Nonprofit software helps organizations effectively collect, interpret and present data. The ability to understand the facts and figures accumulated through online platforms, live events and end-of-year campaigns can improve decision-making. Charities interested in boosting contributions and donor retention should invest in nonprofit software.
Types of data
Data can be defined in several different ways when discussing its impact on a nonprofit organization.
- Static: Some data is considered static. As ClickZ stated, static data is the who, what and where information. Who is sending in donations and what cause are they focusing on? Where are their contributions coming from geographically and regionally?
- Transactional: This data refers to timing and quantity. When are donors giving and how much are they donating?
- Behavioral: Data that covers the method through which a giver sent in funds is behavioral. Did they volunteer or simply mail a check?
- Attitudinal: Finally, attitudinal data measures, as best it can, how a person felt. How did the act of charity affect the donor on an emotional level?
Importance of data
All four of these categories are essential to better understand donors and what makes them tick. According to the Nonprofit Technology Network's most recent report on The State of Nonprofit Data, 89 percent of organizations surveyed track financial data, but only 50 percent track outcomes concerning constituents. It's imperative to track finances, as this determines yearly budgeting and Form 990 completion. It demonstrates the efficiency with which an organization utilizes funds and increases transparency, a quality that the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability lists as one of its Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. Nonprofits need to have fiscal transparency in order to become accredited with the ECFA or trusted by future contributors.
However, the charities neglecting to track communication and fundraising data will quickly lag behind. Understanding how effective social media and email strategies are in reaching new donors and engaging current ones can dramatically alter the efforts going into these activities. Of the respondents in the NTEN survey, 41 percent found tracking constituent information useful for spending and budgeting, and 49 percent found it beneficial when determining programming. Keep in mind only 50 percent are even actively tracking this metric. That means almost all of the NPOs measuring their donor information find it incredibly useful during decision-making.
Identifying donor preferences improves the donation process for these givers. If a particular group of constituents consistently volunteers to work events at a nearby shelter, these should be the people that receive notices about those opportunities first. This kind of personalized awareness of donor habits can lead to a greater trust in the organization and greater gifts.
Try approaching the various data types from the donors' perspective.
- Static: Who is receiving the funding? What is the cause? Where do I go to donate?
- Transactional: When am I allowed to give? Is there a deadline? When can I sign up for an event? How do I know my efforts are going to the right cause?
- Behavioral: What can I do to make a difference? What does the nonprofit do to generate change?
- Attitudinal: How will this experience make me feel? How does the organization make an impact on the community?
These are different metrics that are equally important to the success of a nonprofit. Presenting tangible, in-depth results clearly on the NPO website and providing both visual and factual information on how the charity has affected the world are terrific ways to involve new donors.
Nonprofit software provides an easy-to-use platform to organizations in need of better data management. Tracking donor gifts over time through their personal profiles and measuring the effectiveness of email communication can dramatically improve a nonprofit's performance.