The non-profit data revolution: unlocking fundraising success through Improved Data Management

Daniela Cajigal
Written by Daniela Cajigal in Blog
The non-profit data revolution: unlocking fundraising success through Improved Data Management
April 26, 2023
Reading time: 8 minutes

Are you familiar with the saying "no data, no problem"? Well, in the non-profit world, the opposite is true. Non-profits play a crucial role in society, but acquiring the funding they need to carry out their activities can be a real challenge. This is where data management comes into play. In this blog post, we'll explore how non-profits face functional issues when managing their data and the pain points that arise. Also, it shed light on the awareness problem that plagues many non-profits, making it difficult for staff to identify data management issues. Without the right tools and processes, non-profits can't effectively track donor information or analyze data to make informed decisions, ultimately impacting their ability to raise funds and support their cause.

Unlocking the power of giving

It's a fact. Non-profits rely on donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations, among others, to support their activities. Effective fundraising is critical for the survival and success of non-profits. Without effective data management, non-profits risk losing valuable opportunities to secure their needed funding. From inconsistent donor data to outdated contact information, poor data management can lead to missed fundraising opportunities, lost donations, and even damage the non-profit's reputation.

Picture this: a non-profit seeking to secure a corporate foundation grant sends an email appeal to an outdated contact list. The message bounces back, causing the non-profit to lose a potential donation. With every missed opportunity, the non-profit's ability to carry out its mission is compromised, potentially impacting the lives of those they serve.

Volunteer engagement is also critical to a non-profit's success, particularly when raising funds for important events like galas. Fundraisers often rely on their dedicated volunteers to help with these events. Still, if they don't understand their volunteers comprehensively, they risk missing out on valuable opportunities to engage their most passionate and effective supporters. Non-profits that fail to take a 360-degree view of their volunteers will miss out on leveraging the enthusiasm and expertise of their most committed supporters. This means they may not understand their volunteers' motivations, skills, and availability and may not provide meaningful opportunities for them to contribute. By not relying on data, non-profits cannot maximize their impact or build stronger relationships with their supporters, which could hinder their ability to achieve their mission effectively.

In the following section, we will outline the specific challenges that organizations are currently facing and examine how they impact the daily activities of staff members.

Overcoming Non-Profit Challenges for Success

Without foundations, there Is no direction

Non-profits often find themselves in a world of hurt regarding their CRM systems. Incomplete and inaccurate data can cause a ripple effect throughout the organization, with each team member struggling to understand everything. In addition to manual data entry and management challenges, bad data can lead to errors in reporting and decision-making. There can also be difficulties in reconciling data across multiple systems and platforms. Furthermore, manual data cleaning processes can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

To make matters worse, the staff may not know how to properly use their CRM. It's like throwing someone in the deep end of a pool who doesn't know how to swim. In most cases, non-profiters don't have a Salesforce admin to turn to for help, so they're left to fend for themselves in a sea of unintelligible data.

The consequences of incomplete and inaccurate data can be disastrous for non-profits. They may miss important funding opportunities or fail to reach potential donors because they lack the right information and knowledge.

The non-profit tech puzzle: navigating a complex infrastructure

Managing the technological infrastructure of non-profit organizations can prove to be a complex task. The tech stack of non-profits usually consists of multiple tools and applications from various sources. While each tool may perform well on its own, the real challenge arises when they must work together in harmony. This can lead to difficulties in effectively integrating data and information, resulting in a maze of disjointed records.

Furthermore, when non-profits migrate from one Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform to another, such as Salesforce, they can face the challenge of a complicated data migration process. Thousands of records awaiting to be deduplicated and validated. This can result in inaccurate data and siloed records, making understanding donor patterns and providing targeted communication difficult. It's like navigating a labyrinth without a map, leaving non-profits disoriented and frustrated.

The staff cannot provide personalized experiences to their donors or effectively understand their interests and giving patterns without accurate records.

Ineffective Data Management

Non-profits often neglect to use their data in a data-driven way, leading to a frustrating lack of progress. The valuable insights that data can provide are often left untapped, making it difficult for non-profits to identify their most generous donors or segment their audience effectively. This, in turn, reduces fundraising efforts and potential donations.

Heads-up! The consequences of not utilizing data effectively can be alarming. Non-profits may be unable to achieve their fundraising targets, resulting in a shortfall in resources necessary to carry out their mission. This lack of funding can have severe consequences, potentially impeding their ability to help those in need.

Despite the wealth of information at their disposal, many non-profits continue to struggle with data management. The lack of initiative and strategic thinking regarding data slows their growth, potentially harming the future of those they serve.

Data management can often feel like a distant, inaccessible dream. With limited resources and no dedicated Salesforce admins, it's easy for data management to fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, it often takes a painful wake-up call to prompt non-profits into action. Maybe it's the frustration of staff changes, the envy of seeing another organization's success with Salesforce, or just the nagging feeling that something isn't quite right. Whatever the trigger may be, it's clear that non-profits can no longer afford to ignore the importance of data management.

Photo by KOBU Agency

A single source of truth

The non-profit's size fit doesn't necessarily determine its level of data management skills, as even large global organizations like the Red Cross can struggle with data management. One way to improve data quality in non-profits is through training and making the solutions simple for staff to understand. Non-profits typically accept the need for better technology and are willing to implement Salesforce once they know its benefits.

The staff must comprehensively understand the tools and data to reap the benefits. After all, it's an interconnected progress that begins with adopting a complete solution.

Did you know that, according to Salesforce, 31% of non-profits are able to accurately forecast revenue from fundraising campaigns?

Organizations can benefit greatly from data management solutions in their efforts to raise funds and achieve their mission. With accurate and reliable data, non-profits can make more informed decisions, develop more effective fundraising campaigns, and build stronger relationships with donors.

Non profit ABM blog 2

A complete data solution is a game-changer for non-profit organizations, allowing them to streamline record validation and mass actions and eliminate duplicate data. This frees up valuable time and resources that can be better utilized for mission-critical initiatives, such as fostering donor relationships and advancing organizational goals. With automated duplicate prevention, organizations can rest easy knowing that their data is accurate and up-to-date. This enables them to concentrate on impact measurement and improving program effectiveness.

Effective data management has numerous benefits, from more accurate sales forecasting and more effective marketing campaigns to better compliance and risk management. Non-profit organizations can also use data to personalize communications and tailor outreach to individual donors, resulting in more effective fundraising and higher donor retention rates. With a reliable source of accurate data, non-profit organizations can make more informed decisions, achieve their goals more efficiently, and ultimately make a greater impact in their communities.

A single source of truth is critical to achieving this. The truth is bad data affects everyone in the organization. From the junior staff who struggle to make sense of outdated spreadsheets to the fundraisers who miss out on potential donations due to inaccurate contact information, the consequences of bad data are felt throughout the non-profit. It's time for non-profits to take control of their data and unleash the power of accurate, actionable insights.

A complete data management solution can help non-profit organizations train their staff more easily and quickly by providing user-friendly interfaces, interactive dashboards, and built-in analytics tools. These features can help staff members understand how to use the data to make data-driven decisions and break silos between departments without requiring extensive training or technical expertise.

In addition, a complete data management solution can provide ongoing support and resources, including webinars, tutorials, and training materials, to help staff members continue to develop their data analysis skills over time. This can lead to a more data-driven culture within the organization and better decision-making overall.

By making it easier for staff members to access and analyze data, a complete data management solution can help non-profit organizations make more informed decisions, identify trends, and measure impact. This can help them achieve their organizational goals more efficiently and effectively, resulting in greater mission success.

It's time for non-profits to take a hard look at their data practices and make changes to help them thrive in an ever-changing landscape.

About the Author
Daniela Cajigal
Daniela Cajigal Content Marketer
Hungry for more?
View resources