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Nonprofit organizations rely on contributions from donors to meet campaign goals and ultimately thrive. Still, you’d be surprised at just how many of them lack the proper means to adequately research and engage with current and prospective donors. And the less a nonprofit knows about someone, the less likely it is to maximize that person’s donation—if the person donates at all.
The reality is that donor research enables a nonprofit to work decisively and efficiently to increase donations. But only if the right data is being used in the right way.
30% of nonprofits cease to exist after 10 years.1 While there is a myriad of factors that contribute to this stat, one of those reasons is undoubtedly a lack of access to the fundraising data and proper data management necessary for personalizing donor interactions and strategizing overall engagement. (A lack of interest in using data altogether could be another reason.)
With the right donor research at your disposal, you can learn (among other things):
These are critical pieces of information to figure out about a prospective donor because they can go a long way toward helping you maximize a donation. But a lot of data and analysis go into knowing either one with a high degree of accuracy. So how can you use data to improve your current donor research and boost your donations overall? Keep reading for the top four ways to do just that!
1. Create a realistic fundraising plan
It’s OK to have a fundraising goal that’s ambitious, as long as it also keeps one foot firmly planted in reality. You already know your campaign’s budget, but do you know which donors you should target to deliver the biggest bang for your buck? Do you know the dollar amount each donor is likely to contribute? Knowing the answers to these questions via donor research will help you create and budget a fundraising plan with bold and attainable goals.
2. Personalize donor engagements
We recently covered the importance of personalizing donor engagement in a post on the best practices for nonprofits. Personalization is a surefire way to show a prospective donor that you see them as more than a dollar amount or as merely a means to an end. And just as importantly, the ability to personalize donor engagement means you understand how a donor prefers to be contact and when, what events have taken place in the donor’s life, and what causes they care about most.
If creating a realistic fundraising plan is like pouring the foundation of a home, then personalizing donor engagements is the same as knowing where to install doors people are most likely to use once the house is built. You want to make it easy, even convenient, for them to enter and move around the house.
But you can’t pour a foundation or install doors to a home without a blueprint. And you can’t create a realistic fundraising plan and learn how to interact with people if you haven’t done your donor research.
3. Foster sustainable donor relationships
Number three on this list is all about looking at the long-term potential of a donor. Every donor interaction is an opportunity to advance the relationship in a meaningful way. Sure, there will be times you reach out to the donor for a contribution to your latest fundraising campaign. But you should also capitalize on opportunities just to check in with the donor. With insights from donor research, you might learn about a previous donor’s recent promotion or award recognition. Now you can send a congratulatory email or text. A little act that can go a long way toward retaining the donor and earning their appreciation.
Improve donor engagement and boost donations with Nexis for Development Professionals
There’s one through-line to be found in the three ways you can improve donor engagement and maximize donor contributions: The need for efficient, data-rich donor research. Nexis for Development Professionals is a donor research platform that enables you to:
You’ll have access to the data you need for a 360-degree view of your donors. So you know exactly how to engage and when, what to say, and how much of a donation to ask for. Improve your donor research and maximize donations with Nexis Development. Get started here.