Once you’ve set the foundation for organizational buy-in, where should you start? The answer is your database— the most important tool for an effective end-of-year campaign. Now is the time to ensure that you’re using best practices to allow this powerful tool to work for you. Successful year-end campaigns involve engagement through personalized donor communications, nurturing supporter relationships to encourage them to give. To engage donors in this way, we have to know them, and in fact, we do know a lot about them. But the reality is that we sometimes have so much data to analyze and interpret that it can be hard to know where to start.
Before you become overwhelmed and tempted to take shortcuts, take a step back and think about what you really need. To ensure that your database is ready for analytics, the first step is to optimize the information you already have: your donor contact information. You should consider it a hard-and-fast rule that if you don’t have a high quality name and address for a donor, it will be nearly impossible to derive any kind of insight about that person.
There are a series of best practice techniques which are essentially considered “table stakes” for nonprofits; in other words, these are the processes you need to have in place to take advantage of analytics and testing.