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Nonprofit Data Analysis: A Beginner’s Guide

Data analysis has an important role to play at any nonprofit. Best nonprofit data management practices provide high-quality information useful for guiding data-driven initiatives that maximize fundraising potential and optimize operations. Organizations that have not intentionally collected and considered data in the past can delve into data analysis by pursuing a few basic insights.

The Importance of Tracking the Right Conversions

In the not-for-profit world, conversions are actions taken by constituents that lead to donations, ongoing engagement or any other desirable outcome. There may be more than one mode of conversion, depending on the actions that nonprofit stakeholders want constituents to take as part of a particular campaign. It is important to keep track of conversions on the most relevant platform.

Conversion data will vary based on the actions that are being tracked. It may be necessary to share these data points across systems. In order to make data available in Raiser’s Edge, a nonprofit database manager or staff member may need to refer to a Blackbaud import guide. Integration software can provide solutions for making conversion data available in RE or any other CRM software or applications in use at an organization.

How Data Analysis Will Help You Better Understand Your Constituents

Analyzing conversion data and other data points can shed light on constituents in several ways. Segmenting records can help stakeholders get a clearer sense of the income distribution, donation patterns or other significant aspects of a nonprofit constituency. Some systems have other built-in queries or methods for analysis based on data stored in constituent, contact, account or organization records.

Breaking down data in other ways can be useful for ongoing communication, engagement and outreach efforts. For instance, keeping track of metadata about the methods by which donations are made or the type of communications that have the highest response rates can direct the efforts of organizational staff toward the most effective channels. While interpreting data analysis may take time and effort, it can end up saving both in future campaigns and initiatives.

The End Goal of Data Analysis

The benefits of data analysis depend entirely on the ways that insights are implemented. An organization that prioritizes analytics in a Raisers Edge integration may want to be able to use donation data to schedule giving requests or inform future recommended asks. A Salesforce integration, in turn, might offer valuable engagement data for use in fundraising.

If the stakeholders or staff of an organization are not sure how to use data, they should think about the implications of each data point. It may not be necessary to integrate, connect or otherwise share information that does not have the potential to directly inform data-driven strategy. The use value of data may vary, but a good data strategy is invaluable for any nonprofit organization.

The data analysis rabbit hole is deep, but innovations in built-in analytics across platforms make it easier to gain insight from data passively obtained through operations. Integration software and nonprofit data management tools for CRM software can empower any organization to glean and benefit from data-driven insights.

Zaraki Kenpachi