Everywhere you turn, you’re hearing data, big data, data science, artificial intelligence… and the list goes on. We’re in a point in time where data is everything. Especially if you’re running some kind of business or nonprofit—we need data! The evolution of data has given us everything we need stored in a cloud, but the biggest, most important question is…
“What do we do with all of this data?”
When your nonprofit organization employs a data and case management software, it will hold the capability to collect data from all fundraising campaigns and initiatives; measure how successful those efforts have been; create, customize and share reports; and track that data over time. So, you can see how beneficial data is to a nonprofit’s sustainability… in the long-term!
Especially if you’re looking to apply for a grant in the near future, investing in data and case management software will give you all the information you need to add onto your application—and data holds all the information that funders are looking for. The data collected from all of your nonprofit’s efforts and initiatives explicitly shows the funder all the amazing work that your nonprofit does—with all the numbers and background information to prove it.
Now that you have a better understanding of how data can help your nonprofit, I’ll share a simple guideline to how to effectively build an outcome report for a fundraising campaign.
Report Fundraising Campaigns… Effectively!
Sure, you can run a fundraising campaign and conclude that campaign brought in $50,000 in revenue. And, sure, the total dollars raised can be considered a win. But, if you think that’s the most important part of fundraising, then you better re-evaluate your thinking.
Don’t get me wrong, total dollars raised is imperative to your nonprofit’s mission success. What’s more important than that is how your nonprofit got there. These days, you’re hearing more about nonprofit sustainability and how important it is to maintain that to ensure that your nonprofit will continue to grow and expand in the long-term. This is where data and case management software comes in—to help you measure those outcomes!
So, here’s your simple guideline to measuring outcomes for a fundraising campaign:
- Establish a goal. Before starting any fundraising campaign, your leadership team needs to get together and establish an end goal. What does your nonprofit ultimately want at the end of the campaign cycle. $XX,XXX in revenue? X percent new donors? X percent donors retained year after year?
- Create a strategy. Again, gather up the herd. Together, create an in-depth, robust fundraising strategy that will help your nonprofit reach that goal. How many channels of outreach do you want to use? How frequent? How will you communicate with your donors?
- Collect data. Employing a data and case management software will do this for you. The software will measure all the important details of the fundraising campaign. It’ll show you how many dollars are being raised, who’s donating what, which demographics are donating more, how close you are to reaching your end goal, etc.
- Analyze that data. For the fun part, use software to analyze the results. How well did the campaign do? Which efforts were more successful than the others? How can your nonprofit improve? How much impact is your nonprofit making? Are your donors making referrals? Has your staff been effective?
- Evaluate… and re-evaluate that data. Say you reach your goal. Maybe it’s exceeded it! It’s important to re-evaluate the data time and time again for every fundraising campaign to ensure that your outcomes management system is as effective as it should be.
Now you can make custom reports to track your nonprofit’s progress over time, and you have the materials you need to submit for grant applications.
Nhu Te is editor-in-chief and content director for NonProfit PRO. She is also the editor of DMAW Marketing AdVents. Reach her at email@example.com.