A nonprofit organization that can not only collect data but analyze it (and translate it into meaningful information about donor behavior) can rule the fundraising universe. That’s because data-driven decisions are typically decisions with less risk, more science, and, thus, they lead to a powerful thrust which increases revenue streams.
At Icreon, we provide right-arm services to nonprofit clients with data integration. Whether you’re migrating information from one content management system (CMS) to another, launching a new Associate Management System (AMS), or building a dashboard to provide stronger analysis of your existing database, information integration is key.
Here are four critical ways that solid data integration can save money, boost fundraising, and grow your bottom line:
Know your Donors
Aligning your key data allows you to run more effective fundraising, better target potential donors, and engage in some serious segmented marketing based on more than the demographics of age, ethnicity, income, or education, but on deeper analytics that delve into the hearts of your existing and prospective donors.
Not only that, but you can easily run searches on which donors gave most recently, segment them by giving amounts, determine what drove them to give in the first place, and all kinds of things that can help you better market to your target audience. And when you have easy access to your donors’ stories and, ultimately, what motivates them to give, you have the critical tools you need to build the relationships that will sustain your nonprofit for the long haul.
Seamless Transfer of Information
Consider, for example, being able to easily pull information from your constituent management relationship system (CRM) into data analysis software or into your accounting software, reducing waste both in time (think data entry) and money (paying someone to enter the same information in multiple software systems), not to mention reduction in the possibility for clerical errors as well as more streamlined workflow.
Or how about data integration with an online payment system, allowing donors to make easy, one-click, and, ideally, recurring contributions to your organization while simultaneously collecting their donation habits? Nothing like reducing the time needed for revenue recognition!
Both corporate donors and government granting agencies want quantifiable proof of outcomes, not just anecdotal data.
It’s much easier to present results when your data is fully integrated and easy to migrate into reports or reporting software. The numbers indicate nonprofits that can show outcomes get more funding. The 2014 State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey Results from the Nonprofit Finance Fund showed 70 percent of nonprofits reporting that half or more of their funders wanted to see “impact metrics.” In fact, according to a recent report from Compassion Capital Fund National Resource Center, “outcome measurement has become one of the most important activities that social service organizations undertake.”
And with an increasingly (if not always logical) focus on nonprofit funding going to programs rather than overhead—an issue that has reached critical proportions according to a recent article in Nonprofit Quarterly—being able to accurately present your organization’s effectiveness in the field is critical.
Track Operational and Cost Efficiencies
Data integration will allow you to easily determine who your highest-paying donors are so that you can target marketing efforts where they are most likely to reap the largest rewards.
You’ll even be able to track the days of the year, days of the week, or even hours of the day when donors are most likely to give. Is your target audience most active on Facebook in the late evening? With the right Data integration strategy in place, this information can be revealed to your organization—which will allow you to run sponsored ads when they are most likely to get attention. With the right data integration strategy in place you can also quickly determine the effectiveness of the work you do. If you have a social program running under a faulty assumption, integrated data analysis enables you to recognize this faster, so that you don’t waste resources on initiatives that aren’t working as intended.
Be the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the nonprofit universe, and rule your data. By integrating your data within an enterprise vehicle, you’ll find greater access to what you need most: readily definable outcomes, more specific information on the organizations, and people that fund and support you—not to mention streamlined processes that allow you to expend your human resources in the field, not the back office.