California Transitions to Online SystemsMarch 12, 2022
Nonprofit Governance and Management in the New NormalApril 26, 2022
- Update your data records
- Establish data management protocols for your team
- Adhere to data privacy regulations
- Track giving histories using donation receipts
- Focus on the data that matters most
- Choose the right donor management software
1. Update your data records.Data management begins with making sure that the information you already have in your database is accurate and complete. Outdated data can negatively impact your decision-making process and negatively affect your team’s efficiency and performance. To improve your data accuracy, start by cleaning your database. You can do this by auditing your database, highlighting and fixing spelling, formatting, and numerical errors, and eliminating duplicates. In addition, you should establish a quality assurance process and manager who will supervise your organization’s data entry procedure.
2. Establish data management protocols for your team.As you use and add more data to your database over time, the more valuable it becomes as a resource for guiding your donor relationship strategies. A full, well-organized database can be helpful for anyone on your team, but ensuring standardized data entry and management protocols is essential for keeping it well-organized and helpful. In addition, nonprofit workplace teams are constantly changing; whether employees are shifting into new roles, your organization is expanding, or a key team member needs to take an extended time off of work. You need to establish protocols and policies that new or existing team members can work with when engaging and reporting on your database. Omatic reported a few core practices that should help your team’s approach to data:
- Eliminate invalid contact information whenever it is encountered.
- Delete or merge duplicate entries to avoid wasting time and money.
- Remove inactive donor profiles that haven’t engaged with your work in the past two years or so.
- Backup or archive your database regularly.
- Create a schedule for conducting regular data audits.
3. Adhere to data privacy regulations.There have been several recent conversations about donor data privacy, transparency, and security, and these issues aren’t limited to the for-profit sector. A 2019 study found that only 52 percent of Americans have faith in nonprofit and charitable organizations, 70 percent said trust is “essential,” and fewer than 20 percent said they highly trust charities. Nonprofits already face an uphill battle when it comes to earning trust from potential prospects. So, it is essential to be transparent about what data you’re collecting from donors and how you’re using it. One way to be transparent is by letting donors decide if they want to share their information with your nonprofit organization or not. Limit the required entries on your donation forms to essential details like names and emails. Additionally, you should always give donors the option to opt-out of your data records. Depending on where your organization is located, be sure to adhere to CASL, CAN-SPAM, TSPA, GDPR, and your local state data breach laws. These regulations are essential guidelines that nonprofits need to follow to avoid running into legal issues. Your donor data management software should be fully secure and capable of encrypting your data.
4. Track giving histories using donation receipts.A donation receipt is a formal acknowledgment that your nonprofit organization has received a contribution. Donors can use these receipts to confirm their contributions and get access to tax benefits. Meanwhile, nonprofits can use these receipts to track each contact’s donation history. Tracking donors’ giving history is crucial because it helps your team understand what campaigns specific donors are most likely to contribute to. You can gather this insight and predict your donors’ next steps by using nonprofit donor management software like Keela.
5. Focus on the data that matters most.Nonprofits gather data all the time and most of them can’t afford to hire a full-time data analyst to help make sense of the information they have. If you find yourself in a similar situation, one way to work around this is by prioritizing and focusing on the data that actually matters. Depending on your nonprofit’s goal, you need to identify and monitor the data and key performance indicators that can actually inform you about your nonprofit’s progress. For example, if your nonprofit solely focuses on events, you need to gather data records about attendance rates, audience engagement, event surveys, speaker popularity, sponsorship ROI, etc. The better you are at focusing on specific data points and metrics that align with your organization’s current objective, the better you will appreciate and make sense of the data you have.
6. Choose the right donor management software.It’s not enough to keep gathering data, you need to actually use it. Your donor data should be the bedrock of every fundraising, marketing, and organizational strategy you employ. It should tell the story of your organization’s progress, challenges, and opportunities. This is why data analysis needs to be a key part of your data management process. Instead of basing your decisions on intuition alone, you should consult your database and use the information there to forecast outcomes and make recommendations.
Your data and database should empower your organization to be more effective and efficient in serving your communities. As such, it is important to have a nonprofit data management software, or CRM, that simplifies your data collection, analysis, and reporting processes. The right nonprofit CRM is capable of drawing insights from your data and making recommendations that you can act on. If you need help deciding on CRM, you should check out this Nonprofit CRM Buyer’s Guide for tips on what features to look out for.
Author: Taylor Palmer, Content Writer at Keela Taylor has always believed that knowledge is power, and the pen (or, in this case, keyboard) is the sword. Philanthropy and human rights are at the core of her ethos. When she is not engaged in friendly debate, you can find Taylor training in the boxing ring, snowboarding on the mountains, or running on Vancouver's seawall.