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How to Use Data to Advance Fundraising

Charities have a wealth of information about donors, and a growing number of organizations are using data analytics to determine which supporters are most likely to make a big gift or give in response to a direct-mail appeal.

“Your database is a gold mine,” says Emily Courville, director of analytics at the Humane Society of the United States. “There is so much you can learn about what your donors are doing if you just start to look.”

Nonprofits have long used data to drive their fundraising efforts. But the complexity of charities’ analyses has shot up as statistical tools have become easier to use, the cost of computing power has dropped, and more vendors provide analytics services designed specifically for fundraising.

Here are a few resources to help you use data to make smart choices on where to focus your nonprofit’s development efforts — and to boost the amount of money you raise.