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By Ryan Ponzurick

Your Nonprofit CRM: A Q&A Guide to Improve Data Management

Your nonprofit’s CRM is a goldmine for important information regarding your nonprofit’s constituents. Without this important software solution, it would be incredibly difficult to keep up with fundraising outreach or to establish an effective engagement strategy for supporters. Despite having access to this important tech solution, have you ever looked at your nonprofit annual report and seen holes in your own fundraising strategies? =&0=& The best way to improve your data management for more strategic fundraising efforts is making the best use of your donor database measurements. You’ll need to know what measurements to keep track of, how to best track them, and how to read this important data. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding data management, all of which can be answered by making better use of your CRM.  

How do I streamline data collection?

Too many nonprofits manually transfer data from one software solution to another. Doing this takes time and energy that could be better spent on efforts more related to that nonprofit’s mission. Throughout this process, they have to choose which pieces of data are important to transfer and which are irrelevant for future efforts. =&1=& Look at the functionality of your CRM to see if you also have access to fundraising and data collection software such as donation pages, surveys, and other tools. Don’t forget that even the best CRM software might not offer these functions, but may integrate with other software solutions that do. Some of the important information you can collect from your CRM or integrated software includes:
  • Online giving information. Your CRM should store details about the gift information when someone donates to your nonprofit. Your CRM should automatically pull and store information from your donation page software about each donor’s gift amount. Then, you’ll have access to the average amounts plus a historical timeline of giving for each of your donors.
  • Matching gift eligibility. Ask donors about their employment on donation or survey forms. When this information is added to your CRM, it’s easy to check matching gift eligibility from a matching gift database.
  • Donor communication metrics. When you can connect to your donors through an email service within your CRM, it’s easy to streamline the flow of important metrics such as open and click-through rate. Plus, you can auto-populate the names and contact information of donors into templates with this feature.
For more features and integrations to look for in your donor database, check out Bloomerang’s guide to find the best nonprofit CRM.

How do I track multiple methods of engagement?

There are so many opportunities for engagement offered to your donors through your nonprofit. They can come to events, donate, post to social media, read your newsletters, visit your website, and more. While you could go through and check each of these metrics individually in your CRM, wouldn’t it be easier if there was a single engagement score that measures all of these things? That’s exactly what Dr. Adrian Sargeant asked himself and why he came up with an algorithm to measure overarching donor engagement for individual donors. =&5=&In Bloomerang’s CRM profiles, this engagement level presents itself as a meter measuring an individual’s level of engagement as “cold,” “warm,” “hot,” and “on fire!” When you have access to the engagement metrics for individual donors, you can more easily: =&6=&major giving=&8=& The donors who are heavily engaged (or “on fire!”) and also have good wealth indicators are likely to be good candidates for major giving in the future. =&9=&=&10=&

By donorsearch

7 things you may not have known about charitable giving

Nonprofits are in the game of giving, and when it comes to keeping your game sharp and strong, you’ll need to know all the charitable giving ins-and-outs. The good news is that, according to a Giving USA report, 2015 was the most charitable year for Americans.  The public is ready to give, and you’ll want to use all the information you can to reap the rewards of these increasingly generous people. But with tons of data available about charitable giving, the process can be overwhelming. That’s why DonorSearch is bringing you 7 statistics that will help illuminate your understanding of charitable giving. Are you ready to learn more? Take a look at our list of top picks:
  1. Giving by individuals comprised 71 percent of total giving in 2015.
  2. Giving by foundations—which includes grants made by independent, community, and operating foundations—amounted to 16 percent of all gifts made in 2015.
  3. Giving by bequest accounted for 9 percent of all gifts made in 2015.
  4. Giving by corporations comprised 5 percent of total giving in 2015.
  5. The health subsector received the fifth-largest share of charitable dollars in 2015, at 8 percent of the total.
  6. Gifts made directly to individuals amounted to 2 percent of total charitable dollars in 2015.
  7. Giving by bequest increased 27.8 percent in current dollars between 2013 and 2014. This increase precedes an increase of 2.1 percent between 2014 and 2015. The cumulative change in current-dollar giving by bequest between 2013 and 2015 is 30.4 percent.

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By DonorSearch

[Guest Post] Maximize Your Donor Solicitation’s Response Rates

This blog focuses on the world of prospect research and various related fundraising topics. To diversify our subject matter, we like to feature the work of our friends and colleagues in the community. Join me in welcoming Marvin Dawson, Vice President of MMI Direct, for his thoughts on how to improve donor solicitation response rates. You’ve agonized over every word in the copy, spent hours working with your designer to make sure the layout is perfect, and tested multiple calls to action.  You’re finally ready to mail your incredible donor solicitation, right? Before you do, you should ask yourself one more question — have you used the same care to choose which potential donors to solicit as you have in designing the mail piece itself?  Many marketers aren’t aware that their list management decisions can have just as powerful an effect on results as choosing the best creative. There are three important questions you need to ask yourself to ensure you are mailing to the right recipients: 1. Is every address deliverable? Nothing is more wasteful than paying to mail something that is never going to arrive. The first step in improving your list’s deliverability is to run it through CASS Certification to standardize the address, append a 9-digit zip code and add a delivery point barcode.  With over 11% of all Americans moving in a typical year, the second thing you should do is to match your updated list against the National Change of Address (NCOA) database to make sure it contains the latest addresses.  Finally, since as many as 40% of Americans who move don’t bother to file a change of address notice with the USPS, you should also consider using the Proprietary Change of Address (PCOA) database to update your list with the correct addresses for this group. 2. Are there addresses you should exclude from the mailing? We almost universally recommend not mailing to jails or prisons, military bases, nursing homes, trailer parks, vacant lots, disaster areas, and addresses on acquisition lists that are also on the DMA Do Not Mail list.  Depending upon your organization’s target audience, records with no names or only company names may or may not be worthwhile for you to send, as might records going to unique zip codes like the Pentagon or a large university.  Finally, you may want to exclude mailing to records on an acquisition list that have been flagged as deceased (though you should test these names a few times first, as sometimes they continue to respond, presumably from a surviving spouse!). 3. Is more than one copy of a mailing going to a particular person and/or address? Optimizing your merge purge operations to eliminate duplicate mailings can be surprisingly complex, but often pays out in higher returns. Want to learn more about how to maximize the response rate to your donor solicitation?  Our free eBook, How to Use Data Hygiene to Maximize Your Direct Mail’s ROI, explains in simple terms what you need to know.  Download it here!   Marvin Dawson (marvin@mmidirect.com), VP of MMI Direct, has been managing data hygiene and merge purge operations for a wide variety of companies for decades.  He eats, breathes and dreams about data, and would love to help your company improve the ROI of your direct mail!      

By DonorSearch

[Guest Post] Major Gift Study Shows Prospect Research Matters

This blog focuses on the world of prospect research and various related fundraising topics. Today, we’re happy to welcome a contribution from Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, regarding the recent report, Mastering Major Gifts. Please enjoy!  

Major Gift Study Shows Prospect Research Matters

Did you ever stop to ask yourself, “Does prospect research really matter? And, is it worth the cost?” A new study of more than 660 small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations says YES! Dr. Adrian Sargeant and Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, set out to answer the question: Can small and mid-sized organizations (with budgets of $10 million or less) really raise major gifts? And if so, how? Answers are revealed in the results of a new research project – click here to download the free report. One of the key findings was the importance of your major gifts pipeline, and who is in it.  To put it another way, having too many first time, prospective donors can be harmful (in the short term) to your bottom line.

New Donors Cost Money

To be more exact, for every additional new, prospective donor in a major gift pipeline, it was costing an organization, on average, $300. In other words, new donor acquisition is an investment. And, if you’re going to be making the investment, you want to do so carefully and with the right prospects. That’s where donor research comes in.

Cultivating Existing Donors Matters

The study also showed that every additional subsequent donor in a major gifts pipeline (i.e., working with your existing major gift donors) resulted in an additional $2,200 in major gifts. The average prospect list for survey participants was around 20 people, so picking the right 20 is an important task.  Prospect research will help you determine exactly which individuals belong in your pipeline at any given time. Prospect research helps inform your decisions about who goes into your major gifts pipeline, which could mean the difference between securing major gifts or not. We’d like to thank DonorSearch for being a valuable partner to the nonprofit sector in conducting this important research. How have you used prospect research to fill your pipeline and secure major gifts? Let us know how. If you’re interested in learning more about major gifts, we suggest that you read DonorSearch’s Guide to Major Gifts. Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, has been a development professional and fundraising consultant for more than 15 years. Recognized as a leading expert in her field, she’s helped small and large nonprofits alike raise millions of dollars through major gift and capital campaigns, board development, annual fund campaigns, direct mail, and planned gift solicitations. Amy’s primary mission is to make nonprofit development simple. She helps you clear away the complexity and raise funds much more effectively.   

By donorsearch

DonorSearch’s Charitable Giving Database

The strongest indicator of future giving is past giving. Curious how we know? We know past giving’s role in predicting future giving because we have back tested our predictive models against $5 billion in known giving. That $5 billion came from 2 million donors to 400 fundraising organizations. Look at these statistics:
  • A donor who has made a gift of $100k+ to a nonprofit organization is 32 times as likely to donate charitably as an average person is.
  • A donor who has made a gift between $50k – $100k to a nonprofit organization is 25 times as likely to donate charitably as an average person is.
  • A donor who has made a gift between $10k – $25k to a nonprofit organization is 10 times as likely to donate charitably as an average person is.
  • A donor who has made a gift between $5k – $10k to a nonprofit organization is 5 times as likely to donate charitably as an average person is.

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