How Accessible Data Can Help You Better Care for Your Donors | npENGAGE

How Accessible Data Can Help You Better Care for Your Donors

By on Jan 6, 2015


Imagine you find yourself being rushed to the hospital…

In that moment, your needs become very basic. You want clinical care from a competent health professional.  But, you don’t want the same care as the patient before you.  You want personalized healthcare. You want them to diagnosis your symptoms, to treat your ailment, with your allergies and your health history in mind. That detailed information may be the difference in your recovery. And, when you’re lying on your back feeling sick, the physician needs another source of data.

Today, healthcare IT has adapted to provide the information that makes clinical caregivers more effective. A physician can read your EKG on their smart phone and use software to pull up your entire health history in real time. They may even conduct your health screening via Face Time or Skype. Healthcare is changing—and for the better—because of this immediate and remote access to data.

Philanthropy is no different.

Like any hospital patient, donors don’t want the same “care” as the guy before them. They want a personalized relationship. They want you to consider their cause of choice, their reason for giving, their capacity, and their history of philanthropy; knowing their spouse’s name doesn’t hurt either! For the best donor interaction, development staff needs information to be accessible wherever and whenever their conversation happens.

Unfortunately, healthcare fundraisers are quick to fundraise for the new clinical care tools mentioned above and slow to adapt their own professional tool kit.  Donors want and deserve to be communicated to personally, as a unique individual.

Donor data is the key to securing a gift.

This year our Foundation team discovered a handful of game changing tools, and we’re watching healthcare philanthropy become a mobile enterprise as a result:

We started by downloading the new Raiser’s Edge app. With the help of technology, every member of our development staff carries our donor database with them on their smart phone. Gone are the days of printing off donor notes or gift histories. Instead, I can reference Mr. Smith’s last gift in the parking lot or double check his wife’s name when I run into them at a restaurant. I recently found my memory blank on the way to a patient rounding visit in the hospital. In a matter of moments, I had pulled up this constituent’s record and armed myself with the right information for our visit together.

In the same way, Raiser’s Edge NXT users employ cloud technology to make their database “anywhere accessible”—offering data entry and analytics on-the-go from any platform. Blackbaud MobilePay, another techie gadget, allows our staff to handle payment processing with just a smart phone and a tiny plug in device. Now, we can accept a credit card payment offsite or during an event—increasing our platforms and profits for healthcare giving.

The work of a fundraiser is out in the community, not at a desk.

Thanks to tools like these, we are no longer chained to our paper files or even our desktop for information. When we can take our data with us, more robust and personal conversations lead to greater generosity and impact. The advances of information technology are equally as important in clinical care as they are in healthcare philanthropy. It is inspiring to see strides towards innovation that reflect the technology in the industry we serve.


Lauren Short is the Annual Giving Manager at Riverside HealthCare Foundation in the south Chicago suburbs. Prior to her development work, she worked in healthcare IT as a project manager for Epic Systems. Her passion for healthcare runs in her family with a range of medical career paths from physician to health administrator. As a newlywed, Lauren is learning to cook and enjoying travel with her husband John. In warm weather, you’ll always find her outdoors but during winters in the Windy City, she’s more likely to be curled up inside with the latest leadership book.

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