Fundraising 101: Data and Your Donors

Fundraising dollars come into existence when a donor decides that a candidate is worth their personal interest and financial investment. Convincing donors to commit to a campaign hinges on crafting personalized messages that leverage data that is individual, effective and accurate.

  1. Getting the right data. These days there’s a lot of talk about data: big data, data analytics and data insights. But we don’t mean algorithms (although we think they’re really cool, too). We’re talking about the personal information behind the contribution you’re courting. You need donor-specific data: Are they approaching retirement? Do they have kids? Is it their birthday this week?
  2. Who are you talking to? Not only do you need data about the person you plan to reach out to, you need to understand what the data means. A thorough compilation of data will provide insights about what motivates a donor to both vote for and donate to a candidate. The campaign should know where the donor stands on the issues that galvanize them, as well as the tipping point that compels them to donate.
  3. How to use the data. Appearing at fundraisers, online targeting and email messaging are some of the ways that campaigns communicate with donors. An accurate and complete donor sketch allows a candidate to hone their message to a specific donor. 

At the crux of all of this data-talk is an implied truth: nothing is more wasteful than inaccuracy. Imprecision costs campaigns time, money and, potentially, donors.

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