Nonprofit managers are badgered to conduct operations like a for-profit businesses, and then criticized if they do.
The fact is, however, that nonprofits can operate with business intelligence, as outlined by Katie Beth DeSchepper and Hilary Shore in “Analytics-Driven Fundraising” published by Blackbaud.
What is business intelligence? The authors describe it as an approach that moved beyond simply being retrospective into a focus on forward-looking initiatives. Sophisticated analytical techniques are now used not only to describe what happened but also to predict what will happen and thus provide a competitive advantage.
They maintain that different roles throughout an organization are enabled to answer questions that might previously have been unanswerable. Such as:
- How is the profile of our supporter base changing over time?
- How can we monitor key growth, revenue and profitability metrics across our organization?
- How can we identify the programs or channels contributing the largest portion of revenue?
- Which aspects of a supporter’s profile are most closely aligned with key segments, such as sustainers?
- How can reunion attendance, student activities and demographics help identify young donors?
- How do we link channel preference with an advocate’s likelihood to give?
- How can we quantify the lifetime value and break-even point of acquisition groups?
- What is the true value of our last multichannel campaign?