Did you know:
- The average donor in the United States is 64 years old and donates to organizations twice a year?
- Female donors are more likely to contribute through influence from social media, while male donors are more influenced by emails.
- Female crowdfunding donors tend to be younger, have higher educational levels, and are most likely based in the Western U.S.
These statistics are available because nonprofits have consistently tracked and analyzed data for years.
But why is that needed? Donor data is valuable since it informs nonprofits’ strategies, the people to target, the platforms to direct most of their efforts, etc.
We explore more about the importance of donor data, the types of data you can collect, and more in this article.
Why is donor data important?
Donor data is a collection of information about donors who have previously contributed to your nonprofit organization. It could also be data you purchase from third-party vendors about donors who have donated to other similar organizations or data you collect using different strategies that we explore later in this article.
Here’s how donor data helps you:
What donor data to track?
To begin collecting donor data, you need to understand which data points are most likely to influence your decisions. While essential data points might vary from organization to organization, your donor database should include five essential information points. They are:
- Demographic details
- Wealth indicators
- Nonprofit involvement
- Political giving
- Hobbies and interests.
The most important donor data you need to collect is demographic details. Here is the basic information you can collect from your donors:
- Educational background
- Employment status
- Communication preferences
- Contact information such as phone number and email address
This enables you to personalize your conversations with donors, know their contact details, and cater to their communication needs.
Wealth indicators are an essential part of any donor database because they help you identify high-value donors. It allows a nonprofit to understand which donors to focus on and spend their energy in trying to nurture.
A significant donation from one high-value donor can boost an organization’s annual funds for the year.
Here’s what you should look for when wealth screening a prospective donor:
- Real estate ownership
- Business affiliations
- Previous nonprofit contributions
Gauging a prospective donor’s nonprofit involvement is an excellent indicator of their intent to donate and the amount they are most likely to donate. When tracking previous nonprofit involvement, take note of –
- Donors’ engagement with your nonprofit: Are they aware of your nonprofit organization and its mission? If not, you can target them with awareness campaigns.
- The recency of their last donation: If they’ve donated to an organization recently, they might be less likely to donate immediately.
- The frequency of their donations: How frequently do they donate to nonprofit organizations – are they monthly givers, or do they donate once a year?
- Average donation amount: What is the money they typically donate? Do they donate large sums of money at once, or do they donate small amounts over the year?
These data points will help you determine your nonprofit outreach strategies whenever you plan and execute a fundraising campaign.
Your prospective donors may not always donate to a nonprofit organization. A great way to expand your donor database is to track political giving. People who donate to political organizations are most likely to donate to charities because they are willing to part with their money for a cause they believe in.
We’ve listed ways to research political donors in our article Your guide to donor research through political donor lookup tools.
Hobbies and interests:
Another important data point that you can track is prospective donors’ hobbies and interests. They will give you an idea about activities your target audience is interested in, and you can design events around the same.
For example, if many of your prospective high-value donors are interested in golf, you can host a golf-themed event to get them involved.
Now that we’ve explored some important donor data points you can collect, let’s find out how you can collect this data in the next section.
Strategies to collect donor data
Knowing where to look to expand your donor database is essential. At the end of the donor data collection process, you need to have a relevant list that will convert prospective donors and give you a great return on your investment. Beyond data collection, you also need to actively plan and implement strategies to gain more data.
Here are a few great techniques to acquire relevant donor data:
- Subscribe to a good donor database software
- View your previous donor data
- Check your web traffic
- Donation forms
- Social media followers
- SMS opt-in campaigns
- Calling campaigns
Subscribe to a good donor database software
A good donor database software will help you streamline and manage your data efficiently by collecting and organizing it.
For example, through CallHub, one of the campaigns you can create is the peer-to-peer texting campaign. You can engage in two-way texting conversations with prospective donors and collect more information about their hobbies and interests, demographic details, etc. The best part? CallHub syncs with your database software (or CRM) so that all your data is organized and in one place.
A good donor database software will help you collect donor data such as:
- Their name, occupation status, marital status, location, age.
- Communication preferences such as whether they prefer communicating via email, phone, texts.
- How far along the nurturing funnel is each donor.
View your previous donor data
The most accessible place to look for donor data is to view your log of prior donations. Understand who donated to your cause previously, check if their information is logged correctly or if it needs to be updated, and create outreach campaigns to revive your relationship with these donors.
Since previous donors have already built enough trust to donate money to your organization once, they will more likely donate again if you put efforts into nurturing relationships with them.
Check your web traffic
A nonprofit’s website is a great place to gather data. You can do this in two ways:
- Check web traffic to understand the demographic details of people visiting your website.
- Use information people have entered on your contact forms to begin donor nurturing campaigns.
Individuals visiting your website are already interested in your cause. Through this collection method, you will know –
- Basic demographic details of visitors such as age, gender, location.
- The platforms through which you are receiving web traffic.
- The most common reason for which people fill in your contact forms.
You can leverage this data to reach out to donors for a more personalized experience.
An online donation form can help you do all the weight lifting when collecting donor data. You can display your donation forms on your website, which people can fill to display their intent to donate.
Donation forms not only help you collect basic information and understand a prospective donor’s intent to donate but can do so much more. Here’s what else you can know through a donation form:
- Payment preferences
- Typical donation amount
- If it is a one-time, recurring, or repeat donation.
- Contact information and preferences.
For tips on creating the perfect donation form, you can refer to our article The Essential Qualities of an Online Donation Form
Social media followers
Social media can help you with donor data in two ways:
- Once you have the contact information of prospective donors, you can look them up on social media. This is called social discovery. You can look up the interests and hobbies of your donors, glean information about their marital status, family, etc.
- The other way you can harness the power of social media is by reaching out to your existing followers and running campaigns to target them and involve them in the donor nurturing flow.
SMS opt-in campaigns
SMS opt-in campaigns allow prospective donors to opt-in to your messaging services. You can set up an automated text messaging campaign that nudges people to share their data with you. Here’s how it works:
Do you notice a shortcode number, 33339 to which the message has been sent? You can rent a shortcode number that will uniquely represent your nonprofit organization. Prospective donors can easily remember a short number and memorize your brand.
You might have purchased a list of donors from a third-party vendor or looked up donor information using specific tools or social media. However, to gain an in-depth understanding of your donors, you can run a calling campaign.
You can conduct phone surveys, build donor relations, solicit donations, and more while you are collecting donor data.
After collecting donor data, it is time to leverage it to boost your fundraising, improve donor relations, and more. But what are ways in which you can leverage it? Let’s explore.
How do you leverage donor data?
Once you’ve collected and analyzed your data, you can begin using it to inform your decisions. We’ve listed a few ways in which you can use donor data.
- Allocate your resources: Using the information you have learned through your donor data, you can:
- Understand which social media platforms to spend time and money on.
- Improve your website experience if you have high traffic.
- Run ad campaigns to target specific segments.
- Plan and budget for events depending on your donors’ interests.
Many monetary decisions that you would like to make, especially for donor nurturing, can be made through your donor data.
- Improve donor communication: You can understand your donors’ communication preferences and subscribe to communication tools accordingly. You can run calling campaigns, texting campaigns, email outreach campaigns, and social media campaigns, depending on where most of your donors would like to interact with you.
- Make optimum asks: Understanding the optimum donation amount you can ask is a great way to leverage donor data. Using wealth indicators and other metrics such as professional backgrounds, you can determine the donation amounts your donors might want to give.
- Consider soliciting major gifts from high-value donors: You can plan for major gifts, recurring donations, monthly giving, and more through donor data. Determine which donors have the financial capacity to give in such a manner, build relationships over time, and make your asks.
How do you shortlist a great donor database tool?
With all the data you need to collect, clean, and analyze, you need a donor database tool that is up to the task. It needs to help you maintain all your data in one place, track previous conversations and consist of features that reduce the time you spend on administrative tasks.
Here are a few features to consider when looking for a donor database tool:
- Helps communications: A great donor database tool also facilitates communication or seamlessly integrates with communication tools and stores a record of previous conversations. CallHub, for example, is a tool that allows you to communicate with donors through its calling and texting software, email features, and also integrates easily with CRM systems so that all your conversations are recorded safely.
- List cleaning: Maintaining a clean list is essential to expend energy only on those prospective contacts that are likely to donate to your campaign. A clean list eliminates wrong numbers, unresponsive contacts, numbers listed as DNC, and more. Read our article How to Clean an Existing List & Maintain Clean Contact List to understand more. A good software should enable you to maintain a clean list.
- List segmentation: List segmentation allows you to create segments of donors on your database based on certain standard criteria such as age, location, educational background, etc. It greatly helps you design and implement targeted outreach strategies. Looking for a software that enables list segmentation would be a good investment.
- Capacity for managing the size of your donor list: Some donor database software charge you according to the number of contacts that you upload onto their platform. While others still charge monthly subscriptions for the use of their features. Depending on how large or small your donor database is, choose a software that is both financially feasible and can manage your list.
- Customer testimonials/reviews: Like with anything we shop for these days, reviews and customer testimonials are essential to understand whether a product is worth investing in. Look for reviews and testimonials before you consider subscribing to a donor database software.
An in-depth understanding of donor data is important to know why and how you can use donor data to benefit your nonprofit, make informed decisions and cater to your donors in a better manner.
CallHub has a number of resources that can further help you on your quest to collect donor data. Read our article How To Choose A Donor Management CRM That Fits You Best where we explore the best donor database management software for you.
Featured Image Source: Lukas