The beginning of summer can fill our minds with dreams of vacation, perhaps time on the beach with both the hot sun and a cool breeze. And yet, this is also the time to get ready for the fall fundraising push. Yes, we know this may not be something people want to think about. Know that we want you to enjoy your summer – and most especially your vacation. But you can also take a few actions now that will yield results in a few months. We’re talking about your data, and how you use it.
Our recommendation: look closely at your fundraising data management system to see what supports your work and what is getting in the way. You want your data management system to provide you with reports that inform the critical management decisions you will need to make.
Talk with the people responsible for entering data, and/or managing your organization’s data. Start with asking the following ten questions:
- How often is donor data entered?
- What data is recorded?
- When is data updated?
- How many years of giving history is accessible via reporting tools?
- Does our fundraising data management system integrate with our online fundraising and event management software?
- Can you run reports that show how many people who attend our events make a gift?
- Do we track information on our solicitors and which donors (or prospective donors) each is responsible for soliciting?
- How often does the development department reconcile giving records with the finance department? Ask information? Gifts? Pledges?
- Do we track the “asks” that are made of individuals (and foundations, corporations, and government agencies) and how each was responded to?
- Are we tracking our “lapsed” donors, and can we easily learn who gave last year, but didn’t yet give this year?
Here are five questions you should be able to answer with the help of fundraising management reports.
- Who is giving to our organization, and who is not giving?
- Can we predict trends and make projections for the second half of the year?
- Have all our current donors been thanked and communicated with consistently?
- Do we have enough prospective donors who can – collectively – give three times our fundraising goal?
- How many of our top donors (and prospective donors) are being actively cultivated with the goal of asking for a major gift before the end of the year?
Now is the time to clean up your data base, run test reports, learn what reports you haven’t been running, but could run. As always, 90% of fundraising is preparation. Take the time to get your data management system in order.
Copyright 2019 – Mel and Pearl Shaw