Last week’s article about improving our use of interest codes to more effectively identify, engage, and steward donors got me wondering about doing the same sort of thing for companies that support our nonprofits. I asked Amanda Jarman, (aka the “Fundraising Nerd”) to share her perspective on the topic this week. Companies are made up of people, of course, and Amanda uses the term “biographic data” to help us consider tracking the many interconnections between companies, the people within companies our nonprofits are connected to, and our nonprofits themselves. Thanks, Amanda! ~Helen
Paying attention to the “biographic” data you track about companies can help you step up your corporate fundraising game. This is data that lives in the biographic section of your database, along with names, addresses, communication preferences, and the like – but instead of being related to an individual, it’s related to a company.
There’s a variety of information you might track about companies, including:
- Contact people
- Other important employees (such as alumni or volunteers, for example)
- Matching gift information
- Size/annual revenue range
- Sector and/or SIC code
- Funding priorities – company (philanthropy and sponsorship)
- Funding priorities – company foundation
Just like with any data management process, your data coding needs start with your business needs. Depending on the type of corporate giving you are pursuing and the complexity of your fundraising program, you may need to only track some of this information, or you may want to collect all of it.
Here are some other types of data you may want to consider collecting as well:
Corporate Sponsorship Programs
Sponsorship is one of the most common types of corporate giving. If you have an active corporate sponsorship program, you’ll definitely want to keep track of the names and contact information of your primary contact(s) for sponsorship requests and stewardship.
Matching Gift Programs
Many companies match their employees’ giving to your organization. If you have an active matching gift program, you may choose to store information about a company’s matching conditions. This helps to project matching gift revenue and also helps you inform your donors about their employer’s matching program. You may choose to track an employer’s match rate (1:1, 1:2, etc.), match dollar limit, and any funding limitations related to your organization (e.g. some corporations do not fund athletics programs). In addition to tracking information about the employer’s matching program, be sure to link constituents like alumni, volunteers, members, and friends to employer records.
Corporate Major Giving Program
If your organization raises major gifts from corporate donors, consider tracking annual revenue range to help you prioritize among corporate prospects. You may also track likelihood to give and funding priorities (i.e. which of your programs the corporation prefers to give to).
This is similar to the kind of information you might track about individual major gift prospects to prioritize and focus your asks on the best philanthropic match between your organization and your prospective donors.
Corporate Partnership Program
Some organizations partner with companies beyond giving, e.g. hosting employees as volunteers, co-hosting other types of events, and/or developing programmatic partnerships like sponsored research. If your organization has a strong corporate partnership program, then linking individual constituents to their employer’s record is essential. This way, you can see the companies – and people – with which you already have a firm connection. These companies are great fits for employee volunteer or giving days.
Complex Organization with Multiple Funding Priorities
If your organization is complex and/or has multiple funding priorities, you may need to track information to help you align corporate donors with your program areas. Consider tracking business sector, either using your own categories or SIC or NAICS code, which are used to categorize businesses by industry.
This is particularly important in the prospecting stage. As you begin to develop relationships with corporate funders, you will start to uncover the company’s funding interests which may or may not be related to your organization’s overall sector, but to one or more of your programs or research strengths.
Corporations with Multiple Locations
Many corporations have multiple locations, multiple philanthropic interests, and even multiple corporate foundations and giving programs. For example, one corporation may have several subsidiaries and branch locations, with matching gift programs, sponsored research, and corporate foundations or giving programs related to each one. To get a full picture of the corporation’s giving and relationship with your organization, it is helpful to link subsidiary and branch records to a corporate headquarters record.
To get started with tracking corporate biographical data, first determine which of these data points will support and enhance your fundraising priorities. Next, assess your database: how can this data be stored? Do you need to customize your system?
Finally, determine how you will collect this information and keep it updated. You may choose to purchase SIC/NAICS code and/or matching gift program data from a vendor. You can also decide to survey your constituents about their employment, and/or purchase employer information about your constituents. Some information-gathering may have to be done the old-fashioned way, with a researcher, intern, or student hand-entering the information.
No matter which way you decide to do, enhancing your company “biographic” information is a great way to strengthen your organization’s capacity for fundraising success.
For more donor data management tips and tools, Amanda Jarman can be found at www.fundraisingnerd.com.