Data and Tools that Should Be Supporting Your Strategy
You’re just starting to wrap up your 2018 fundraising – congratulations! That dovetails with planning for 2019. No matter how successful a year you’ve had, carving out time for planning and goalsetting is vitally important to your organization’s continuing growth and success. And success really comes down to just three tactical steps: Review, plan, and execute.
Get a Picture of Your 2018
Conducting an end-of-year (EOY) fundraising review and audit is vitally important, not just in helping you recap your year and report the numbers back to stakeholders, but to help you grow as an organization. Fundraising efforts can vastly improve when you understand what is inspiring, activating, and rallying your supporters into action. You’ll want to review each fundraising campaign individually, as well as overall donation metrics. Be sure to recap these important metrics (and be sure to keep records of prior years’ efforts):
- Campaign goals – What were you trying to accomplish? Did you want to raise a certain amount of money? Host more events? Drive brand awareness in the community? How did your results line up with your goals? Did you meet, exceed, or fall short?
- Timing and resources – With limited budgets, it’s important to use all of your resources – including funds, people, and time – efficiently. What factors regarding the timing you chose influenced your campaigns’ performance?
- Marketing channels – Determine what vehicles reached your donors, grabbed their attention, and why. Did you receive more website traffic that came from a certain channel? Has your social media engagement jumped? What about email open rates?
- Copy and creative – Did you do any testing to see what CTAs, images, and content resonates?
- Target audience(s) – Have your donors profiles changed at all? Perhaps you received more corporate support this year or targeted a new market/demographic. Speaking of donors…
- Donor data – This is crucial not just for future planning but also for tax and accountability purposes. Be sure to gather every data point that could inform future strategies.
- Feedback from stakeholders – Conduct a Net Promoter Score survey or another mechanism for custom feedback.
- Dollars spent and ROI – Were your efforts worth the money? Be sure to track all spending and compare them against donations received and even project donations based on subscriptions.
This list is by no means exhaustive. The data you collect, and how you choose to use it, is practically limitless, especially if you’re using tools that track and analyze these numbers.
Support Your Strategy with Enabling Technologies
It’s been proven that first-time and repeat donors behave very differently. Interesting fact from the world of retail: It costs 5 times as much to win a new customer as it does to retain an existing one, according to research published by the Harvard Business Review, and that ratio could be higher for nonprofits.
So, in addition to your 2018 data, you’ll want to include nuanced approaches toward cultivation and stewardship in your 2019 plan. Your job will be made much less complicated if you can automate, segment, and personalize your communications. To that end, a tech solution can be a lifesaver because it would allow you to:
- Manage marketing content (logos, images, giveaways, and other digital content) all in a one-stop-shop for easy access and a centralized brand approach
- Upload data you’ve acquired to create personalized communications for direct mail outreach – reaching your donors in a more tailored way to drive action
- Produce, fulfill, and ship mailers and gift packages straight to your donors – thanking them for their support
Once you’ve looked closely at the right information and created a comprehensive fundraising plan, it’s time to put it into action. The containers for your strategy are how to ensure your plan works when it’s put to the test, for instance, having a system to streamline the creation, approvals, and delivery of fundraising direct mailers. When you’ve started with high-quality data, then built a strategy that includes all your stakeholders and audiences, do not leave implementation to chance. Make sure you have the tech to manage all the moving parts, and you’ll increase the likelihood for greater successes in the year ahead.
As the Marketing Manager at Strata, Ally conceptualizes and builds compelling multi-channel marketing campaigns to support strategic objectives and business goals. Her previous work at both small and Fortune 500 companies has led to numerous awards and recognition for her marketing expertise. She excels at leading projects from idea through execution, developing content that increases engagement, and analyzing key performance metrics. When not at Strata, you can find Ally frequenting sushi restaurants, watching animal rescue videos, or volunteering for her favorite local nonprofit.