As usual, the commercial world is probably a few years ahead of the non-profit world. The myriad of consumer and psychographic data collected from the Internet, catalogs, and retail stores — Big Data —may or may not prove invaluable to nonprofits. Some of the pioneer donor co-ops are extracting effective models from this mound of raw data (see Jeff Mello’s FYI piece about co-ops and compiled lists), but the fact remains that in the nonprofit arena, there is no variable more predictive than the fact that an individual has recently given a philanthropic gift.
Back in September, Allison Porter wrote a blog titled “In Defense of Telemarketing” – sounding the alarm on the outrageous attacks on telemarketing specifically, and the fundraising industry in general. This month’s Agitator is running a two-part blog on the same subject as it pertains to donor acquisition, calling out those in the media and watchdog groups (among others) for complaining about the “high cost of fundraising” when they clearly do not understand the concept of donor acquisition investment.
As VP of Analytics at Avalon, I always attend industry conferences with an eye out for new ways to use data more effectively. This year’s Direct Marketing Association Washington Nonprofit conference in Washington didn’t disappoint. A couple of data strategies particularly caught my interest:
We’re all about crunching numbers and evaluating returns, especially when it comes to benchmarking how our clients’ program performance stacks up against similar organizations. We recently compiled Avalon clients’ fundraising results across various industries, like arts and culture, environmental and conservation, and advocacy – check it out for a sense of how your results compare. We’ve also included a quick reference guide to help you delve into your spreadsheets, recognize meaningful stats, and plan your next outreach to donors or prospects. And as always, Avalon is available to dive into the data beyond with you!