Understanding Volunteers and Donors With Analytics | npENGAGE

Understanding Volunteers and Donors With Analytics

By on Oct 30, 2017


Employees examining volunteer and donor data

Truly understanding your organization’s prospects and customer behavior can be the difference between successful and unsuccessful volunteer recruitment and fundraising campaignsForrester Research calls today the “age of the customer.” Customers are now at the heart of important business decisions that use to be based solely on the company. Many nonprofits forget that their volunteers and donors are also customers. Isn’t it true that they are providing your organization with time and financial resources in exchange for value? Value comes in many different shapes and sizes. In order for your organization to be successful in today’s busy marketplace you need to leverage customer insights, understand user behavior, segment messaging based on personal preferences, and engage.  Letting data dictate your organizational strategy should not be an option…it’s a must.

What does it mean to be data-driven?

Being data-driven starts at the culture level. In other words, your nonprofit needs to make a full commitment to let data drive decisions company-wide. Making data-driven decisions can be defined as measuring anything and everything that can be quantified and only making decisions that have strong evidence to back them up. Being data-driven can help your organization see where you have been and identify paths to where you want to go.  Still not convinced? Let’s look at some data.

Five Fascinating Statistics About Data-Driven Marketing

  1. 78% of marketers today rely on data-driven decisions to produce and optimize organization advertising campaigns. (source)
  2. 87% of marketers believe that data is their most under-utilized asset. (source)
  3. 71% of organizations utilize some form of marketing automation. (source)
  4. Only 5% percent of business leaders are confident that teams have the right experience to fully support data-driven initiatives. (source)
  5. 33% of marketers said that having the right tools in place for data collection and analysis is the most useful component of understanding customers (source)

Using Data to Better Understand Your Donors and Volunteers

Your nonprofit’s data can provide useful information about donor and volunteer motivations. Why did they decide to donate their time, money, or both to your cause? Data can also help your nonprofit develop strategic ways to convert volunteers to donors and vice versa.

Here are a few ways data can be used to track donor and volunteer motives:

  • Your nonprofit can use website data to better understand which messaging has the highest conversion rates. Then ask the question “why?”
  • Email campaigns can be analyzed to identify which initiatives yielded the most success and what was different compared to its counterparts.
  • Your nonprofit can segment volunteers and donors based on their interactions with the brand. This practice will help your organization begin to create personas based on behavior.
  • Your nonprofit can survey volunteers and donors, collect information, and analyze the data for patterns.
  • Your organization can add a field to contact forms, gated content and collateral, and marketing campaigns to identify motivations and then review this information in your CRM system.

Using Data to Drive Donor and Volunteer Conversions

Your nonprofit does not need to spend a ton of money to gain access to data.  Google Analytics is free and can provide your nonprofit with a lot of information about how volunteers and donors are interacting with your site. One of the biggest benefits that Google Analytics provides is visibility into how supporters are reaching your nonprofits website. Your organization can gain insights into channel data. This includes visits from organic search, direct traffic, social media initiatives, referral sources, and email campaigns.

Your nonprofit can also use Google Analytics to set up conversion goals. Once conversion goals are set up your nonprofit will have instant access to what channel sources are driving the most traffic, and which channels have the highest conversion rates. Keep in mind that it is not always the channel that is producing the most traffic that has the most value for your brand. Analyzing this data can help your nonprofit better understand what channels prospects are taking to become volunteers and donors.

  • Integrate volunteer management and fundraising software with analytics for greater insights. Nonprofits that are looking for even greater insights about their stakeholders can integrate their volunteer management software and donor management system with Google Analytics.  Adding this integration makes the process of pulling insights more streamlined, and connects the bridge between databases and analytical data. 
  • Understand whether your current online volunteer and donor initiatives are working or not. One of the biggest benefits of becoming a data-driven nonprofit is having access to campaign performance data.  Seeing how your campaigns are performing on an analytical scale can helps your organization test, tweak, and optimize content, collateral, and advertising strategies.  Leveraging campaign data can provide your nonprofit the information necessary to segment your audience, see behavioral patterns, and target personal preferences.  Putting the right message in front of the right person can drastically increase campaign success rates.  None of this could be achieved without data.

Key Takeaways

Leveraging data is essential in today’s digital world. Nonprofits that make strategic decisions based on what data is telling them to do have a much better chance of being successful online and offline. Your nonprofit can begin the process of becoming data-driven by taking advantage of free tools like Google Analytics. Integrate Google analytics with your volunteer and donor management software to streamline the data collection process and gain access to key insights. Is your nonprofit living in the age of the customer?


Eric Burger is the marketing communications manager for VolunteerHub, an organization that provides volunteer management solutions for nonprofits across the globe. Eric has worked in the B2B software industry for the past two years and has over five years of experience in digital marketing.

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