Victor Akumu from the Aga Khan Foundation discussing using data analytics to update your organization’s digital marketing.

Why Data Analytics Is Key to Your Digital Fundraising Strategy

Giving Tuesday is huge in the fundraising sector, and, many non-profits work hard all year to position themselves and get ready for the biggest day in philanthropy. In 2017 alone, six years after it began, over $274 million dollars was raised online in just the U.S. This amount is likely to grow over the next few years, with major online companies and fundraising platforms like Facebook, PayPal, GlobalGiving, and Amazon announcing #GivingTuesday matching funds initiatives as part of their digital fundraising strategy.

A Shift in Digital Fundraising Trends

As part of their nonprofit fundraising strategy,  a growing number of organizations have begun relying solely on Giving Tuesday to raise their yearly budgets. This is a big indicator that digital fundraising trends are slowly shifting from traditional big donor cheque signing events, to online individual giving campaigns. A survey study by Charity Dynamics reveals that there will be a tremendous shift to online donations in the next few years.

With many governments and traditional donor institutions cutting back on funding nonprofits, it’s do or die for many organizations to embrace effective digital fundraising strategies to ensure sustainability.

How to Develop A Digital Fundraising Strategy

Beate Sorum, a keynote speaker and online fundraising consultant, cautions against thinking that digital fundraising is like a magic wand that will get you millions without effort. According to her, online fundraising is complicated and the key is understanding your potential donors and knowing how to target them. Organizations new to online fundraising should incorporate it as part of their larger fundraising strategy, focusing on building an engaged crowd, rather than how much they can raise during their first digital fundraising campaign.

Understanding Your Fundraising Data Analytics

The only way to get into the minds of your potential donors and formulate an effective and results-oriented digital fundraising strategy is through analyzing data from your online platforms, website, and social media pages. One mistake many nonprofits make is simply generating reports on a weekly or monthly basis as required in the job description. In addition, fundraising data analysis is usually shallow and mainly limited to showing how well their online presence is growing. According to Andrew Means, founder of Data Analysts for Social Good and The Impact Lab, nonprofits should be collecting and analyzing data beyond visitor numbers or Facebook likes and using it to inform their nonprofit fundraising strategy.

Having hundreds of posts on your social media pages or numerous blog posts urging people to donate to your cause is fruitless in this day and age. People don’t act because of lack of information, they simply don’t act because they just don’t care. Donors already know why they should support poor communities in developing countries, or the importance of donating to youth and women empowerment programs. The fundamental question is why should they donate to your organization? The answer is how effectively your organization creates and communicates impact.

Proper data analysis of your online presence should show you behavioral and emotional patterns of your audience. This should be the main end goal of your digital fundraising data analysis. Once you understand the behavior and emotions of your audience, you can create content that will bring out the reactions you want, which in this case is caring about what you do and connecting with your work on a personal and emotional level. Once this is achieved, you will easily convert them into long-term donors and ambassadors.

Your offline fundraising activities will also benefit from data analytics as you will be able to organize targeted events and know exactly what to say when asking for support. Your audience will connect with your cause when you tap their inner emotions. Some will even wonder if you got into their heads beforehand. Yes, you did!!

If you’re looking for some ways to improve your fundraising training program, Philanthropy University offers free, online fundraising courses — including one that’s focused on developing a fundraising strategy for nonprofits. Explore all the courses by clicking the button below!



Victor Akumu is a Strategic Digital Communications Fellow with the Aga Khan Foundation USA & Strategic Partner of Kenyan crowdfunding platform M-Changa.