Data for Sale: Collecting and Using Data for your Development Efforts | npENGAGE

Data for Sale: Collecting and Using Data for your Development Efforts

By on Sep 22, 2011


In a March 2011 cover article, Time Magazine explored the collection and sale of personal data in the United States.  My colleague, Lawrence Henze and I saw an immediate opportunity to build on this information and to explain many of the data sources available to nonprofit institutions for their development programs.  We were honored when the 2011 National Conference on Philanthropic Planning asked us to discuss our topic at their upcoming meeting in San Antonio.   If you’re going to the conference, you may want to come to our presentation on Wednesday, October 5th.

During our session, you’ll learn the role and purpose of data-mining companies.  Along with our suggestions, you can determine what information and data points are most useful in fundraising.  Since this conference is geared to the gift-planning profession, our discussion will be as well.  But even if planned giving isn’t your main focus, the information is transferable to many development programs.

We’ll take an in-depth look at the sources and details of data available to non-profit organizations and vendors in the U.S. and Canada and how it can help you understand your planned giving program with an eye on refinement, assessment, reporting and growth.  Profiles and models can be applied to identify and target prospects for specific planned gifts by vehicle type.  Data can educate and inform decision-makers within your organizational leadership about the importance planned gifts make to the bottom line.  Additionally, it can support the need for dedicated and increased human and financial resources to conduct donor activities and grow this essential long-term revenue stream.  But before you begin to collect data, you’ll need to understand its origin, purpose, confidence and application options.

Our presentation begins to answer the following questions, and builds a foundational knowledge for collecting and using data development purposes.

  • Who and what are data mining and analytical companies?
  • What terms are useful to understand?
  • Is data mining new?
  • How is data collected and distributed?
  • What data is useful for planned giving programs?
  • How can that data be collected?
  • What does the data allow planned giving professionals to do that they cannot do without it?
  • What are the profiles of U.S. and Canadian planned giving donors? Why are they different?
  • How does data provide critical information to organizational leaders, staff and donors?
  • How can I use data to raise more planned gifts?

If you’re not attending the San Antonio conference, you’ve got one other calendared opportunity to join us for this discussion.   As a “precore” (I may have made up that word just now), rather than an encore, we’ll also be presenting the same discussion at Blackbaud’s 2011 Conference for Nonprofit the previous day.  If you’ll be at the Gaylord National Hotel on October 4th, check the schedule and join us!  We’d love to discuss data with you – what’s better than that?!

Katherine Swank is a senior consultant for Target Analytics. You  may reach her at

Katherine has over 30 years of experience in the fundraising industry as a consultant, development officer and advancement team manager. As a member of Blackbaud’s analytics consulting team for over a decade, she facilitates strategic, client-facing content for Blackbaud’s custom modeling, wealth screening, and prospect research solutions to enhance clients’ development efforts with data-driven strategies.  Before assuming this role, she served as the national director of gift planning at
the National Multiple Sclerosis Society home office. Katherine has raised over $200 million during her career. She is a past president of the Colorado Planned Giving Roundtable, a former lawyer and also served as an affiliation faculty member at Regis University where she taught development-related courses at the master’s level for more than 10 years. She is a frequent speaker at BBCON, NACGP, Apra, AFP and other industry conferences.

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