It’s no secret that highly involved supporters are essential for your nonprofit to further its mission. Retaining donors and building long-term relationships with them allows you to bring in the consistent funding you need to run your programs and operate your organization. Plus, your volunteers, event participants, and advocates play their own critical roles in your mission, so it’s also important to keep them engaged.
Data-driven supporter engagement strategies tend to be the most successful, and you likely have a lot of information stored in your donor database that you can reference. However, this data needs to be analyzed in order to provide actionable insights. The conclusions drawn from this process are collectively known as donor analytics.
In this guide, we’ll discuss four ways donor analytics can help your nonprofit boost supporter involvement, including:
- Creating Targeted Appeals
- Making Your Storytelling More Compelling
- Sending Personalized Thank-You Messages
- Improving Financial Management
To glean these insights, you first need to analyze the right information. Jitasa’s guide to donor analytics recommends looking at giving, engagement, demographic, and predictive donor data to better understand your supporters’ motivations and preferences for being involved with your nonprofit. Then, you can tailor your fundraising, marketing, and financial planning activities to those motivations and preferences. Let’s dive in!
1. Creating Targeted Appeals
Chances are your nonprofit runs a variety of different initiatives that you ask supporters to participate in. To maximize the number of supporters who respond to these appeals, use donor analytics to determine the best target audience for each opportunity. Then, tailor your communications to those audiences.
Some initiatives where targeted appeals can be particularly helpful include:
- Volunteer opportunities. In your database, make note of supporters’ interests that are relevant to certain areas of your mission. That way, you can promote your volunteer opportunities to those who are most likely to be interested in participating. For example, an animal shelter might keep track of which supporters prefer dogs or cats and advertise different volunteer positions accordingly.
- Matching gifts. By tracking donors’ employment information, you can identify those who work for a company with a matching gift program. Then, you can reach out to these donors individually to remind them to submit match requests to their employers each time they contribute, multiplying the impact of their gifts.
- Major gift solicitation. Analyzing supporters’ wealth and philanthropic markers allows you to identify potential major donors among your supporter base. A strong prospect needs to have both the financial capacity and the willingness to support your mission through a major gift. Supplement the information in your donor database with specialized prospect research tools to get a complete picture of each candidate before reaching out.
To figure out the best way for each supporter to be involved, leverage demographic data like their age, location, employer, and interests, as well as the predictive analytics drawn from wealth and philanthropic data. Analyzing information on supporters’ past giving and engagement can then help you decide how much money or time is reasonable to ask for in your appeal.
2. Making Your Storytelling More Compelling
Many nonprofits use storytelling to inspire supporters to get involved with their mission because stories engage supporters’ emotions more than facts alone. To make your stories even more compelling, leverage donor analytics to discover:
- What types of stories would catch your supporters’ attention. Supporters often like to see themselves in stories, so feature donors as main characters who share demographic characteristics and engagement histories with your target audience. Alternatively, if you want your story’s protagonist to be one of your organization’s beneficiaries, ensure the story aligns with your audience’s interests.
- Which marketing channels to use for storytelling. Donor engagement analytics also encompass the marketing content your supporters prefer to engage with. Determine which channels are receiving the most interactions and concentrate on telling compelling stories in those materials.
To see these tips in practice, let’s say an educational nonprofit is preparing to send out its year-end fundraising appeals, and the campaign’s primary target audience is Millennial donors. By analyzing demographic and engagement data, they determine that many supporters in that generation are interested in improving elementary education, and their preferred communication channels are email and social media.
With this in mind, the organization could convince this audience to donate by sharing stories about an elementary school’s students who achieved academic success through its free after-school tutoring program in their Instagram posts and email newsletter.
3. Sending Personalized Thank-You Messages
In addition to appeals, donor analytics can influence your follow-up communications after supporters engage with your organization. In particular, the insights you glean will help you send personalized thank-you messages that help donors feel valued.
To effectively leverage analytics for donor recognition, try these tips:
- Address each supporter by their preferred name. Along with other demographic data, make notes in your database about whether each supporter likes to be addressed by their title and last name, their first name, or a nickname in the greeting of a thank-you note.
- Mention the donor’s individual contributions. Review the donor’s giving and engagement history to thank them for the exact amount they gave, the number of hours they volunteered, or the ways they participated in your event or advocacy campaign.
- Provide an opportunity to give feedback. If a supporter fills out a survey or answers a satisfaction question, it shows that they care about their involvement with your organization. Not only can you use their responses to improve their experience, but you should also track which supporters give feedback as part of your engagement analytics.
According to eCardWidget, leveraging analytics to personally thank donors is important for retaining them. Supporters who feel valued are more likely to stay involved with your organization over time, saving you money on donor acquisition and ensuring consistent support.
4. Improving Financial Management
Although they may not be the first aspects that come to mind, your nonprofit financial management activities are essential to your supporter engagement strategy. Being transparent with donors about how you manage their contributions builds trust in your organization, which encourages them to stay involved.
Here are a few ways that donor analytics can apply to your nonprofit’s financial management:
- Budgeting. Analyzing supporters’ giving patterns helps you predict when you’re most likely to receive a large number of individual donations so you can allocate your funding accordingly. For instance, nonprofit giving often peaks at the end of the calendar year, so you might wait to launch a new program until after the new year to ensure you’ll have enough funding to do so.
- Revenue generation. Diversifying your funding allows you to bring in more sustainable revenue. Review your donors’ engagement histories and interests to determine what new revenue streams would appeal to your supporter base. For instance, you might decide to create a membership program to increase long-term involvement or add a new annual fundraising event to your calendar.
- Financial reporting. By tracking supporter contributions accurately, you can ensure you report your revenue and expenses correctly on your end-of-year financial statements. Plus, you’ll know which supporters you’ve sent donation acknowledgements to for tax deduction purposes.
While many nonprofits view fundraising and financial management as separate processes, they actually work together to further your mission. Therefore, make sure you don’t overlook financial management activities as you work on involving supporters more deeply in your organization’s efforts.
When deciding whether to get involved with your nonprofit, supporters take a variety of considerations into account. Some of these include their personal interest in your mission and available opportunities, the experience of contributing their money or time, the potential impact of their involvement, and their trust in your organization. So, an engagement strategy that also considers these desires and is backed by donor analytics is most likely to succeed in boosting involvement at your nonprofit.