By: Barry Nelson
Non-profits capture quite a bit of data on donors these days. In the ‘easier said than done’ category, most of us would like to be able to use data to better serve our donors by identifying interests and targeting donors for gifts that match their passions.
The good news is that non-profits report collecting a good amount of data. The bad news is that, for a variety of reasons (including lack of resources), data is not utilized to its potential. Fundraising consultants Everyaction and NonProfitHub published results from a survey of 467 non-profit professionals on the state of data in the non-profit sector. A link to that study is here.
They found that 40% of respondents use data in their decision-making processes. 97% expressed an interest in learning how to use their data more effectively. Some of the issues identified by the study include:
- Organizations don’t feel they are collecting enough data (36%)
- A lack of tools for analyzing data (42%)
- Data isn’t kept in one place (46%)
- Personnel do not have enough experience using data (55%)
- Not enough time or staff to focus on data (79%)
The Contributor Development Partnership’s raison d’etre from the beginning was to act as an extension of station membership programs, providing tools, tips, analysis and projects that help stations maximize and monetize the value of data. The Revenue Opportunity and Action Report (ROAR) is a great example of how stations are able to quickly analyze the health of their programs through a real-time quarterly snapshot. The CDP can also use data from the national reference file to provide member stations with insight on national trends. To address the issues identified in the Everyaction and NonProfitHub study, CDP:
- Encourages stations to collect data and provides tips and projects such as Member Database Enhancement (wealth & demographic overlays)
- Provides a free tool for analyzing data (ROAR), plus fundraising calculators and checklists
- Encourages stations to consolidate data into one source and provides CRM services as needed through NGOConnect
- Provides data and report training to staff and management to stations that adopt Member Services Bureau
- Creates higher NET projects that are curated by CDP staff that require little to no time on the part of your current staff
A Revolution in Acquisition
Here is an excellent example of the last bullet point that I have been personally excited about for the past year. CDP’s Acquisition project is a revolutionary way to look at how Big Data (REALLY Big Data) can identify and target potential donors who have a higher probability of giving to your station.
How CDP Acquisition Works
As with any acquisition program, we identify current donors and eliminate them from the acquisition pool. Then the fun begins. With CDP Acquisition there are two major differences in our approach: we do not buy lists, and the CDP assumes all up-front costs associated with the mailings. All the heavy lifting is done for you.
Here’s the nugget of the idea: CDP uses proprietary predictive modeling methods to produce a mail file, taking into account donor behavior and capacity. We produce fully station-branded mailings on your behalf to eliminate extra work by your own staff using a proven package that works across all markets. CDP manages the printing and mailing, and tracks/reports on delivery on the station’s behalf. We have developed a cycle that occurs four times per year, which nicely dovetails with typical station fundraising efforts.
I may have buried the lede here, because my favorite part of the CDP Acquisition model is that stations get the advantage of a Big Data-driven, predictive fundraising model with NO UPFRONT COSTS. The station only pays for members acquired, and based on prior results, we are seeing the NET cost to acquire a member drop by 50%. We have a one-sheet that provides a comparison between the traditional and CDP approaches available at www.cdpcommunity.org.
Doing More With Less
During the recession, non-profits were forced to do more with less. It’s 2017, and budgets are still tight. It is likely that you are still lacking capacity in your membership & development department. Many stations are hiring, and have chosen to build capacity in the content area. Better service will only result in stronger revenue growth when stations are prepared to leverage all gathered data to target donors and increase conversions.
Acquisition budgets are often the first on the chopping block, chiefly due to high up-front costs and low ROI. CDP continues to refine our approach to mitigate costs and increase ROI, and we will report out on retention rates of donors acquired through this new method.
We hope you consider CDP a partner and an extension of your membership team, one that allows you to devote more time and financial resources to local cultivation and stewardship efforts.
Because we are partners with 200+ CDP member stations, we also would like to hear from you with ideas on how you use data, or your ‘dream’ Big Data project that may be scalable to CDP stations large and small. Please leave comments below or contact one of us on the CDP team!