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Data Guides Decisions in Planned Giving

In our industry we are constantly looking for ways to improve our donor outreach.  Often times, we hope technology will help us achieve those efforts.  Many of us have undoubtedly sent out a large email blast and viewed the open and click-through rates to help us to determine those donors who could potentially be a good lead to follow up on.  Using technology to leverage our outreach is nothing new, but using data to guide decisions is a growing trend in our industry.

What is Data for Guiding Decisions?

Technology is extremely fast moving and some of the prized donors have been late adopters of technology.  Many donors use computers and the internet regularly.  To stay competitive, you may have to use a combination of methods that include old school (cultivation and relationship building), new school (technology) and innovative methods to reach your donors.

Surveys for Data

So how exactly can data be used to leverage donor outreach?  Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, you must ask yourself what has worked for you in the past and find ways to enhance your program with the new innovative tools.  One example would be those folks that have been successful sending surveys.  Using the metrics of the survey, you could start to build a donor profile based on responses.  Over time this profile can be compared with those that decide to donate.  Based on those comparisons, you could extract similar profiles to target and add to your portfolio for in-person visits.

Data From Email Blasts

Earlier we mentioned the use of analytics when sending out an eblast and understanding the importance of the information you are viewing.  Not only are you reading how well your list has done based on open and click-through rates, but you could go further and take the information on the individuals that acted on the eblast and add it to your list of information for your donor profile.  When matched and aggregated to individual donors, this added layer of information can be an essential improvement to building a donor profile.

Data From Printed Literature

Another example of how data can be applied is by taking information gathered from a mailed print piece. Let us say the print piece had a couple of calls to action. The piece could say, “call or email us for more information or visit our website at a web address.”  That will give us more data to add to our profile and use for comparison. For example, we could say based on our current donors who have donated to us, how many preferred to call us directly as opposed to email or website.

Quality of Your Data

One thing to note is that using technology to enhance your planned giving is entirely dependent on the quality of your data.  Having an accurate list of your prospective donors is essential.  Only then will you be able to connect all the dots that could potentially lead you in the right direction.  In the long run, data may save both time and money and can help organizations effectively target potential donors.  There is growth potential and increasing activity in the areas of analytics and marketing that look very promising for our industry.

Zandro Diaz

By Zandro Diaz
Chief Technical Officer, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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