With tight budgets and lots of competition—there are 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S. — charitable organizations have their work cut out for them. Add in the fact that potential donors are bombarded with fundraising requests through social media, email, and crowdfunding sites, and it becomes clear that traditional spray-and-pray marketing won’t generate the revenue nonprofits need to survive.

To complicate matters further, acquiring new donors is more challenging than acquiring new customers. Encouraging people to give, instead of buy, requires a two-pronged messaging approach. To drive donations, nonprofits must ultimately find the people who support their cause.

Thankfully, advanced analytics can help nonprofit marketers take a more sophisticated, not to mention efficient, approach to identifying and reaching people more likely to give. Below, we outline six steps to leveraging your data to build a predictable and scalable fundraising strategy.

1. Understand your organization’s ideal donor

Analyzing your donor data is, hands down, the best way to get insights about your best prospects so you can tailor your strategy and reach your target audience. By modeling the data through an advanced analytics platform, for example, you can discover which traits your most loyal donors share—and use these insights to reach others like them.

Some outcomes of using advanced analytics are:

  • Understand the channels that drive the best leads and donors.
  • Explore the entire donor journey for clues to what drives donations.
  • Identify touch-points you can optimize for increased donations.
  • Get a clear picture of the demographics and behaviors of your best donors.

2. Segment your donor list

Once you have a picture of your ideal donors, you can begin to have more meaningful conversations with them. Using donor segmentation, divide your list of donors into smaller groups that share similar qualities, such as:

  • Geography
  • Age
  • Donor Type
  • Donor Status
  • Donation Amount
  • Donation Method

Segmentation allows you to ask for donations more strategically. You can also customize the information you share with your audience so that your tone and message speaks directly to them, which will improve campaign performance.

3. Personalize your messaging

Next, you can tailor your messaging to each segmented audience to maintain a lasting relationship with them. Personalized messages go a long way toward building rapport, credibility, and trust with your donors. It’s all about providing relatable content that encourages your potential donors to act.

Examples of personalization include:

  • Thanking donors who gave large contributions for helping you reach a goal
  • Inviting ideal donors to a fundraiser in their area
  • Asking lapsed donors to consider donating again
  • Targeting event donors to give to your annual campaign
  • Onboarding new donors and nurturing them to give more over time

4. Get strategic with your marketing channels

Direct mail, email, paid search, social advertising—there are dozens of ways to reach your ideal donor. With the right analytics solution, you can segment your campaigns to focus on reaching the right donors through the right channels, by determining which donors are most likely to give based on which channel.

For example, analytics can help you see if emails result in higher donations than telemarketing, or direct mail. Once you know which channels are driving the most conversions, you can optimize your marketing spend.

When you target by channel, be sure to consider:

  • Reach: the number of people who see your content
  • Impressions: the number of times your content is displayed
  • Engagement: the number of interactions people have with your content (i.e.: likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc.)

5. Measure your success

Optimizing your efforts based on key performance indicators (KPIs) and other engagement metrics can help you—and your leadership team—make informed decisions about where to spend your marketing budget.

Here are some key things to monitor by channel:

  • Website: Use Google analytics to determine what’s driving the most site visits
  • Email: Track open rates, click-thrus, and forwards by email type to find out what kind of content your audience values.
  • Social Media: Measure engagement by content type—photos, videos, polls, user-generated, shares, and appeals—to see what’s working best.

Overall, it’s important to track engagement by the kind of content you’re offering. Do you get more responses when you share organization-related news, when you do a fundraising appeal, or when you focus on a hero’s story? Knowing this kind of information can help you keep your audience engaged—not to mention donating—and help you get organizational advocates for your marketing choices.

6. Practice data hygiene

Finally, implementing ongoing processes to maintain your database with clean data is critical. This is one of the biggest hurdles we see organizations run into. Your campaigns are only as good as your data. Be sure that your data systems are set up to provide easy access to clean data.

Lityx understands the nuances of nonprofit marketing. Schedule a consultation to learn how you can partner with Lityx to help build a higher-performing fundraising strategy.