Is your organization getting by using spreadsheets to track donors and donations? Are you regularly searching your desk for notes about donor meetings, donor interests and other key donor info? Are you hoping to move your fundraising to the next level?
If any of this sounds familiar, then a database should be in your future! Here are 3 ways a good database can help you streamline fundraising efforts, become more donor-centered, and raise more money for your organization.
1. Store and retrieve vast amounts of information.
Databases are designed so you can easily access all stored information about your donors and their donations, including contact information, donation amounts and frequency, program interests, campaigns supported, and much more. No more storing business cards, vcards or notes scribbled on napkins—once you’ve added the info to your database, you’ll always know where it is.
And everyone in your organization—provided they have access to your database—will have access to the same information, which improves staff efficiency, accuracy of information and consistency of donor communications.
2. Segment your donors.
Segmenting donors allows you to send optimal, targeted communications and solicitations to each of your key donor groups. You certainly wouldn’t want to send your biggest donor a mass communication!
For year-end solicitations or other asks, you’ll want to segment your list according to giving levels and possibly volunteer status. Examples of segmented groups include current Board or advisory committee members, former Board or advisory committee members, major donors, lapsed donors, etc. Be sure to tailor your communications in a way that will be meaningful to each donor group.
3. Identify your highest and most loyal donors.
Knowing your top donors enables you to target exclusive communications to these key supporters. You can recognize them in a special way. Top donors will include those with significant cumulative annual giving in addition to one-time major gifts.
Loyal donors are those who have supported your organization for a long time (not necessarily at a high level). For example a loyal donor may have been sending $25 per year for 20 years. Loyal donors, as you may know, are good candidates for a planned gift.
All of the above will help you to build your fundraising plan for the next year. The more you know about your current donors and their gifts, the better you will be at predicting future giving. For more ways to track your donors and their giving, check out my post Max Your Fundraising Results Using Measurable Metrics.
If you’ll be investing in a donor database in 2014, this article from Idealware may be a good place to start: 10 Common Mistakes in Selecting Donor Databases (And How to Avoid Them).
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