In the nonprofit sector, the typical donor development officer can individually manage a portfolio of 100 to 150 major donors. At the same time, nonprofits underinvest in technology as a way to scale their fundraising activities. Realistically, today’s busy fundraisers can’t be expected deepen and grow more personal relationships without the help of technology to automate their personal communication. And without a clear strategy to create personal connections at scale, donors slip through the cracks and fundraisers begin to burn out. In fact, we believe this pressure on fundraising staff is one of the major contributors to the 16 month average lifespan of the typical development officer.
Nonprofit technology that helps scale the efforts of fundraising staff has become critical to a new breed of innovative charities. In an era marked by beautiful and usable software, modern nonprofit leaders expect elegant and user-friendly tools. They also expect platforms that dramatically reduce wasted time and help scale their existing fundraising efforts. This next generation of data-driven technologies help amplify the efforts of marketing and development staff to reduce turnover, share donor insights and deepen and grow relationships.
With that in mind, we’ve laid out three key features of modern software designed to drive down fundraising costs and increase generosity through personalized connections:
Important Donor Insights:
If a typical fundraiser has 100+ relationships to monitor, they don’t have time to sit back and read through hundreds of notes and gifts from donors to identify trends or insights. Nonprofits should invest in technology that automatically scores donors and tags them with key insights to drive generosity. For example, fundraisers can turn to financial scoring to quickly glean whether a donor is being over- or under-asked, or if they’re a good candidate for planned giving or matching programs. In the same way, relational scoring and tagging can help nonprofits learn about each donor’s passions, location, family and so on, so fundraisers can personalize communication in a way that empowers donors to use their individual talents and social capital where they are needed most.
Donor retention continues to decrease, but good predictive data analytics can help reduce churn and create lifetime loyalty. Predictive analytics monitor trends in behaviors such as individual giving frequency, giving amounts and communication frequency. Software should alert fundraisers with prompted check-ins and recommended actions, such as making a phone call, kicking off an email drip campaign or inviting donors to attend an event, in order to keep donors engaged and prevent them from lapsing. Predictive analytics also eases the learning curve for new fundraisers by bubbling key insights and suggestions to the top, so they become familiar with donors’ preferences even faster.
Donor development officers can dramatically expand their impact by tapping into their donor’s personal networks and relationships. Great nonprofits have a knack for turning their best donors into raving fans and megaphones for the organization. Rich relational and social data can help open up a donor’s network by shining a light on who their family, friends, neighbors and colleagues are. In general, new donors start giving to a nonprofit because of a personal connection through someone in their close network. Relational data enables nonprofits to discern how donors are personally connected and which donors have influence within their communities. Rather than always asking for money, relational data can help the organization determine that it’s more appropriate to see if a donor would be interested in hosting a dinner with friends or sending out a tweet to promote a project.
For the modern nonprofit, technology saves staff time and provides actionable relationship-building support for fundraisers, freeing up their days to spend more time with donors and connecting them to causes they care about. Whether used as an onboarding tool for a new development officers or to increase generosity within an existing donor base, nonprofits must turn to technology to discover key donor insights to raise more money and do more good.
Gabe Cooper is the Founder and CEO of Virtuous, a nonprofit CRM that acts as a virtual command center enabling nonprofits to tailor their messages to individual donors, track donors by their passions or geographic location, and even use big data analytics to see which relationships need more attention.