The Facebook, Cambridge Analytica data scandal is getting a lot of headlines. Fundraisers collect a lot of information on donors. What are fundraisers doing with it? They’re ignoring that data they are missing out on is an opportunity to increase impact.
Here are four reasons why you should pay attention to your data and begin doing something about it:
- Data Can Show You What Works: Maybe you hold a monthly webinar for constituents or are spending a lot of time posting on Pinterest. Is all that time you’re investing helping you further your mission? How do you know? Attendance data and social media engagement numbers can give you a better picture of whether your hard work is reaching people. You can learn even more by offering surveys to cross-checking participant data with your donation list or tracking how people arrived at a particular web page.
- Data Can Help You Tailor Your Activities: Imagine you’re a college access organization. Are a lot of students meeting with counselors, but skipping test prep sessions? You might be learning something new about how students like to learn and what motivates them to succeed. The data you keep on these activities can show you when to invest more heavily and when to take a step back.
- Data Can Help You Be More Efficient: There are dozens of social media sites and online forums that might help you reach a bigger audience, but if you try to participate in all of them you might be spending a lot of time and getting little back in return. The data each platform provides can tell you whether those channels are really working for you and help you trim down your communications efforts.
- Data Can Show Your Success: Funders want to know that your organization’s work is a good use of their money. For example, if you can show data on how many people you’ve helped avoid homelessness or how may acres of land you saved from deforestation, donors will feel more confident about investing in you.