Fundraising Campaign Analysis: Using Data to Maximize Nonprofit Funds

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1 Fundraising Campaign Analysis: Using Data to Maximize Nonprofit Funds

2 In the nonprofit sector, every dollar makes a difference and most development professionals are trying to scrape up the most money they can to fulfill their organization s mission. Fortunately, technology has given nonprofits a powerful way to maximize their resources campaign data analysis. If your organization doesn t know about the significance of big data, Zuri Group hopes that this white paper demonstrates its importance and that it can pay off in spades for future fundraising campaigns. By taking advantage of knowledge gained from data analysis, nonprofits can achieve their goals more efficiently and effectively. There are several methods for integrating data analysis into nonprofit organizations, but for development professionals that want to learn more about how to increase the success of their fundraising campaigns and aren t sure where to start, analyzing major campaign results, such as end-of-year, can be the place to start. Benefits of the Campaign Analysis In today s world, data is a fundraiser s best friend. With dedication to a proper, thorough analysis of campaign data, you can discover unique insights into your supporters - from the most loyal volunteers to the one-time donors. By simply taking time to not only look at, but analyze campaign metrics, your organization can boost its ability to successfully increase donations and maintain relationships by communicating with constituents in more meaningful ways. It is common for nonprofits to plan significant fundraising initiatives throughout the calendar year. Event-based fundraising traditionally takes place in the fall, while annual fund campaigns are often launched during the holidays. Throughout their course, these large-scale initiatives produce volumes of data just waiting to be used to maximize future campaign results. Reasons for Data Analysis: Discover new ways to cultivate relationships with long-time donors Average donation amounts often increase with targeted efforts Convert one-time donors into regular donors Improve the overall campaign experience and its impact

3 By following the necessary steps to introduce campaign analysis into your nonprofit organization, you can access information that will help you optimize future campaigns. It is easy to get stuck in a routine of following commonly viewed best practices in fundraising, and while these are useful for organizations just starting out, savvy nonprofits should take advantage of their data from actual campaigns to better understand what is successful and what isn t. For example, post-campaign analysis may show that year old females donated 4:1 more than any other constituent group and that the appeal content that created a sense of urgency was far more successful than softer, heartwarming appeal content. Fundraising practices aren t one size fits all and what may be the most meaningful to your audience won t result in a single donation for another nonprofit. Where to Start Don t miss out on a big opportunity to improve your organization s fundraising results. By analyzing data, you ll discover more effective fundraising strategies and tips about the best ways to use them. There are three major steps toward successful analysis of your fundraising campaign: 1) develop a detailed plan, 2) design a campaign that captures the right data, and finally, 3) analyze the data. Following these steps will set you up for success when analyzing campaign results. Simply analyzing data post-campaign without taking the time and diligence to incorporate data tracking mechanisms into your campaign, for example, won t provide you with the information you need to make improvements going forward. Step One: Be Equipped for Data Analysis Using the appropriate tools to gather and organize data is a critical step toward successfully analyzing your fundraising campaign. With these basic tips, you can help ensure a fuller picture of your campaign results. Tip A: Use Your Data Management System By housing your campaign data in a data management or CRM system, you can enhance your nonprofit s ability to mine for metrics and insights. Advanced systems enable organizations to connect your database with external databases, as well as integrate your own data with population data, demographic statistics, poll results, etc. Your CRM system may enable you to find trends in brand new places.

4 Tip B: Set Up Online Tracking for All Web Campaign Components Use robust tracking methods to gather information about your campaign s online influence. By implementing tracking for each individual appeal , web link or page, blog, paid ads, social media networks and any other online lead generator, nonprofits can easily find out which fundraising efforts are the most effective. From donation forms to e-newsletters, each tactic provides unique data about what is meaningful to your constituents. Zuri Client Spotlight: When a national health advocacy organization hired Zuri Group to manage and implement its comprehensive end-of-year campaign, one of the first things Zuri established was a source code and ask string guide for every element of the campaign, which provided invaluable data and tracking opportunities. The organization was able to not only compare the success of each appeal and campaign component (think lightbox, donate button, banner image, web widget) but also compare data based on audience segmentation efforts. A few examples of what they have learned from post-campaign analysis include: The campaign s lightbox was responsible for 40% of incoming donations Segmenting donors and analyzing their giving rates determined that general donors and volunteers were significantly more generous than supporters who become involved in the organization through event-based fundraisers. They learned that how a donor enters into their organization impacts how they interact with the organization in the future. Out of five appeals, one focused on the doctor/patient relationship and that appeal resulted in two-thirds fewer donations. The four more successful appeals focused exclusively on the perspective of survivors and their families, again providing valuable information about what it is of interest to the organization s donor base. Step Two: Develop Your Plan Campaign analysis takes time, dedication, and most importantly, a strong plan. Without specific protocol for gathering and organizing data, information is easily lost and largely inaccessible. To ensure accuracy and effectiveness, clearly define the entire process beforehand.

5 Tip A: Identify Key Measures for the Campaign Once your data comes pouring in, you ll thank yourself for pre-selecting the data that will most reflect your campaign s success or failure. These key performance indicators (KPIs) can also help you assess the effectiveness of different campaign components. Tip B: Establish a Plan for Extracting Subjective Information Don t forget to include the subjective side of research into your campaign analysis. Your entire group of supporters - from paid staff to potential donors - should be personally contacted by your nonprofit organization and asked to provide their personal opinions on the campaign. By developing a specific outline for gathering and organizing this qualitative data, you will improve the overall completeness of your campaign analysis. Tip C: Drive Home the Significance of Analysis Efforts If your organization s staff isn t already enthusiastically on board with your plan, get them there. Data management systems, online tracking tools, and a list of strategies can only do so much. Your team must take the time to implement the plan with priority. If time and internal resources are short, many consulting firms have experience in helping nonprofits analyze campaign results. Step Three: Organize and Analyze the Data The final stage in this process begins immediately upon the close of your campaign. Your metrics are waiting to be analyzed. Don t allow another fundraising campaign to start without utilizing the best practices unveiled by your campaign metrics and that requires them to be analyzed first. Tip A: Analyze Your KPIs and Other Major Measures Look back at the list of key performance indicators (KPIs) that your organization developed during the planning stages of your campaign analysis. It s time to determine the results. Did you achieve your goals? If not, were the goals realistic? Look for clues in the numbers. And don t hold yourself to the preset KPIs. It s hard to predict the types of information a campaign will produce, so make sure to look for additional performance indicators now that the fundraiser is over. These other measures may offer interesting, unexpected insights. For example, if your post-campaign analysis shows that a Lightbox brought in 65% of a campaign's revenue, then your nonprofit should consider incorporating a Lightbox in other campaigns where possible. In addition, one specific appeal or page may have been far, far more successful than another. By analyzing the success of Appeal #3 vs. Appeal #4,

6 organizations can get a better understanding of how to communicate with your constituents for greater fundraising success. Zuri Client Spotlight: Big Brothers Big Sisters America Focus groups provide another opportunity to analyze and improve campaign results. Zuri Group and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) conducted a series of one-on-one user interviews to gather information about the redesigned Bowl for Kids Sake event template used by agencies and the nation. Specifically, the national organization wanted feedback on the template s usability, content and information architecture. Instead of relying on employee feedback, the organization conducted focus groups in order to: Better understand how typical users navigate event websites Gain insight about the overall user experience of the newly redesigned template, specifically around information gathering Determine the most common actions taken from the homepage to ensure they are prominently displayed. The focus group insights provided BBBSA with specific direction and actionable ideas for how to improve the event template s usability, such as providing more compelling content that is immediately available to the viewer as well as specific information about how money raised will support the organization s mission. Tip B: Take in the Big Picture It s easy to get lost in specific aspects of your campaign. You could spend hours upon hours analyzing your website s donation form and looking for ways to generate more leads. While this dedication is great, remember to zoom out and look at the campaign as a whole. The relationships between campaign components should also be analyzed. Campaigns often churn out unusually large amounts of data and it is crucial to develop a comprehensive report on the entire effort. Tip C: Target Constituents with Segmented Communications One of the greatest advantages created by big data and analytics is the ability to segment your audience and target people in specific groups. Rather than sending one version of an to your entire constituency, for example, use your data to determine the preferences of different age groups and send out custom s for each category, thus optimizing the ask stream. Supporters who tend to donate $250+ should not be issued a mass appeal requesting $20. This simple strategy for optimizing campaigns has already begun to revolutionize the way nonprofit organizations build support and accomplish their missions.

7 STICK WITH THE PLAN If you re doubting the value of campaign analysis, don t. Although this process takes commitment, the results can be astounding. Imagine finding out that one of your major communication avenues is a complete waste of your organization s time. That s time AND money saved. That s the power of big data. Your nonprofit organization would be remiss to miss out on the big data opportunity.

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