Are you hearing a lot of talk lately that fundraising is becoming more data-driven? That we need to show the return on investment of donor dollars? We’re all hearing this train coming down the track and it’s fueled by top volunteers who are used to seeing that kind of business intelligence in their company board meetings. In the past few years they’ve come to expect to see it when they sit at the nonprofit board table as well.
It’s good business, and it makes sense
We all want to cultivate prospects that have the highest likelihood to become donors. And we need to be careful with our most valuable resources – time and money. So it makes sense that business intelligence methods are edging into fundraising work as well. Ten years ago, we didn’t hear much about analytics in fundraising, but in the past five years more and more shops are hiring fundraising analysts – internally or outsourcing the activity to companies like mine.
Earlier this month, Forbes magazine published an article called “Does Your Organization Need a Chief Analytics Officer?” (link here). The article describes two very interesting case studies highlighting how Caesars Entertainment and KeyBank are using analytics to create stronger relationships with their customers and creating more revenue.
Ruben Sigala, the new CAO of Caesars:
“The data we collect is a treasure trove that enables us to treat every guest well, but treat every guest differently,” says Sigala. “And centralizing the function has enabled us to get a lot more creative about how to reward customers across properties and functions, and how to drive more revenue for Caesars.”
By substituting a few words, it’s easy to see how that could translate to fundraising, isn’t it?
At Cleveland-based KeyBank, one of the top 20 largest banks in the country, they’ve done something really interesting: the marketing team and the analytics team both report to the Chief Analytics Officer. What would that look like translated to fundraising? Major gifts officers would report to the Director of Strategic Information.
Will that happen in your shop? I’m sure the marketing folks at KeyBank wouldn’t have thought it possible 10 years ago.
Regardless, the big takeaway here is that fundraising analytics is here to stay. These tools are incredibly nimble and powerful and are having a tremendous impact on the organizations – large and small, for-profit and nonprofit – that are using it. And if you are unfamiliar with the terms or how data analytics can help you, stay tuned to this space.
Over the next few blog posts, HBG’s chief analytics consultant Marianne Pelletier and I will go over, in English, what analytics are and what these tools can do for you and your organization. If you have any questions at all, or are interested to see how we can help, don’t hesitate to be in touch.
First in the series, this Thursday we’ll discuss Data Mining.