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Why Data Is King In Fundraising

Why Data is King in Fundraising

Data- you either love it or hate it! Either way, there is no denying that when it comes to taking your fundraising to the next level, it really is king!

One of our most popular offerings for small charity clients is our Fundraising Review which deep dives into a range of data and research to help ascertain where a charity is at with its fundraising and swiftly identify short, medium and longer term opportunities for income growth. Quite often when we ask for data, many small charities think this is an area they are really lacking- particularly if they haven’t embarked on any proactive fundraising or its early days. However, it’s often quite surprising what data you can find, analyse and learn from – even in the smallest of charities! Here we take you through key data to capture, analyse and how you can use it to rocket-blast your fundraising.

  1. Fundraising and Donation Platforms: This could be Justgiving, Paypal, Facebook, CAF or any other platform you are using to handle online donations/ fundraising. Some will have better reporting than others – for instance if your charity has the free version of Justgiving (usually if you are raising less than £15,000 per annum) then you will not have the reporting or opt in functionality. If you are able to download some reports though, this is a fantastic place to start getting under the skin of your supporters and their fundraising habits. In particular we would be looking at the following:


  • Donation amount/ Average Amount/ Any larger than average donations/ Frequency of donations- ie who has given more than once in the last two years to you/ who gives monthly. By analysing these data sets you can quickly learn who your warm donors are (those who give often), who your higher value donors may be and what gift amount you may want to hang any asks (based on average donations) on.
  • Types of events people are doing- runs/ cycles/ walks or bake sales? Even if you don’t have JustGiving reporting you should still be able to look through your homepage and view any recent fundraiser pages
  • How your fundraising has been performing year on year – is it growing? Has it remained static or even jumped around? Can you identify any reasons for big increases such as a one off big donation or a campaign which can be leveraged?


  1. Opt ins: Is your organisation routinely collecting these at EVERY possible opportunity? Are they also specifically asking supporters to opt in to fundraising? If you are starting from a minimal list of people you can contact (and ask) when it comes to fundraising, this is an action that should be top of your to list. Whenever you are engaging with supporters/ beneficiaries or any other stakeholders, make sure you collect GDPR compliant consent to communicate with them and especially around fundraising. Also are you uploading any opt ins via other platforms such as Justgiving?


  1. Donor Feedback/ Satisfaction and Insight Surveys: One of the best ways to learn more about your donors and how they feel about being a donor to your charity is to ask them – and generally people love been asked for their thoughts and opinions! But what kind of things might you want to understand that can help your fundraising? Here are a few ideas:
  • How satisfied are they with acknowledgements for gifts?
  • Are the frequency and content of your donor communications hitting the right spot?
  • Are there other ways in which they would like to give or support – legacy gifts? Volunteering?
  • What motivates them to give (you can use this is subsequent communications, so you are talking to them about the very things which fire them up!)
  • If they stopped giving, why?


  1. Outcomes and Impact: Is what you are doing any good? How do you know? Those are often two of the first questions we may ask a new client and it’s a key question a funder will be wanting to know- what change are you bringing about? Are you capturing this, through surveys/ focus groups or interviews with your beneficiaries? Are you also learning from monitoring your delivery work – for example if you are getting calls to a helpline about a specific topic- how are you using that to inform future work?


  1. External Data: If you really are starting from nothing and lacking any of the above, then you can always turn to external data and learnings. One of our first steps when we work with charities is to conduct a Horizon scan, which helps see the charity from the outside in, by looking at organisations working in a similar sector/ location/ size. Its amazing what you can glean form looking at other similar organisations, such as what sources of incoming are performing well for them, Any collaborations they form to boost their impact, which funders are funding them and how their income has performed year on year- are there any trends or similarities. Its also a great way to really define and own your USP and what makes you different for when you speak to funders.

Of course, there are many other sources you can collect data from and the key is to make data your friend- capture it consistently, review it and use to inform your work and fundraising! Email to learn more about how we can use your data to rocket boost your fundraising!

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