How to Use Nonprofit Data to Drive Fundraising Success

This post was contributed by DoJiggy.

When nonprofit data is collected and stored securely and efficiently, it can drive your fundraising campaigns to unimaginable success. A nonprofit database can help leverage your donor data to optimize fundraising goals, improve donor stewardship and influence crucial decision-making for the entire organization. 

Follow our top tips on how to leverage nonprofit data successfully and see how it could end up being a game changer for your fundraising operations. Our top 5 tips for managing your nonprofit data are: 

  1. Clean Up and Integrate Your Valuable Nonprofit Data
  2. Track The Nonprofit Data That Counts
  3. Increase Your Activation Rate
  4. Ask The Right Questions
  5. Be Flexible

So, let’s dive straight in and start creating fundraising success for your nonprofit.

Knowing What Nonprofit Data to Use

It’s common for nonprofits to feel inundated with the sheer amount of online information out there, what they should use, and how to use it successfully to drive a successful fundraising campaign. Before your organization gets too overwhelmed, remember that you don’t need to employ a team of data scientists to achieve the results you’re looking for (though an outside team of data scientists can be helpful!). 

When forming your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy, it’s vital to gather a combination of both quantitative and qualitative data:

  • Quantitative –  how many donations you received last year, constituent’s email addresses and contact details 
  • Qualitative – how donors would have improved the fundraising page, how they felt about the overall impact of the fundraiser 

By gathering this fundraising data and tracking it carefully, your organization is sure to increase donations and awareness of your cause, boost audience engagement, help streamline your operation and point out any weaknesses.  

So let’s take a look at how to achieve this with 5 simple pro tips.

1. Clean Up and Integrate Your Valuable Nonprofit Data

Are you seeing the big picture or just small clippits of what will make your fundraiser a success? Integrating consistent, reliable, and quality nonprofit data is essential to boost your campaign’s outcome, but how do you achieve this? First up, your organization needs to maintain good data hygiene procedures and clean up their data collection. Concentrate on the numbers that really count for your fundraiser and don’t get distracted by metrics that stray away from the main cause. 

Tidy up your nonprofit database, so that the data is useful and working accurately to drive a successful campaign. You can do this by:

  • Checking that you have up-to-date contact details for you donors
  • Getting rid of unhelpful and incomplete information, such as duplicate email entries and data from supporters who are deceased

If you don’t have up-to-date information on your supporters, you can use a third-party data provider, such as AlumniFinder, to enrich your donor data with updated contact information, including addresses, cell phone numbers, and email addresses; date-of-birth and date-of-death information; and even demographic, interest, and donation data to help you reach and engage with more of your supporters.

Once you have straightened out your nonprofit data, make your organization’s life easier by implementing a CRM and other nonprofit database software to collect, store, process, and share data. Without a doubt, one of the most attractive features of nonprofit CRM software is streamlining information within one location, but this is not the only plus. Being able to access real-time reporting is another great CRM feature, which helps nonprofits to get the most out of their campaigns and exceed their fundraising goals. 

2. Track The Nonprofit Data That Counts

Due to the overwhelming amount of nonprofit data available out there, be sure to prioritize what data to track and analyze to drive fundraising success. It’s important to measure data that will demonstrate the impact your fundraiser’s making, where your nonprofit is experiencing setbacks, and how to improve your overall fundraising journey for future campaigns. 

Consider the following nonprofit data to track:

  • Data that shows your fundraiser’s impact.

One of the best ways to satisfy and engage current donors, while bringing new ones on board, is by tracking nonprofit data that clearly demonstrates your fundraising impact. It’s not always easy to quantify this type of data, but it’s important to find a way to communicate impact measurement with your constituents. Track nonprofit impact data to prove programs are successful, not only directly after the fundraiser has been completed, but also to show how your nonprofit is changing people’s lives for the better in the long term. 

  • Data that identifies your setbacks.

How do you expect to improve upon any complications your nonprofit experiences, if you don’t identify them through your data collection and analysis? Tracking setbacks during your fundraiser is essential for not repeating them in the future.  Don’t forget that by sharing both the positives and negatives of your campaign with your donors and stakeholders, you’ll be giving an honest account of your fundraising process – something that they’ll appreciate.    

  • Data that helps lead to funding.

Nonprofits benefit greatly from non-repayable funds awarded by the government and recurring contributions from corporations and private foundations. Sustainability, impact, and purpose are top values that many corporations and foundations are taking seriously nowadays. So, don’t forget to track nonprofit data that will prove that your organization is achieving these values and making a lasting impact on the community through your fundraising campaigns and charity programs. 

3. Increase Your Activation Rate

Activation rate, another key performance indicator for nonprofits, especially for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, is a useful tool to measure how successful your fundraiser is. This can be calculated by tracking nonprofit data that shows the percentage of all fundraising pages that have received at least one donation. 

So, say your organization has set up 10 fundraising pages for your most recent campaign, and 6 of them have received donations, this means that you have an activation rate of 60%. Now, although this sounds positive, you need to consider that the other 4 fundraising pages (40%) are falling short and require assistance with getting more attention and donations. 

When you need to increase the activation rate for the fundraising pages that are lagging behind, here are a few pro tips:

  • Ask your supporters to share their fundraising pages through emails and social media posts
  • Send progress and impact updates with fundraising page links attached
  • Post inspiring videos, photos and personal stories central to your campaign, always linking back to your fundraising pages  
  • Check in with your donors, ask them questions about the campaign and direct them to the fundraising pages

4. Ask The Right Questions

No matter how well you think you know your donors, there’s always more to learn by asking the right questions. Rather than assuming to know your target audience’s needs, likes, and dislikes, make a list of specific questions to ask your donors via direct emails and phone calls, your fundraising pages, and through posts, polls, and surveys on social media channels. 

Don’t forget to ask your donors personalized questions on the follow-up and thank-you messages. This is the perfect opportunity to ask your constituents about how the fundraiser could be improved, how smooth the donation process was, and about their overall experience. This will allow your nonprofit to make crucial changes to satisfy your donors for future fundraisers.

5. Be Flexible

Fundraisers have a reputation for often switching paths mid-campaign. Just because your nonprofit database says one thing, take the time to evaluate what’s happening in real-time, and see if you need to make any important changes to your campaign as it’s evolving.  By being flexible, you’ll show your supporter base that you’re listening to their needs, which will help gain their trust, increase donor engagement, and build solid relationships. 

If you see that the campaign could benefit from moving in a different direction, regardless of what the data says, be prepared to make these changes to drive a successful campaign.

For example, if you receive a handful of emails or social media posts from your supporter base complaining that the fundraising page is messy and incoherent, that should be enough to make your nonprofit make the necessary changes to fix the problem there and then. The time your organization wastes calculating data analytics to prove these complaints could lose your nonprofit valuable donors.   


If there’s one major point to take away, it’s that nonprofit data used correctly can drive fundraising success. Make sure to clean up and integrate valuable nonprofit data and focus on relevant and reliable information that will aid your cause, not distract you from achieving your fundraising goals. Most importantly, be flexible and listen to your constituents to enable your nonprofit to evolve with your learnings for future fundraising events.

About the Author

Lisa Bennett, Sales Director at DoJiggy

Lisa is the Sales Director at DoJiggy, a leading fundraising software platform for nonprofits and schools. She joined DoJiggy in 2006 and loves her job. Prior to DoJiggy, she worked at several nonprofits and managed special event fundraising campaigns.

Written by Gabrielle Perham, MBA