Five Ways to Use Data and Analytics

Five Ways to Use Data and Analytics
Over the holidays we spent some time catching up on articles from our friends, partners, and influencers and one caught our eye that we wanted to share with you. As we head into the new year we will be focusing on using data and analytics to help inform decisions your nonprofit makes to increase fundraising. We came across an article written by Sally Boucher, the Director of Research at WealthEngine, about ways you can boost your nonprofit’s relevancy and increase your fundraising based on using your organization’s analytics and we had to share them with you.

Here are Sally’s five ways to use data and analytics to increase your nonprofit’s relevance:

  • Statistical Profiling – Allow nonprofits to develop accurate profiles of their best donors, and determine what characteristics they share. Knowing essential characteristics of your current best donors allows nonprofits to message them in a more personal and targeted way, developing deeper and more meaningful relationships, and enhancing donor loyalty among this most important group.
  • Profiling Donors – Knowing the profiles of your best donors can also help you to identify additional supporters, who look very much like your best supporters, but aren’t yet donating to your cause. If your best supporters have a net worth of $500 to $750K, are 54-65 years of age, and live in large metropolitan areas, who else in your database matches that profile? By identifying this group of under-givers and/or never-givers, you can share specific messages that have resonated solidly with your best donors, and have the confidence that they will respond likewise.
  • Lifestyle Attributes – Further enhance your understanding of your constituency by appending interests in categories such as politics, the environment, pets, the arts or healthcare. Data providers are now able to append donor and prospect files with literally thousands of lifestyle attributes to enable you to segment your prospects by their interests, and message them in unique ways to stir their emotions.
  • Finding New Prospects – It is now possible to develop very targeted and specific prospect lists that match the characteristics of your current donors. Do you need to find prospects in the Los Angeles area who are environmentally aware, have pets and are avid cyclists? Whatever your needs, consider the many and varied sources of data that can help you build a unique prospecting list that will match your needs exactly.
  • Appropriate ‘Asks’ – The days of asking each prospect for the same “average” gift amount are over. Analytics allows you to quickly analyze the average gift size for those in each net worth or giving capacity strata, and target your new prospects to give at the rate at which their peers or look-a-likes are contributing.

With the prevalence and availability of data of all kinds, and the accessibility of analytics, whether done in-house or outsourced, there are no more excuses for a one-size fits all solicitation strategy. Data can help you become more relevant, more authentic, more personal, and more successful.

For additional examples of these five ways your nonprofit can add value to your fundraising, please see Sally’s full post over at WealthEngine’s blog.


The Connected Cause is a place for experts in the nonprofit online space to share perspective, offer guidance and promote best practices for using today’s technology effectively. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive source of collaborative thought leadership for the nonprofit industry.


  1. This is a big topic, and a good summary here. Analyzing your data to determing your target audience, or expand on your target audience can be a powerful process to weild. Once you have the information, using your CRM, or social media, to reach those audiences with amazing accuracy can produce great results.

  2. Bryan Giese

    I think about this a lot. Sure you can teach a dog to ride a bike, but then what do you do with him? I see this a lot with data also. An organization will be so proud of the new data collection system and all the data it contains, but when I ask what they do with it, they don’t have a ready answer.

    Data is useless if it isn’t reviewed an analyzed, although it can be overwhelming. Think about what you want to find. Come up with a hypothesis, figure out what data points would prove or disprove it, and then analyze. Then you’ll have more time to go bike riding with the dog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *