5 Best Methods to Measure the Effectiveness of a Fundraiser (Part 3)

By Sarah Tedesco, Guest Blogger
Executive Vice President of

Part 3 - Decipher Donor and Prospect Data

Your organization must be keen to the changing environment and respond accordingly to ensure continued support and effective fundraising campaigns.

The one thing that does not change, however, is the impact and effectiveness of properly utilized donor data. Discovering more information about donors and prospects through prospect research allows you to:

  • Strategize to maximize valuable in-person contact

  • Ensure all direct communication is mailed to the correct list of recipients

Assess whether your current prospect research practices align with prospect research best practices. Did your fundraising campaign exceed expectations or could incorporating prospect research strengthen future fundraising events?

Prospect Research: 365 Days of Benefits

Many organizations consider prospect research to be a segmented aspect of the campaign planning process, but there is tremendous value in integrating prospect development techniques into all of your donor interactions year-round.

Consider the fundraising benefits possible from implementing prospect research into your fundraising strategy and enacting them throughout your fundraising calendar:

  • Constantly uncover new donor prospects and cultivate more meaningful relationships to convert more prospective donors into major donors.

  • Illustrate the importance of your donors’ existing community to transform your organization into a donor retention powerhouse, capitalizing on recurring donors and enhancing donor stewardship.

Categorizing donors and prospects based on the valuable data archived by your prospect search tool is a key strategy for optimizing and cultivating your donor base.

Focus on these key facets of donor data to maximize your fundraising outreach:

  • Donor type

  • Interactive initiative

  • Demographics

  • Connection capabilities

Pinpointing preferred methods of communication and solicitation can prove useful during fundraisers, end-of-year asks, invitations to events, and regularly scheduled mission updates.

Are you using the right prospect research tool for your campaign?

Just like any other facet of your organization’s fundraising strategy, you want to operate with tools that optimize the best practices of effective fundraising campaigns.

Look for a prospect management tool that can:

Merge with and maximize your marketing strategy.

Learn the language of prospective donors to communicate relevant and effective information.

  • Preferred Communication. Contact your donors in the method that they appreciate most. If they prefer mail, do your asks align with the critical factors of donation solicitation for direct mail?

  • Preferred Donation. Does this specific donor prefer to donate with a good, old-fashioned check? Online? With their phone?

  • Relationship. Constructing a natural relationship with donors requires you to relate to them on a personal level.

Aggregate the best donor data into one automated system solution to achieve streamlined management and effective evaluations.

  • Past Support. See what types of causes a donor supported in the past to get a better sense of how likely they will support your cause.

  • Mission Relation. Determine which aspect of your mission donors respond to most and how they express their support—social media, volunteering, donations, etc. - to customize communications that highlight each donor’s specific interests.

  • Giving Capacity. What can this donor contribute to your cause— time, finances, networking?

Store actionable data to maximize donor data efficiency and relevant utilization.

  • Knowing Before Growing. Understand what your donors are interested in to help develop existing relationships and cultivate new ones.

Keep track of individual profile data to determine potential major donors and subsequently significant donors.

Capitalize on the conversion of one-time donors into recurring donors by targeting prospective donor opportunities.

Identify matching gift opportunities to enhance your fundraiser’s effectiveness.

Thank your donors with ease and consistency.

  • Stewardship Savvy. Stewardship is emblematic of your relationship with your donors and is a vital aspect of prospect development. 

  • Sincerity. Major contributions to nonprofits are invaluable and should be treated accordingly.

  • No “Ghost” Zone. Slighted donors are less likely to return. Don’t “ghost” your donors and only contact them when you need something. 

  • Favor Frequency. Especially with the millennial and Gen Z donors, you are bound to lose a large chunk of your support without frequent and relevant communication about your organization.

The ideal software will organize your current donor data and optimize prospective donor research for the benefit of your organization’s fundraising effectiveness.

Invest time into discovering a consumer relationship management (CRM) tool—like Salesforce’s CRM, which utilizes prospect research—that can wholly manage and incorporate donor data into your fundraising campaign and marketing strategy. 

Sarah Tedesco is Executive Vice President of DonorSearch, a prospect research and wealth screening company that focuses on proven philanthropy. Sarah is responsible for managing the production and customer support department concerning client contract fulfillment, increasing retention rate and customer satisfaction. She collaborates with other team members on a variety of issues including sales, marketing and product development ideas.

Wayne GurleyComment