TOOL KIT
September 08, 2015

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.

Article
October 25, 2016

Data Analysis Boosts Revenue at Art Institute of Chicago

Information the museum collects on visitors' movements through the galleries is helping it identify patterns that guide marketing decisions.

Article
September 06, 2016

Analytics Expert Offers Advice on How to Use Data to Raise Money

Fundraisers have long debated whether their discipline is an art or a science; author and Blackbaud executive Steve MacLaughlin says it's both.

Article
August 02, 2016

Data and the Search for Big Donors

How fundraisers crunch numbers, sift Facebook chatter, and analyze their results to learn exactly what donors want.

Article
August 02, 2016

The Future of Fundraising and Data Analytics: Two Ideas

Ideas that analysts noodle around with today could become the cutting-edge approaches of tomorrow. Here are two still largely on the drawing board.

Article
May 05, 2014

Fundraisers Reap Millions by Using Data 'Gold Mine'

Nonprofits are stepping up their powerful analytical techniques to make smarter fundraising decisions and increase donations.

Article
May 05, 2014

Using Data to Advance Fundraising: Advice From the Experts

Start small, look for differences among groups of donors, and other first-steps to find new ways to appeal to donors.

Article
October 19, 2015

How PBS Stations Used Data Sharing to Set and Meet Fundraising Goals

Public broadcasting stations formed a group to collect, analyze, and share their fundraising data to help stations identify weaknesses, adopt effective practices, and raise more money.

Article
May 05, 2014

Data Analysis Helps Boston College Hold Onto Talented Fundraisers

Figuring out which donors have the most potential helps staff members get early wins—and makes it more likely they'll stay on the job, say the institution's leaders.

Article
May 05, 2014

Gay-Rights Group Turns Activists Into Donors

The Human Rights Campaign used sophisticated data tools to figure out who among its activists to ask for money.

Article
April 17, 2015

2 Colleges Score Big Gains Using Data-Driven Fundraising

A statistician and alumnus used sophisticated analyses to test dozens of ideas at once.

Article
February 27, 2015

Finding the Best Donors Through Data Cooperatives

Donor-sharing services have reshaped acquisition in the last five years.

Article
November 16, 2014

Nonprofits Find New Donors With Databases That Track Connections

New technology is formalizing and making easier the process of uncovering hidden connections between the charity’s network and prospective donors.

Article
June 16, 2014

New Books Offer Tips for Data-Driven Fundraising; a Nun’s Tales of Activism

Nonprofits get advice on how to hire people who can analyze information and get inspiration from a proven advocate.

Article
December 02, 2012

An Environmental Group Studies What Donors Want

The Nature Conservancy has been adding employees, revamping its Web site, and doing all it can to measure results as it seeks to amass more online gifts.

Article
July 24, 2011

A University Doubles Donations in a Year

Charles W. Holland taught his alma mater, Lincoln Memorial University, how to figure out the smartest ways to increase giving—all without spending any new money.