Fundraising campaigns falling flat? Here’s how data analysis can help

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If your charity is facing a blip in fundraising success, rest assured you’re not alone. Times are tough out there. We know we sound like a broken record saying that, but it’s true.

The cost-of-living crisis is still having a significant impact on charitable donations, with a quarter of people having either changed their charitable behaviours because of the crisis or considering doing so.

Donation levels have also remained below pre-pandemic figures, with fewer people giving to charity. The number of people donating has dropped 5% since 2022, too. Plus, with approximately 168,850 registered charities in England in 2023, the number of charities competing for supporters’ attention is huge.

All of this means that your fundraising campaigns need to work harder than ever before if your charity is going to stand out from the crowd, which is where the power of data analysis and charity insight comes in.

We know, we know. You’ve got enough on your plate as it is – so do you really need to get to grips with data analysis too? Actually, yes! Utilising the power of your data can have a monumental impact on the success of your campaigns, so it’s definitely worth the effort.

Data analysis explained

Sure, you probably already have tons of data about your supporters. But gathering data alone isn’t enough – if you want to see real results, you need to analyse it.

Data analysis is the process of transforming data into actionable insight and sifting through information to uncover meaning that can help make informed, strategic decisions. It enables you to put your supporters right at the heart of your fundraising activity by empowering you to find the right audience and engage with them in the right way.

Basically, it provides structure and strategy to your programmes so you can target the right people with the right asks. Here’s how…

8 ways data analysis can help your fundraising campaigns succeed

1. You can benchmark to see where you stand

If your fundraising campaigns aren’t currently hitting the mark, you need to start by looking at what you’re doing and figure out what’s working and what’s not.

Benchmarking your performance against yourself or other charities allows you to utilise your data to inform your fundraising decisions moving forward. Gathering your data and reviewing what you’re currently doing versus where you want to be means you can use your data to bridge the gap between the two.

At Wood for Trees, our benchmarking capability is unique in a crowded analysis environment. Unlike traditional reporting methods, InsightHub for charities leverages Wood for Trees’ market leading data model alongside Microsoft’s formidable Power BI toolset to deliver impactful insights that provide you with a unique advantage in a hugely competitive marketplace.

2. You can understand donor behaviour

If your fundraising campaigns are going to succeed, you need to get to know your donors. Data analysis enables you to get to grips with your donor behaviour so you can understand exactly who your supporters are and get to know them in a more holistic way.

Looking at metrics such as frequency of giving, recency of giving, past donation amounts, lifetime value, and total ROI per supporter brings your audience to life and creates a clear picture of your audience, providing access to essential insights that can steer your fundraising campaigns in the right direction.

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3. You can segment your audience for success

Once you’ve got to grips with what makes your audience tick, you can then use data analysis to segment your audience and split your database into specific subgroups, enabling you to connect with them in the most efficient and effective way and target your communications accordingly.

By segmenting your supporters and creating supporter personas based on criteria such as demographics, donation history, and engagement levels, you can ensure your data works hard for you and enables you to understand who your supporters are and how they support you.

Plus, you can then create personalised appeals that resonate with each segment, boosting engagement, increasing response, and providing structure to your programmes.

4. You can understand supporter preferences

There’s no point in crafting compelling campaigns if you aren’t communicating in the right way.

All your supporters have different tastes when it comes to how they want to interact with your organisation. Some might want to give online, whilst others might prefer the more personal experience of donating over the phone. Some supporters might be social media savvy, whilst others might prefer receiving good old fashioned direct mail in the post.

The important thing is that if your campaigns are going to deliver the results you need, you need to use your data to evaluate the performance of each different fundraising channel and identify which are most effective for each of your supporter segments so you can ensure your campaigns deliver maximum impact.

5. You can make it personal

Another way to use data analysis to ensure your fundraising campaigns are successful is by creating personalised messages that resonate with each segment.

Personalising your supporter experience has a significant impact on the success of your campaigns. It shows your supporters you care about them and significantly improves donor retention and loyalty whilst having a huge impact on your reach and donation amounts.

Your supporters want to feel valued. 84% of people say that being treated like an individual rather than another statistic has a huge impact on what brands they support – and the same is true when it comes to charities.

6. You can create content that engages

The heart of any marketing campaign is content, so make sure to use your data to create content that resonates.

Giving to charity is emotive, and people give because they feel connected to the person asking. Alongside personalising your campaigns, it’s vital to create engaging, donor-centric communications that your supporters want to engage with.

Data about impact can be a powerful way to tell your story and gain more support. What are they interested in? What moves them? With content that resonates, you can build trust, strengthen supporter retention, and increase donations.

7. You can anticipate future trends

Another way that data analysis can help you deliver successful campaigns is by using predictive modelling to scope out trends and inform your future decisions.

Predictive modelling is revolutionising the way charities understand and anticipate donor behaviour. By analysing historical data, you can identify patterns and trends that demonstrate the likelihood of specific donor actions.

For example, it enables you to anticipate your support behaviour and needs, so you can address any concerns or even provide information before your supporters know they need it. Plus, it can help you to predict longer term supporter outcomes by enabling you to identify potential high-value donors and long-term supporters, so you can optimise your fundraising efforts accordingly for maximum ROI.

8. You can monitor, evaluate, and improve

Creating standout fundraising campaigns is an ongoing journey that doesn’t simply end once your campaigns are out the door.

By testing different strategies and tactics to identify what works in real time, you can optimise your campaigns for maximum success.

Tracking the ongoing performance of live campaigns enables you to determine what’s working and what isn’t quite hitting the mark. Then, depending on the channel or type of campaign, you can adjust whilst your campaigns are live so you can improve your results.

A/B testing can be conducted on various fundraising appeals, from landing pages to email campaigns, and by analysing the results you can identify what works best and refine your fundraising campaigns for the future.

You can also use data analytics and charity insight to test different messages, channels, and offers, and find out what works best for your audience. This allows you to improve targeting, response rates, prompt levels and, ultimately, revenue.

How Wood for Trees can help you get the most out of your fundraising campaigns

Here at Wood for Trees, we understand the challenges fundraisers face and know how to use data to give them the answers they need.

By harnessing the power of charity insight, we can help you to gain a deeper understanding of donor behaviour, create targeted and personalised campaigns, and adapt in real-time to optimise your fundraising efforts.

When you partner with us, our team of analysts will model and present your data in enlightening ways to drive insights and actions, helping you to make sense of your data and understand it so you can optimise your communications, increase engagement, and improve your fundraising results.

Sound good? If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, simply get in touch with our team today to find out more.