5 Key Donor Metrics That Can Help Nonprofits Reap Donations

Tracking donor behavior can be the key to getting the most out of every person who gives.

As technology expands, people have more ways to give to their favorite charitable organizations. And with the economy staying strong, many are giving more than before.

The amount of money Americans gave to charity went up again last year, and most of those donations came from individual donors. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, Americans gave $427.7 billion in 2018, a 0.7 percent increase from the year before. Individuals gave $282.1 billion of that total, accounting for more than two-thirds (68 percent) of total giving.

With so many individuals giving such a large pool of resources each year — and online giving up 12 percent last year — it’s more important than ever for nonprofits to be able to properly identify, track and tap potential donors through data analytics. To do so, they may need to invest in on-premises or cloud analytics platforms, such as that offered by Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud solutions.

Here are five need-to-know donor metrics:

1. Use Donors’ Contact Preferences

Some donors are fine getting an email every day from a favorite nonprofit; others would prefer to receive a paper mailing once every quarter. Some may want to watch videos of an organization’s programs in action, while others would prefer to read about upcoming volunteer events.

The simplest way to find out how (and how often) donors want to be contacted is to simply ask them. This information can be collected when donors first give to an organization; also, some nonprofits allow their donors to maintain online profiles where they can view and update their contact information and preferences.

2. Use Gift Size and Frequency to Predict Behavior

Through the right messaging, nonprofits might be able to turn their $75 donors into $125 donors, or get someone to make two donations a year instead of one. But most organizations will never be able to turn their $10 donors into $10,000 donors, or get their one-time givers to suddenly make a gift every pay period. By tracking and analyzing data around gift size and frequency, nonprofits can align their requests with previous donor behavior.

3. Capitalize on Donors’ Interests and Passions

Nonprofits can gauge current and prospective givers’ propensity for giving in part by analyzing data that demonstrates where donors’ passions lie. Social media analytics or Google Analytics can be helpful for this. If nonprofits already have the social media profiles of their website visitors, volunteers and donors on file, they may be able to see what other types of charities these people interact with online and use that information in their campaigns.

For example, if an organization works to bring artistic experience to children, it might have better luck with donors who interact with both organizations that work with kids and nonprofits involved in the arts — rather than just one or the other.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Read about how tech is helping nonprofit camps.

4. Look at the Donor’s Resources

Nonprofits don’t want to ask a prospective or current individual donor for a gift far outside of the individual’s capacity — as the request may seem ridiculous or even offensive to the donor. However, charities also can’t afford to ask donors for much smaller gifts than the individuals can afford, lest they fall short of their fundraising potential.

By looking at factors including political giving, real estate ownership and employment information, nonprofits can arrive at educated estimates about donors’ giving capacity.

5. Track Activity Within the Organization

Not all donors engage with a nonprofit in the same way. Organizations should tailor their messmicroages to different types of donors. For instance, a major donor, a donor whose employer matches gifts and a donor who also volunteers with the nonprofit should probably all receive different emails that are written with their history of engagement in mind.

This is where solutions like Splunk or Power BI from Microsoft can be useful. They allow data to be easily organized and visualized, and they gather information from different sources.

By segmenting donors, nonprofits can quickly and easily target the subset of the donor base that is most likely to be responsive to a message. This should lead to an increase in email opens and click-throughs.

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Nov 22 2019

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