-scannable timelines.
  • Leverage at-a-glance giving summaries. Pick software that summarizes all-time giving totals, average gift amounts and other key donation data.
  • Keep philanthropic and wealth screening data in sight. Find donor management tools that integrate with prospect research software so you can compare it with your known donor giving history data.

As you revamp your donor data management strategy, look for tools like these to give your team the best possible understanding of your community’s giving habits.

3. Manage robust donor profiles

When you think about donor data management, one of the first things that comes to mind is likely donor profiles.

Donor profiles are compilations of everything you know about individual constituents, giving your team a summary of who your donors are and important personal connections.

Your donor profiles traditionally include the following data:

  • Contact information. This consists of information like an individual’s home address, their email, their phone number and even their social media handles.
  • Giving history. Your donor profiles should tell you each and every time a person has given to your cause, how much and to which campaigns.
  • Engagement history. You’ll want to track when your nonprofit has engaged with an individual—everything from inviting them to an event to sending them an email.
  • Personal information. Use your donor profiles to note important identifiers, like what industry your supporters work in, biographical information, familial connections and other data important to your strategy. You might gather this info by asking donors to fill out a survey, or by conducting research in your community.

Choose a donor database that gives your team full control over your donor profiles. Customize data fields and then use those data points to link your supporters together into donor segments. This way, your team doesn’t have to settle for a one-size-fits-all donor data approach.

4. Process customized data reports

Your nonprofit has unique needs and goals that differentiate it from other organizations. These factors impact how your team collects and leverages donor data.

Your team needs to customize its donor management platform to collect and organize information. Perhaps more importantly, you should implement customized reporting to review that data in a way that makes sense for your cause.

Using your donor management system, you can generate custom reports that highlight metrics that are crucial to your cause. Reports like:

  • Overdue pledges
  • Monthly donors with upcoming expiring credit card numbers
  • Donors who have downgraded
  • Donors with high engagement
  • Projected cash flow

It can be hard to find planned giving opportunities when you can’t report on who your most engaged and long-term donors are. Find a CRM that makes it easy to generate and export relevant reports.

5. Survey your donor community

Another important source of informative, relationship-building data can be generated by sending out donor surveys.

Your nonprofit’s donor management system should have features in place to create customized questionnaires.

Leverage these surveys to learn more about how your donors feel about you and your cause. You might even learn what’s keeping them from giving.

Using your CRM’s survey builder, send out donor surveys that:

  • Address segmented lists of donors. Create customized surveys that address the needs of specific donor types, like first-time givers, lapsed donors, and returning supporters.
  • Match your nonprofit’s style. Donors are less likely to respond to a request to complete a survey that looks generic or unfamiliar. Use your software to design a branded request email to ensure donors feel comfortable taking your survey.

Your donor surveys function as a tool to show community members that your team values their input and experiences. If donors only ever hear from you when you want a gift, your relationship will feel too one-sided.

Understanding your donors depends on investing in the right donor data management tools. With these tips in mind, your team is ready to start maximizing the impact of your donor data insights!

donor data

Jay Love

Jay B. Love is a Co-Founder and current Chief Relationship Officer at Bloomerang. He has served this sector for 33 years and is considered the most well-known senior statesman whose advice is sought constantly. Jay has also held integral positions with Social Solutions, Blackbaud, Master Software Corporation and was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry. He has also been a business consultant for numerous high tech firms throughout the U.S.

November 2, 2018

You May Also Enjoy

Become a Member

Whether you’re with a large team or a solo entrepreneur looking to start the next great cause, we have a membership package that will help you grow your network and your cause.