Every thriving nonprofit needs loyal, committed donors who feel like they are a part of your cause. And, in order to retain truly engaged donors, you need build personal relationships at scale. The problem is that building thousands of authentic personal relationships can seem almost impossible. After all, each relationship requires time, energy and resources from your already strapped team. Even though this task seems daunting, there is hope! The right types of data can give you the fuel you need to know your donors better, communicate with them on an individual level and ultimately grow giving.
The secret weapon to building relationships at scale lies in three key data sources: social, financial and location. Here’s a look at how you can tap into this information to create sustained engagement around your cause.
Donor’s Social Data
Last year, 81 percent of people in the U.S. had a social media profile. That number always seems stunning to me, but not surprising. The broad adoptions of social media allows your nonprofit to tap into a wealth of personal data on your donors. And with modern software, you can dynamically mine insights on your donors instead of having to manually comb through your social profiles one at a time.
For example, let’s say you have a donor who’s been with you for three years and has given a gift to your organization around tax time every year. You want to understand her motivations and interests better, and are hoping to encourage her to give a little more (or a little more frequently).
By reviewing the information she’s shared on Facebook and Twitter, you might learn that she’s on the board of several organizations, in a senior position at a Fortune 500 company and has a cousin who sits on your board. This one piece of data tells you she could be a great fit for recruiting corporate sponsors for your 10K fundraising event because of her personal and corporate connections. It also likely means she has a high net income and so you should avoid a $50/month recurring donation ask.
A good CRM uses insights like these to give you recommendations about what kind of gift you can ask donors for, what events you should invite them to and how you can leverage their hobbies and interests to grow giving. Simply by unleashing algorithms that dig through social channels, you can learn about donors’ occupation and co-workers; interests and passions; friends and social connections; other organizations and networks relevant to your cause; and how supporters are related and connected to one another.
Donor’s Financial Data
Although you can get some idea of what income bracket a giver may fall into by knowing their job title and company name, you need deeper financial details in order to compel additional giving. For instance, every donor has a unique “giving capacity.” This means the maximum amount of money (or time) a person can comfortably give to your cause without breaking their budget.
Best-in-class CRM software is able to combine your own historical financial data with data from third party wealth databases (real estate holdings, etc). From these analytics, you can gauge a person’s overall giving capacity, and identify if there’s a large gap between what they’ve donated and what they could donate. If there’s a significant gap, you’ll be able to use specific campaigns to target the donor and ask for more, knowing you’re not pushing them past what’s comfortable for them.
Also based on this financial data, you can create forecasts around what giving might look like in the next few months, or years. This can give you the insight you need to stay the course you’re on (if predictions are positive) or switch up your tactics (if they’re negative). More data gives you more power to make the best decisions for your organization.
Donor’s Location Data
A lot of times a donor’s physical location (home address, work, etc) can provide the most valuable insights into their giving behavior. By leveraging geo-locations to figure out how givers are connected to one another (and to our organization) geographically, you can create a more complete picture of each individual donor. And by knowing where each person is located, you can offer them volunteer or participation opportunities that are relevant to them and more likely to be attended.
Knowing which donors are clustered together in neighborhoods, around churches or near landmarks important to your cause helps quickly optimize fundraising. This is especially true if you can see what issues/campaigns drive giving in particular areas. Mapping donors helps target direct marketing efforts, determine event locations and identify your biggest evangelists for the cause.
The amount of data available today can seem overwhelming. But when you are able to tap into the most relevant data… at exactly the right time… you can transform your fundraising. Going deeper into the social, financial and location details behind the people funding your organization can help you quickly build relationships at scale and create a profound impact on your success.
This type of in-depth data helps you better personalize your communications, leaving the donor feeling known and appreciated – and leaving you with far better odds of getting larger, more frequent gifts.
Gabe Cooper is the Founder and CEO of Virtuous, a nonprofit CRM helping charities raise more money and do more good. Prior to Virtuous, Gabe became a founding member of Brushfire and Shotzoom Software (Golfshot). He went on to build a series of highly successful digital properties in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. He has a true passion for creating market-defining products and helping organizations re-imagine how to reach their constituents through technology.