By: Laura Iancu, 123ContactForm
In the nonprofit area efforts to success are made from all perspectives. That’s why we surpassed the idea that a good cause is the sole element which grants success. In the equation have entered factors like marketing, management, internal communication, customer satisfaction and more.
So, to keep in mind all these factors and actually make right decisions, we had to search beyond our instincts and start gathering data to know where we are heading. We are talking about hard, practical information about audiences, employees and all stakeholders, which summed up can be a reliable weapon when you commence the struggle to win over your potential donors and raise money for your dream cause.
There are tons of data hidden in the inner resources of your organization and you can collect them from all the people involved in your nonprofit. Depending on the structure of your organization, you can benefit from all details regarding campaigns, volunteers, potential donors, present donors, charity events and many more. Creating a loop between them can generate an overview on the entire “customer experience”, in this case your community of donors and supporters.
So why should you trust your decision making process to rely on data?
1. You can get measurable results. Everybody wants to see the return of investment (ROI) and draw a clearer picture to see if the efforts put in something have results or not. Well if in the first place your action was based on reliable data, for sure you can measure the outcome. When launching your marketing campaign you have a segmented audience with clear social and demographic information it would be easy to measure your impact and your strategy would be build based on a specific set on factors. Let’s take the example of charity: water and their email campaign carried out by Responsys. A campaign which has changed from mass email blasts to personalized emails. They had a specific target by levels of engagement and clear data about their public. The effect? The open rate was 27% higher compared to previous campaigns and they exceeded their goal, raising over $2m, that is $300000 over their goal.
2. You can easily adapt to healthy trends. If you constantly monitor your status and see which actions brought you better results you can choose the right path to follow. For example if 20% of your potential donors access your webpage through a smart device and you have no configuration for such devices you can lose big time. But if you know that mobile apps are on the wave but you do no research and invest time and money you can lose again, maybe 0.1% of you visitors come from such devices. Thus, analyzing your actions can be a breakthrough for your organization, and I assure you no research is in vain, for sure you will collect useful information to be later used in many beneficial purposes.
3. You can build your interface to offer intuitive user experience. Keep in mind that your website is the core communication channel, a link that brings you closer to your community. Hence, you have to know what they are doing on your website, what they like or what makes them leave. So, gather data which can determine the rate of success for your nonprofit by adapting your website to a user friendly interface which will overrun all the obstacles that your online visitors met. You have to build your image with the final purpose in mind. Always know which is the message you want to transmit and how you want to be perceived by your public because you can induce this image if you have the right information at hand. A few years ago, a study conducted by Gitte Lindgaard at Carleton University revealed that visitors make their first impression in just a 20th of a second, so be prepared to offer them a clear, attractive view to meet their expectations at first glance.
4. You can keep track of your development. Having collected data will show you the status of your nonprofit. It is a good way to keep tabs on your progress by generating reports or histograms. You can choose which aspects you are interested in and focus on collecting more data in that way. It is a solution to see exactly you cash flow, the number of active donors, online supporters, employees’ satisfaction and many more. All these can add up to the success of your nonprofit because they offer a clearer path to follow based on actual results.
These are only the top four reasons, but for sure I could come with at least ten more. But, more importantly, you have to know that there are specially designed tools to help you in this matter. Gathering data can be hard and time consuming, that’s why you have to know the proper way to take action. From the vast ocean of apps, there are a couple ones which are mandatory in these cases:
- Form builders – it’s the easiest way to create surveys, feedback forms, internal employee surveys and many more. They are versatile and can adapt to situations like big marketing researches to small but complex donation forms. The offer a viable tool for conducting surveys, interviews and other data collection methods you can think of. In addition, you can create reports and have compelling visuals to have a clear overview of the gathered data.
- CRMs – don’t waste the contacts you have. Always update your database with donors, potential supporters and even local authorities and businesses. Having a well-organized contact list can power up campaigns, can determine your strategy and even important decisions. Analyze it and use it at its full potential, it is part of the data that you nonprofit must have.
With all these explanations, I don’t want to discredit instinct, because all good nonprofits have behind a daring idea and passionate people. But, we all reach a point where logical explanations, proven statistics and raw data can bring us to another level.
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