How to Collect and Use the Data In Your Donation Form

Whether it’s a physical sheet of paper or a page on your organization’s website, a donation form is a crucial component of any nonprofit’s giving process.

A donation form not only allows you to accept and record donations, but when created correctly, a donation form can unlock powerful data to track fundraising trends, make informed decisions, and strategize future fundraising efforts. Moreover, donation forms can reveal valuable insights into how supporters give to your organization and how best to communicate with them in the future.

With this in mind, in this guide, we’ll answer the following frequently asked donation form-related questions:

Before diving into building a data-driven donation form to boost giving to your organization, let’s first review its core components.

What is a nonprofit donation form? 

A donation form is a key tool used by nonprofits to collect information and process contributions. Donation forms can exist both as physical forms that supporters can fill out by hand and as digital forms that supporters can fill out on your online donation page.

 

At its core, your donation form should include fields for basic contact information, gift amount, and payment details. However, many donation forms include additional fields that help nonprofits better understand, thank, and retain their donors. Below, we’ve cataloged the most essential fields to consider including in your donation forms.

What should be included in a donation form? 

  • Contact information. Ask for donors’ names, emails, phone numbers, and physical addresses to follow up with thank-yous and personalized appeals in the future.
  • Donation amount. This is a necessary field to complete a donation, but it’s also important to understanding giving trends and knowing how close you are to reaching your fundraising goal.
  • Payment information. In order for a donation to be processed, you’ll need to collect information about how a donor plans to pay. 
  • Matching gift search. Including a matching gift tool on your donation form allows donors to determine if their employer has a corporate giving program that will amplify the impact of their donation.
  • Campaign-specific survey questions. Depending on the fundraising campaign, you might ask additional questions about how donors learned about your nonprofit and why they’re donating. To make your form as streamlined as possible, consider making these questions optional.
  • Thank-you landing page. Once donors submit their donation, automatically direct them to a thank-you page that suggests other ways for them to get involved in your cause.

Using these fields to collect donor information not only helps build out your donor database but also provides vital data and insights that can improve supporter engagements and further develop relationships. 

What data should you collect from a donation form? 

Each field in your form can translate into impactful giving data. As a result, you can learn more about your donors:

    • Personal information. When someone makes their first donation, the most basic information you’ll receive is their name and contact information. As a result, your nonprofit can use this data to address donors by their preferred name and title in your future solicitations to improve your chances of receiving a response.
    • Engagement history. Assess the frequency of a donor’s contributions and their average gift amount alongside other ways (volunteering, attending events, serving on your board) that they’re involved in your organization. With this information, you can predict the timing and amount of future donations you will receive from a given group of donors. 
  • Demographic information. Information about your donors’ educational background, age, location, hobbies, interests, and reasons for giving all serve to help you better understand and connect with supporters.
    • Employment info and matching gift eligibility. An individual’s business affiliations can give you an idea of their net worth and potential connections. Plus, if they work for a company with a matching gift program, you can reach out to begin the gift match process.
    • Payment preferences. People can make donations with cash, credit, debit, online payment systems, and checks. Tracking how donors give will help you tailor your future asks and the payment options you give your donors.
  • Communication preferences. Similar to payment preferences, knowing how your donors want to receive communications from your organization allows you to target your giving requests more effectively.

Even if you’re not able to collect all of this information in your donation form, that doesn’t mean those data points are lost forever. With just a core set of basic donor data collected in your form, a third-party provider can append additional data to enhance the information in your database.

How do nonprofits collect donation form data? 

While you can certainly collect donation data with hard-copy donation forms—and some donors will prefer that!—integrated online forms and fundraising tools make it vastly more manageable for you to organize, update, and analyze your fundraising data. As a result, your team can spend less time trying to catalog data and more time responding to trends and implementing your insights.

For the most effective data-driven donation forms, your nonprofit should plan to invest in:

  • A payment processor that helps you securely collect billing information, prevent fraud, export data, and avoid hidden fees.
  • A constituent relationship management (CRM) system to ensure your donor data is centralized and accessible for both future outreach and strategic planning.
  • An online fundraising platform, such as one of these solutions recommended by Re:Charity, to easily and automatically track donor data as supporters fill out your online donation form to make their gift.

When choosing solutions to create and process your donation forms, look for those that can be integrated into your existing systems. Always customize your tools and donation forms to fit the unique needs of your organization, collect the most impactful data, and streamline the giving process. 

Once you begin collecting donation form data, you can take the next steps to use this data to optimize your form and your requests for donations. iATS’s guide to accepting donations online recommends: 

  • Removing excessive and redundant fields that can slow down the donation process and lead to form abandonment.
  • Branding your form to align with your organization’s logo, colors, images, tone, and fonts.
  • Adding suggested giving amounts and recurring gift options to encourage donors to increase support for your organization.
  • Optimizing your form to automatically adapt to be accessible across different screen sizes.
  • Automating receipts and thank-you letters to send to donors immediately after the gift is processed.

As you collect more data, continue to refine your donation form to drive more conversions and maximize gifts. Good luck!


About the Author:

This is a guest post from Peggah Azarvash at iATS Payments. Peggah is a passionate iATS Payments’ Sales Executive with 10 years of experience, providing payment solution support and guidance to nonprofits.

Why Your Nonprofit Should Be Collecting and Analyzing Data

As a nonprofit fundraising or marketing professional, you’re always looking for ways to connect more deeply with your donors and create outreach campaigns that resonate with them. Whether it’s your online fundraising pushes or awareness campaigns, you want to develop content that speaks directly to your supporters’ preferences and motivations. 

These outreach efforts all have one thing in common — they’d all be vastly improved with the incorporation of data analytics. 

Never before have nonprofits had greater access to high-quality data, such as charitable giving statistics, as well as the necessary tools to collect and understand the data. This information can help guide your organization’s fundraising and marketing efforts to ensure you’re making the most of every supporter interaction.

In this quick guide, we’ll discuss the three reasons why your nonprofit should be collecting data: 

  1. Data collection is no longer out of reach.
  2. Data helps you connect with your donors.
  3. Data can improve your fundraising. 

We’ll also highlight a few best practices for editing and organizing your data properly to ensure you’re using it to its full potential. Let’s get started. 

1. Data collection is no longer out of reach. 

The first reason your nonprofit should be collecting and assessing data is because the process has never been easier. Software solutions specifically built for nonprofits have made data collection and analysis accessible for organizations of all sizes.

Let’s take a look at a few of these solutions and how they simplify and streamline the data collection process:

  • Nonprofit CRM: Your nonprofit’s CRM is your most important tool for collecting and assessing donor-related data. Plenty of nonprofits turn to comprehensive systems like the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) in place of other solutions to store and assess donor data using a robust database. With your donor database, you can store data regarding donors’ names, contact information, past giving history, event attendance, and more. Then, you can leverage this data in outreach campaigns and donor stewardship efforts to build genuine supporter relationships. 
  • Donation software:With powerful donation software, you can not only accept online payments but also automatically collect information about the individuals submitting those gifts, such as their names, contact information, and even how they heard about you. 
  • Event management software: Your nonprofit probably hosts a variety of events throughout the year, from fundraising 5Ks to galas, auctions, and more. Event management software allows you to easily track metrics such as ticket sales, total fundraising amount, and attendance rate. 

You might think these tools are only available to large, well-funded organizations, but the truth is that nonprofits of all sizes can access them. For instance, the Salesforce NPSP offers free subscriptions for up to 10 users from your organization. 

Also, while you may assume these tools are complicated to set up and use on an ongoing basis, that isn’t the case. The initial set-up for some of these solutions will take some work, but once they’re up and running, they can function nearly automatically and often integrate with your existing software platforms. This can save your team plenty of time and allow you to avoid any manual data entry and assessment tasks.

2. Data helps you connect with your donors.

Getting to know your supporters is probably one of the most pressing tasks you work on daily. When you prioritize building authentic relationships, it becomes much easier to ask for donations later on down the road. 

Using donor data, you can step into supporters’ shoes to understand their perspectives and figure out the best ways to reach them on a personal level. Collecting donor data allows you to: 

  • Personalize messages: You can use tools like your online donation form and CRM to store personal information that lets you get to know your donors better. Then, you can personalize outreach using donors’ names, referencing their previous involvement, and sending them new opportunities based on their past interests. 
  • Segment donors for tailored outreach: Using the donor data stored in your nonprofit CRM, you can group donors based on shared characteristics using a process called segmentation. For example, you might create groups for new donors, volunteers who haven’t yet donated, lapsed donors, and major donors. After you’ve defined these groups, you can send messages to each segment that resonate with their preferences and interests. This makes your outreach feel more relevant and relatable. 
  • Optimize marketing content: All of the marketing platforms you use, from your email marketing system to your social media pages, collect analytics about your audience’s behavior. These metrics allow you to understand which marketing messages supporters interacted with the most and why. You can capitalize on your most engaging strategies and adjust the ones that aren’t working as well to optimize your marketing content. 

Your supporters broadcast their preferences and interests constantly through the ways they interact with your organization. It’s your job to collect these data points and assess them strategically to connect with your audience more deeply. 

Supporters will feel much more inclined to continue connecting with your organization if you’ve made a serious effort to get to know them and appeal to their interests. This can help boost your donor retention rate and develop long-lasting donor relationships. 

3. Data can improve your fundraising. 

You may sometimes feel like your fundraising planning consists of a little bit of strategy and a little bit of luck. With data, you can make your campaigns more strategic by relying on hard facts rather than hunches or best guesses. 

Here are just some of the ways that data can improve your fundraising: 

  • Event analytics can help you determine why attendees decided to register, when they were most engaged throughout your events, and what influenced them to give to your mid-event fundraising pushes. Plus, you can collect data through event tools such as sign-up sheets or post-event surveys which ask supporters to provide feedback on their most and least favorite aspects of the experience. All of these factors allow you to plan a more engaging event next time around. 
  • Donation page data can help you determine your most popular donation amounts and donors’ preferred giving methods. Then, you can use this information to establish your suggested giving amounts and ensure that you have the proper payment processor system. 
  • Donor data can also allow you to craft more tailored fundraising requests. You can pull information from your CRM such as your donors’ names, titles, and past donation amounts to personalize your outreach and request an appropriate donation amount. 
  • Predictive data can help you conduct prospect research — the process of identifying potential major donors. NPOInfo’s guide to fundraising data explains that you can use your CRM to keep an eye on donor trends, such as donation size growth and increased participation in events and other opportunities. These trends might reveal that certain donors are willing and able to become major contributors. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how you can use data to optimize your fundraising campaigns. You can also keep track of overarching fundraising trends using data points such as your fundraising return on investment (ROI), online donation rate, and donor retention rate. All of these data points will give you a bird’s-eye view of the effectiveness of your fundraising strategies and where you should focus your energy. 


Before you can start collecting and leveraging data effectively, ensure your organization has a solid data hygiene strategy. Audit your existing data for irregularities, eliminate or correct errors, and establish standardized data entry procedures for your entire team to follow. 

Once your data is clean and organized, you’ll be able to rely on it for future fundraising and marketing campaigns. This can help boost your ROI since you’ll only be directing outreach to active supporters using their accurate contact information. 

When your organization has a clear plan for collecting and analyzing multiple types of data, you’ll be prepared to take on fundraising challenges with an informed, data-driven strategy. 

 


About the Author

Karin Tracy

Karin Tracy, VP of Marketing at Fíonta, is a seasoned designer and marketer with a passion for serving nonprofit organizations and being a small part of bettering the world. She is a certified Pardot Consultant and Marketing Cloud Email Specialist, a fan of automation and reporting, a lover of animals, and devourer of popcorn.

At Fíonta, Karin drives marketing efforts for all internal and external projects. Her direct service work is focused primarily on marketing strategy and automation for Fíonta’s MCAE (Pardot) clients.

3 association event tools and how to leverage their data

3 Association Event Tools and How to Leverage Their Data

Association events can be some of the most financially taxing one-time investments that your organization makes over the course of a fiscal year. Of course, your event content may remain on-demand through a paywall on your association website. However, the event itself and the bulk of its initial engagement and financial potential are usually concentrated in just a single afternoon or a few days.

This can create a lot of pressure for your team, as you try to not only exceed your initial investment but also thoroughly engage members and provide them with valuable experiences. That’s what makes it so important to ensure that you’re using whatever tools are available to you to boost attendance, maximize engagement, streamline operations, and make the most of your association events.

In particular, we’ve identified three important software solutions that no association event should go without and necessary features to look out for. From interactive event platforms to effective data hygiene practices, make sure that you come prepared with these tools for your next event:

Ready to supercharge your in-person, hybrid, or virtual association events? We’ll begin with the most powerful software solution: event management software.

event management software

Event Management Software

Event management software is a broad set of tools that helps your organization plan, promote, and manage your events. This software has a hand in virtually every step of the event lifecycle, from facilitating multichannel marketing to generating post-event reports, and it’s built to make the event experience better for both the people organizing it and the attendees who register for it.

That being said, some event management systems are more comprehensive than others. If you’re looking for a robust, all-in-one platform to help your team improve the creation and execution of your events, the Fonteva guide to event management software names top providers that you should consider, as well as the features of a strong event management solution. For example, keep an eye out for:

  • The ability to plan and manage all event formats—virtual, hybrid, and in-person
  • Easy-to-use, mobile-optimized registration forms to streamline registration
  • Seamless data integration with your association management software
  • Reports on event and attendee data
  • Management capabilities for vendors, sponsors, speakers, and exhibitors

Additionally, if you want to ensure that your event management software has your specific needs and requirements in mind, then opt for a platform from an association-specific software provider.


An event platform

An Event Platform

As virtual and hybrid events continue to grow in importance, it’s essential for you to invest in an online event space where all attendees can enjoy everything that your association has to offer.

While there are plenty of free conferencing apps floating around with basic streaming and discussion features, a dedicated event platform gives you the power to effectively interact with virtual attendees, encourage greater member engagement, and facilitate networking and community-building.

This Re:charity article on updating your association tech strategy dives deeper into the topic of community-building and networking, explaining how they are the backbone of any association—particularly those made for professionals in the same industries. This makes it critical to invest in tools that support these member-to-member activities, especially during your events.

In particular, seek out an event platform that offers:

  • Live chat and reaction features
  • Virtual community and committee creation features
  • Viewable attendee profiles
  • Chat or video invitation capabilities

These tools aren’t only important for virtual attendees, but they can also help in-person attendees use their mobile devices to connect with others and enjoy a fuller, multi-faceted event experience.
membership data software

Membership Data Software and Resources

Events provide a notable opportunity for associations to better connect with their members. If done correctly, your association can even grow your donor community. However, this is only possible with high-quality membership data management.

Having software to manage your membership will make it easier to continually learn more about your members and greatly enhance your follow-up phase after the event is done. Prompting your members to sign up with detailed and up-to-date contact information is a must. This goes for their guests, as well. Using membership management software is the best way for your association to keep detailed records at your event so that you always know how to contact your members afterward.

Unsure what data you should be targeting? Here are some suggestions for what data you should collect:

  • Preferred name
  • Age
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Physical address
  • Employment status and employer
  • Educational background

You can collect more detailed data as well, but these are simple metrics that you can collect on a sign-up sheet at your event. Use membership management software in order to keep this data organized. It’s incredibly valuable to leverage in future connections with your member community.

If your nonprofit is running into roadblocks in finding content to add to your membership management software, you might want to consider appending your member data. A good indicator of if you’re in need of appends is if you’re constantly sent to voicemail when you call clients or if the mail you send them gets forwarded back to you. Having up-to-date records is critical in preserving your relationships with your members. Appending your data is also important for encouraging a strong turnout to your events. Services such as NPOInfo provide appending services so that you can build strong, long-lasting contact with your members.

Regardless of whether you’re hosting a virtual networking fair or an in-person awards ceremony, all event types and styles can be improved when the right software is powering the planning, management, and hosting processes. While you may be tempted to cut costs and avoid relying on dedicated event software, these systems are available for a reason. And by taking advantage of the software solutions and platforms we’ve highlighted, you can increase member engagementleverage your data, raise the value of your membership program, and reduce stress for your event organizing team.

Explore this guide to learn everything you need to know about phone appends.

Phone Appends: A Nonprofit’s Data Enrichment Guide

Calling your devoted supporters is one of the most effective ways to cultivate relationships with them and rally more support behind your cause. However, outdated or otherwise inaccurate phone numbers in your database can do more harm than good by wasting your staff’s time. While some supporters will regularly update their contact information with your team, many people won’t. That’s where phone appends come into play!

Phone appends are a reliable way to keep your CRM up-to-date. When you turn to a trusted data append provider with a comprehensive database of contact information, they’ll help you find any missing or old phone numbers for your supporters. In short, this is the easiest way to bring your database up to speed, so your marketing and development teams aren’t constantly sent to voicemail when they call the wrong numbers.

At NPOInfo, we strive to provide nonprofits with the data they need to create lasting relationships with those who make their missions possible. We offer data appends, including phone number appending services, so your team can successfully get in touch with its supporters and have meaningful conversations that drive value for your cause.

With this guide, we’ll answer any questions you might have about telephone appends before you start looking at providers. That way, you’ll be equipped to determine whether a phone append is a smart move for your organization and when you should get started cleaning up your database. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Phone appends pose tremendous value for your marketing and development answers. Better data means higher ROI for your marketing efforts and more engaged constituents, so if you’re ready to enrich your data, let’s dive in!

Get a free quote for our phone number appending services.

This section covers what phone appends are.

What is a phone append?

Phone appending is the process of updating or adding missing phone numbers to constituent profiles using existing identifying information.

Phone appending is the process of updating or adding missing phone numbers to constituent profiles within an existing constituent relationship management (CRM) system. It involves taking the existing identifying information you have for individuals and cross-checking it with an external, comprehensive database of contact information.

Phone append software and service providers will match the name, email address, and postal address from the contact list you share with the information in the database. That way, you can be sure you have the most accurate phone number to get into contact with supporters. This process empowers you to stay connected with your current supporters, re-engage lapsed supporters, and drive engagement to generate revenue for your cause.

A phone append will pull a few types of phone numbers.

What types of information will a phone number append reveal?

There are a handful of different types of phones available today, and chances are, your supporters have likely shared numbers for all three kinds with your organization. These include:

  • Cell phones: These probably make up the bulk phone numbers stored in your CRM. Being able to call supporters even when they’re on the go is ideal for contacting them whenever.
  • Landlines: Though less common, landlines are still useful in specific situations. In fact, there are still plenty of people who only use landlines, making it the only way to contact them.
  • Business phones: These numbers might be more useful for corporate sponsors or other socially-responsible businesspeople in your database.

The good news is that phone appending can help you verify existing numbers and fill in the missing pieces for you for all three types of phone numbers. Having all three numbers for each supporter will make it much easier to contact them.

Just consider the goal you want to achieve with the conversation to determine which numbers are appropriate to call on top of the contact preferences they’ve expressed to your organization.

The phone append process is easy to understand.

How do telephone appends work?

Phone appending is incredibly straightforward, so long as you turn to a trusted provider to handle the work for you. You provide the data, and they’ll handle the rest.

Here’s what you can expect the process to look like when you work with a phone number appending service provider:

  1. Share a list of names, addresses, and other identifying information with your services provider.
  2. They’ll use batch processing to search for any missing or outdated information for all of your constituents using their comprehensive, reliable database of contact information.
  3. They’ll remove any inactive or otherwise outdated phone numbers and replace them with the updated details.
  4. In some cases, your phone number appending services provider will manually check the phone numbers for you to verify accuracy.
  5. You’ll receive a list of contact information for everyone in your database.

This graphic outlines the telephone append process.

If you’d like to update and verify other types of contact data (like email addresses or postal addresses), full-service data append providers like NPOInfo can handle that for you all at once!

Bear in mind that no matter which provider you use, results are typically returned fairly quickly, but the more constituents you share, the longer it will naturally take.

To run a phone append on your own, you’ll need access to your own database of phone numbers, which requires you to find software that will do the phone appending for you. However, this isn’t quite as reliable as having someone who can manually check the data returned to you.

That’s why we recommend turning to a trusted phone number appending services provider. They can manually check everything and ensure you’re only given accurate and working phone numbers.

This section describes the concept of reverse phone appending.

What is reverse phone appending?

This is a specific type of phone appending. It’s when you supply only a phone number. Then, the services provider locates the name, postal address, and other supplemental information associated with that phone number.

Note that our team at NPOInfo doesn’t offer this type of appending. However, as an organization, this is likely something you won’t need to worry about since you’ll only want to append data for constituents who are already in your database.

Phone appends offer plenty of benefits for nonprofits.

How will a phone number append impact your organization?

Whether you’re a national advocacy organization or a local charity, phone appending can positively impact your organization in more ways than you might think.

For instance, you can expect these bonuses by successfully appending phone numbers stored in your organization’s CRM:

These are the key benefits you can expect from a phone append.

  • Enhanced fundraising opportunities. Calling constituents plays into a wide array of developmental efforts. Call your major donors every once in a while to strengthen their commitment to the cause. You can even use phone numbers for specific fundraising campaigns. For instance, a phonathon and text fundraising are some of the best ways to request donations from supporters. If you reach out to people who have previously supported your cause, they’re much more likely to give than if you reach out to people who don’t already have a connection with your cause!
  • Open lines of communication. Easily get into contact with your supporters by quickly calling them up. Having their cell phone numbers also opens up the opportunity for text outreach, so you can share the latest updates from your cause with anyone who prefers to hear from your team via SMS. In fact, fundraising research found that text message audiences grew by an incredible 26% last year, while text message volume grew by 14% for nonprofits.
  • More effective advocacy efforts and political campaigns. Phone and text banking make it easy to reach out to supporters who live in areas affected by a particular advocacy movement or political campaign. That way, you can get them to rally behind your policies and vote for positive change.

Enriching your organization’s data is a powerful opportunity so long as you do so ethically and effectively. In any case, know that you should always adhere to their opt-out preferences. If someone opts out of your phone solicitation, make a note of it. Otherwise, if they keep getting texts and phone calls when they’ve indicated they don’t want to, this will negatively impact their relationship with your cause.

These are the data points you'll need to share with your phone number appending services provider.

What information do you need for a phone append?

You’ll need to provide as much identifying information from your CRM as possible. The more information you can provide, the better!

Some of the information we recommend you provide includes:

  • Name
  • Postal address
  • Phone numbers
  • Email addresses
  • College/university
  • Last donation amount
  • Last donation date

Don’t worry about extra data in your file. Your phone number append services provider will know exactly what to look for, and as we mentioned, the more data you can share, the better. This helps your phone number appending services provider more accurately identify your contacts and locate the correct contact information.

The price of phone appending depends on a few factors.

How much does telephone appending cost?

Just like timing, phone appending costs vary depending on the number of constituents you have. It also depends on the phone number append service you use.

While it can be tempting to go with the cheapest option you find, bear in mind that spending a little extra often means you’ll have access to a more comprehensive, reliable, and quality database of phone numbers.

To discuss pricing with our team, reach out for a free quote! We’ll ask you to provide basic information like the types of appends you’re interested in and how many records you’d like to append. From there, you can decide whether a phone append makes sense for your organization’s budget.


Get started with NPOInfo's phone number appending services.

How can you get started with phone appending?

If you’ve decided a phone number append is a smart move, reach out to the data experts here at NPOInfo. Or, if you need more information, we’re happy to chat about how we can help!

At NPOInfo, we understand that nonprofits have different data management needs from other types of organizations like corporations. That’s why we’ve uniquely configured our data append services to cater to the nonprofit sector. We guarantee a quick turnaround and accurate results thanks to our thorough investigation of your constituents’ contact information.

Not to mention, we offer other types of data appends beyond just phone numbers! We’ve got you covered if you need appends for email addresses, employer information, birthdays, or postal addresses.

When you turn to our experts, you’ll receive exactly what you need to strengthen your outreach methods, grow your revenue, and drive meaningful supporter relationships. Here’s what to expect:

Here's how NPOInfo's phone number appending services work.

  1. Select the services you want. Let us know which data you’d like us to find to fill the gaps in your database. Depending on what you need, we’ll search for phone numbers, emails, employers, birthdays, and postal addresses.
  2. Get a quote. Our team will take a look at the types of data you requested along with your anticipated record count. From here, we’ll reach out with a fair and accurate quote.
  3. Send us your records. Securely send your records with the information our team requests.
  4. Wait as we conduct the phone append. Our team will implement a thorough checking and verification process as we append the phone numbers for any constituents you asked us to.
  5. Receive your appends. We’ll send the appended phone numbers along with any other data you requested. We’ll let you know whether we found phone numbers, what those phone numbers are, and how accurate we think we found the right information. Plus, we’ll answer any questions about the reports and even help you import the information into your database if needed.

We make it easy to get started! Simply reach out to indicate your preferences and request a quote. We’ll contact you to discuss your needs further and get the ball rolling with your data enhancement efforts.

Check out these great additional resources to learn about phone appends and other data enrichment practices.

Additional Resources

Your constituents want to hear from you, but reaching out is challenging when you have inaccurate contact information for them! A phone append will clean up your database and ensure you’re calling the right numbers to contact donors, volunteers, sponsors, and any other constituents.

Our team at NPOInfo is happy to help whenever you’re ready to discuss your data enrichment needs! Just reach out to request a quote, and we’ll make sure to get back to you as soon as possible. That way, you can start successfully calling your constituents again rather than dialing the wrong number time and time again!

In the meantime, explore these educational resources if you’re still curious about effective nonprofit data management:

Get a quote for NPOInfo's phone number appending services.

This guide offers three tips to help your nonprofit get started with fundraising data analytics.

3 Steps to Get Started With Fundraising Data Analytics

For the past six years, charitable donations have continued to grow. Within the past year alone, giving increased by 4.1%. However, many nonprofits still lose out on potential revenue despite this growth. How can your organization maximize revenue?

Using fundraising data analytics is a great place to start.

Fundraising analytics provide a way for nonprofits to measure the effectiveness of campaigns. Your nonprofit can develop a list of strengths and weaknesses backed up by concrete data. This makes it easier to adjust fundraising strategies based on past performances.

In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps to getting started with fundraising analytics. After learning about the different types of fundraising analytics, you’ll read about selecting metrics and collecting the right data. Lastly, we’ll discuss how to analyze data.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

Want to know how to use data to improve your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy? Keep reading to learn more.

Contact NPOInfo to get started with fundraising data analytics.


These are the basics for the three types of fundraising data analytics.

What are fundraising data analytics?

Fundraising data analytics is the process of collecting useful fundraising data and analyzing patterns within that data. This gives your nonprofit a basis to build on current fundraising strategies by using metrics that quantify performance.

There are three distinct kinds of fundraising data analytics— descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive. Each of these plays an important role in the overall fundraising data analytics process.

Next, we’ll delve into what makes these types of fundraising analytics unique.

These are the three kinds of fundraising data analytics — descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive.

Descriptive Fundraising Analytics

Descriptive fundraising analytics provides information that describes your donors’ behavior. These metrics create classifications for donors based on their past interactions with your organization.

This information provides key insights into donors’ giving habits and behaviors. Common information found in this category includes metrics like donation amount, donation method, and demographic information.

Predictive Fundraising Analytics

Predictive fundraising analytics build off of the foundational data provided by descriptive fundraising analytics, identifying patterns and trends. These patterns in donor behavior are used to predict donors’ future behaviors.

There are a few things to look for when performing a predictive analysis. The point of predictive fundraising analytics is to reveal patterns in your data, so you should keep an eye out for pattern indicators. We’ll talk about this more later, but common pattern indicators include donation growth and fundraising return on investment.

Prescriptive Fundraising Analytics

Prescriptive fundraising analytics combines the information gathered from descriptive and predictive analytics. Here, donor classifications and predictions about their future behavior inform a nonprofit’s future fundraising strategy.

Prescriptive fundraising analytics provides concrete measurements about past and future fundraising campaigns. The insights gathered inform a nonprofit of its unique needs and how to address them. Nonprofits also walk away with a better understanding of key donor information like giving capacity, which can help maximize fundraising efforts.

A great example of prescriptive fundraising analytics is prospect research. This research focuses on finding prospective major donors based on their giving capacity and affinity.

Giving capacity refers to a prospect’s financial ability to make a major gift— something that can be ascertained using descriptive fundraising analytics. Giving affinity refers to the likelihood that a prospect will want to make a major gift, often ascertained by examining their past giving behaviors— a predictive analytics practice. The combination of the two, prospect research, is the ideal example of prescriptive fundraising analytics.


These are the three steps to using fundraising data analytics.
Getting Started with Fundraising Data Analytics in 3 Steps

The most important steps for getting started with fundraising analytics are choosing your metrics, gathering the right data, and analyzing that data. We outline how to accomplish each step and some best practices to keep in mind.


Learn how to select metrics when analyzing fundraising data.

1. Selecting Fundraising Metrics

Metrics are the foundation for all the insights you gather, so understanding them is key. We’ll cover what fundraising metrics are, list some common examples, and explain how to choose the right ones.

What are fundraising metrics?

Fundraising metrics, sometimes called key performance indicators (KPIs), are data points that are used to measure the strength of fundraising performance. If your nonprofit uses the Google Ad Grant program, you may be familiar with performance indicating metrics such as click-through rate and conversion rate.

Metrics can highlight growth from one campaign to the next. On the other hand, they can also point out weaknesses or stagnation.

8 Common Fundraising Metrics

There are many different metrics to consider, and choosing them depends on your organization’s goals. This list is far from exhaustive, but it gives you a starting point with fundraising metrics.

Here are eight common fundraising metrics:

  • Donation volume: This metric references the number of donations your nonprofit received within a designated time frame.
  • Average gift size: Average gift size reflects how much a gift is on average. You can measure the average gift size from individual donors or the overall average within a given time period. Both of these variations will provide useful insights.
  • Gift recency: This metric refers to how recently an individual donor made a donation.
  • Gift frequency: Similar to gift recency, gift frequency indicates how often a donor donates.
  • Demographics: Demographics are characteristics or traits of your donors. These can include age, gender, and location.
  • Wealth markers: These factors are similar to demographics. However, they are indicators of a donor’s financial ability to make a gift. This includes things like real estate ownership, job title, and stock ownership.
  • Affinity Markers: These reference how willing the donor is to make donations. This includes factors such as past donations, volunteer history, and more.
  • Return on investment (ROI): ROI represents the total revenue your organization gains from promotional activity over the total cost. A promotion could be something like a fundraising campaign or event. ROI is a great metric for determining efficiency.

Metrics like these can help you evaluate your fundraising strategy from an objective perspective. By using these concrete performance measures, your campaigns should improve as you identify strengths and weaknesses.

How to Choose the Right Metrics

Knowing which metrics to track is half the battle when it comes to fundraising analytics. The most important thing to remember are your goals as a nonprofit.

With this in mind, here are a few helpful tips for choosing the right metrics:

  • Set goals that are tied to metrics. When you are creating goals for a fundraising strategy, select goals that are connected to specific metrics. For example, make it a goal to increase donations and use a metric like average gift size to measure your success.
  • Use metrics that will benefit future fundraising efforts. While you should have goals specific to each campaign, it is also a good idea to identify overarching goals for your nonprofit. Note consistent weaknesses for your organization and choose metrics that measure those areas. That way, you can track strong and weak performances across different campaigns.

With so many metrics to choose from, narrowing them down can be overwhelming. These tips will prepare you for data analysis and ensure your insights are useful.

This explains how to collect donor data.

2. Collecting the Right Data

After you choose metrics for your fundraising strategy, you’ll need to collect the data to analyze.

How do you collect data?

Fundraising data analytics relies on gathering fundraising metrics. This data can include information about your donors and information about your campaigns themselves.

Data collection happens at every touchpoint your nonprofit has with a donor. For example, when a donor makes a donation, your nonprofit gains access to several data points. Things like gift size, frequency, recency, and donation method can all be derived from one touchpoint.

The data your nonprofit collects is both automatically collected by software and added manually by staff members. Online interactions are easy to add automatically, but some donor touchpoints require manual input. Logging interactions and contact information at an event, for example, will need to be added by hand.

Supplementing Your Data

While there are many metrics your nonprofit can capture on its own, there are often gaps in what you can collect. Data append services like NPOInfo are a great investment for filling in those gaps. NPOInfo is tailored to helping nonprofits and offers a wide variety of quality services.

For example, NPOInfo offers the following services:

  • Employer appends: With an employer append, NPOInfo provides your nonprofit with information about your donors’ employers. The key data points like employer name, job title, and matching gift information clue your nonprofit in to more fundraising opportunities. This data can be difficult to append on your own, and the insights gained can directly increase fundraising revenue.
  • Email appends: Emails are one of the most important donor touchpoints to maintain. However, if you are missing donor emails, it can be hard to know where to start. NPOInfo offers highly accurate email appends to foster meaningful communication to donors.
  • Date of birth appends: Demographic information like age can help your nonprofit understand your donor base. But, gathering birth dates on your own can be difficult and time consuming. Consider NPOInfo as a simple, hassle-free option.

NPOInfo helps nonprofits append the data they need to create the best possible fundraising strategy. Contact us here to learn more about our data append services!

Data Collection Best Practices

Use this checklist to optimize data collection.
Here are some best practices when collecting data:

  • Only collect data relevant to the fundraising metrics you identified in the previous section. Collecting useless data limits the efficiency of your data. For example, if your goal is to increase gift frequency, collecting data related to your ROI will not be helpful. Carefully select data points so you only have to work with the data you need.
  • Optimize your constituent relationship management (CRM) platform. This is where your fundraising data will live, and it should include a full picture of all of your organizational data. If your CRM is disorganized or unable to integrate with your other software solutions, it’s worthwhile to look into upgrading your solution.
  • Link CRM software and fundraising software. Connecting the two can reduce manually inputting information. New information is exchanged automatically between the softwares when they are connected, reducing the amount of work you have to do.
  • Configure data before it enters your database. Before loading any data, set up any tags you would like to track. This could include things like donor name, gift data, and donation source. Setting up tags helps you stay organized, especially when dealing with a lot of data.

These strategies should help you collect accurate, useful data. Keep them in mind as you collect these pieces of information so that your database remains organized.

This explains how to analyze data.

3. Analyzing Data

Now that you’ve selected the metrics you want to analyze and collected the corresponding fundraising data, you can get started analyzing the data.

Identify trends in your data.

Use predictive fundraising analytics to identify trends in your fundraising metrics. Your nonprofit can use these trends to create possible predictions for future campaign behavior.

For example, you might look for trends such as:

  • Growth in donation size: If the amount of individual donations is increasing across your campaigns, consider what caused the change. Pinpoint the reason for the change, like a new donation appeal strategy, and note the impact it had. This will allow your nonprofit to replicate the positive results in the future and see more increases in donation size.
  • Participation: Participation from supporters, which you can measure through things like event attendance, marks how invested donors are in your nonprofit. Note the impact any changes have on participation and plan to replicate any successes. If marketing events on Instagram doubles attendance, market all future events this way.
  • Fundraising ROI: Return on investment is an important measure of efficiency. This will tell you how much you spent on a fundraising campaign versus how much you made. As you experiment with different fundraising strategies, observe how ROI changes. Retire strategies that impact ROI negatively and continue using those that increase it.
  • Online donations: More specifically, this metric tracks what percentage of your total donations come from online sources. Marketing to a younger audience, for example, could bring in more online donations. Note this success and continue to market to them while planning for how to increase these donations even more.

By identifying trends in your nonprofit’s overall fundraising, you can predict outcomes for future campaigns. Your future campaigns will reflect your hard work through increased revenue, participating, and ROI.

Form a strategy.

The final step in analyzing your data is forming a strategy. Your strategy should be based on the information gleaned from organizing donors and identifying donor relationships. Creating an effective strategy that will yield strong fundraising performance results is the ultimate goal in fundraising data analytics.

This part of the strategy is based on prescriptive fundraising analytics. Your strategy should be based on prospect research which we discuss further here. As a refresher, here are some pieces of information you can find in this step:

  • Finding matching gift opportunities.
  • Finding major gift donors.
  • Identifying planned gift donors.

Strategy is the culmination of everything we’ve covered. A strategy based on concrete insights and carefully analyzed data could be the push that your fundraising campaigns need.

Fundraising data analytics can give your nonprofit a boost when it comes to how effective your fundraising strategy is. You can maximize fundraising revenue by gaining a deeper understanding of your nonprofit’s strengths and weaknesses through fundraising metrics. These steps are not always simple to navigate, but we’re confident that you can give your organization’s strategy a refresh using fundraising data analytics.

Gathering data can be the trickiest part of fundraising data analytics, and doing it on your own is a huge undertaking. Luckily, services like NPOInfo are great for lifting the burden of appending data off nonprofits’ shoulders. Contact NPOInfo today for a quote!

In the meantime, check out the following additional resources:

To learn more about data-driven fundraising, contact our professionals at NPOInfo.

Follow this guide to learn how alumni management software can drive success.

Alumni Management: Overview & Our Top 10 Software Picks

Finding effective ways to reach alumni is an important task for educational institutions. Alumni management allows colleges and universities to reach alumni and encourage donations to the institution.

It’s likely that your organization already tracks data on its alumni. But with the right software, you can collect and organize that information more effectively. Alumni management software helps administrators maintain alumni contact information, plan fundraising initiatives, process and track donations, and organize alumni events.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the basics of alumni management and alumni management software through the following points:

We’ll also discuss the benefits of working with a data append service like NPOInfo. Our team of experts can fill in the gaps of your alumni data to ensure that your fundraising initiatives are built on data you can trust. Let’s get started!

Want to put your alumni data to good use? Contact us for a quote!

Let's explore an overview of alumni management, including what it is and why it is important.

Overview of Alumni Management

What is alumni management?

Alumni management is the process that universities and colleges use to connect and engage with alumni. Alumni management is the process that universities and colleges use to connect and engage with alumni. Building meaningful relationships with alumni can drive success for your higher education program. Although most alumni move away from campus to pursue careers, they’re still accessible and eager to engage with their previous educational institutions.

 

When managed properly, alumni can become:

  • Brand ambassadors for your school.
  • Recruiters for upcoming graduates.
  • A significant source of revenue through donations and memberships.
  • A source of expertise and mentorship for current students.

Schools used to rely solely on snail mail to reach past students, making it difficult to maintain engagement. However, keeping alumni involved is quick and easy in the digital age. With the right software, you can manage alumni in a single secure platform. You can:

  1. Keep an updated database. Collect data on your alumni to determine demographics, communication preferences, engagement level, event attendance, and more.
  2. Plan reunion events. Alumni respond positively to events that reflect school spirit. Leverage nostalgia to attract more attendees.
  3. Share campus news. Share university updates, alumni spotlights, and upcoming events through a blog or newsletter. This will keep alumni invested in your school’s progress.
  4. Provide networking opportunities. Include ways to find information about classmates or other alum to build a professional network.
  5. Start a mentorship program. An alumni mentor can provide career guidance and professional contacts to students. Keep in mind that younger alumni are more likely to mentor students due to a smaller age difference.

By continually creating value for alumni, you encourage them to donate and participate in school-wide events. We’ll dive into the more benefits of alumni management in the next section.

Why is alumni management important?

Higher education programs have a critical task: making an impression on alumni. Alumni management ensures that you never lose access to alumni and can continue to engage with them long after graduation. With strong alumni management, your organization can:

  • Share alumni data. Publish up-to-date statistics on alumni, including the companies they work for and the positions they hold.  This is a powerful way to improve credibility and recruit potential students.
  • Build lifelong relationships. Loyalty is vital in this quickly changing, digitally connected world. With consistent targeted engagement tactics, you can convert one-time supporters into lifelong relationships.
  • Drive event attendance. Alumni events are wonderful professional and personal development opportunities for former students. They can also offer real benefits to the organizing institution. From receptions and galas, to reunions and career networking events, there are a multitude of ways to bring alumni together and boost engagement.
  • Increase funds. When alumni are encouraged to donate, that money goes towards supporting the next generation of students. Use crowdfunding and matching gift programs to kickstart alumni donations.

The main reason that universities prioritize alumni management is because they want to increase alumni giving. According to the top 10 US News, alumni giving rates for colleges range from about 44% to 55%. Since graduates are likely to give back, schools want to find:

  • Alumni who make a significant amount of money and therefore can make large gifts.
  • Alumni who work for companies that offer matching gift programs, so they can receive two donations for the effort of one.

If your college or university is looking to boost its revenue, consider using an alumni management system.


We'll define an alumni management system and explore how your school will benefit.

What is an alumni management system?

An alumni management system is a software solution that allows you to manage all alumni data and activities in a single space.An alumni management system is a software solution that allows you to manage all alumni data and activities in a single space. Most software offer a wide range of features created specifically for schools, universities, alumni associations, and foundations.

Universities benefit from having all their information under one umbrella. Storing data across many systems can lead to information falling through the cracks. Management software, on the other hand, streamlines the process of gathering, storing, and updating data on alumni. It provides a comprehensive view of all alumni engagement efforts and gives new and improved insights into how to increase giving.

Alumni management software eliminates most of the administrative work involved in collecting and organizing data. Rather than spending hours importing alumni data into a spreadsheet, look for a software that allows you to automatically collect and customize information. We’ll take a look at the types of alumni data that you should collect in the next section.

What alumni data should you collect?

Schools should assess what data they want to collect and filter out unnecessary information that will clutter up their database. For example, the on-campus activities that a past student took while enrolled may not provide as much value as an alum’s current job. In general, alumni systems collect:

These are the top 5 pieces of data to collect on alumni.

  • Education: Areas of study will reveal the causes that your donors are most likely to support.
  • Past Giving: Assess how recent a donor’s last gift was, how frequently they give, and how much they typically contribute. This information can help you predict the timing and amount of future donations you will receive.
  • Contact Information: To create an alumni community, you must be able to reach former students. Use address, phone number, and email address appends to maintain updated contact information on your alumni.
  • Communication Preferences: Understanding communication preferences allows you to effectively reach target audiences. Direct mail is the best way to reach donors of all ages, while younger supporters are more likely to respond to virtual outreach efforts.
  • Current Employer and Industry: An individual’s business affiliations can give you an idea of their net worth and potential connections. Plus, if they work for a company with a matching gift program, you can reach out to begin the gift match process.

Although alumni management systems can collect a wide variety of data, sometimes that information isn’t enough. Data appends can fill in the gaps in your database by providing additional information on alumni. NPOInfo’s data appends for alumni have a high degree of accuracy and can reveal what your donor base is doing after graduation.

NPOInfo is one of many systems paving the way in alumni management. We’ll explore more examples in the next section.

The following software and service providers can help you manage alumni data and maintain alumni relations.

Best Alumni Management Software

It’s important to take careful time and consideration when choosing a management platform that fits the needs of your institution. As you search for the right software for your school, consider our list of top alumni management platforms.

The following software and service providers can help you manage alumni data and maintain alumni relations. To qualify for inclusion in the list, a system must:

  • Maintain alumni data. 
  • Facilitate fundraising efforts and donation processing.  
  • Provide a means for communication with alumni. 

Let’s get started with our favorite alumni management software!

NPOInfo

NPOInfo can collect the most accurate information about the lives of your students after graduation. NPOInfo understands that the core of your donor base is alumni. Our team of professionals strives to collect the most accurate information about the lives of your students after graduation. Data appends for alumni often have the highest accuracy of all constituent groups. That’s because there are a few key data points that your organization is almost certainly able to provide upfront. And the more data points, the better matches we can guarantee!

NPOInfo offers email, phone number, address, and employer appends. Simply send us some preliminary information about your alumni, and we’ll provide the name of your alum’s employer and whether their company offers a matching gift program. Let NPOInfo empower your organization to claim the matching gift revenue your donors are missing out on!

Want to put your alumni data to good use? Contact us for a quote!

Double the Donation

Double the Donation helps organizations generate the funding needed to focus on their core missions of education. Double the Donation helps organizations generate the funding needed to focus on their core missions of education, community enrichment, scientific research, or charitable giving. Double the Donation provides the ability to add a search to your donation form to determine if a donor’s employer provides matching gifts.

This solution then provides the donor with actionable matching gift next steps immediately after the donation process. The details of the search, including any applicable gift information, is sent to Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro Platform which allows you to track match-eligible gifts and automate outreach.

Member365

Member365 is an all-in-one membership management system. Member365 is an all-in-one membership management system. On the Member365 app, you can oversee memberships, events, email marketing, payments, and more. You can also get access to all of your membership statistics through one centralized dashboard.

Easily manage all of your contacts in one database so that you have instant access to all of your relationships, including members, prospects, volunteers, and sponsors. Member365 saves you time and money, so your organization can focus on what matters most: membership engagement.

Graduway

Graduway is a 4-in-1 virtual community to recruit and mentor students, engage alumni and volunteers, and cultivate donors.Graduway is a 4-in-1 virtual community to recruit and mentor students, engage alumni and volunteers, and cultivate donors. As the world’s leading education management and engagement software provider, Graduway serves over 2,000 clients in 80 countries. Their mission is to cultivate a network of supporters for your organization.

The foundation of this network is built on engaging students, parents, alumni, volunteers and donors before asking for anything in return. It features a customized platform to engage with alumni through an online directory, event management, and data analytics. Graduway also offers automatically curated newsletters and a business directory where alumni can connect with one another.

Vaave

Vaave is a hosted platform to create an alumni portal and an exclusive alumni network for your school or college or company. .Vaave is a hosted platform to create an alumni portal and an exclusive alumni network for your school or college or company. Their system offers all the solutions that alumni managers need: data security, member database, email marketing, event management, donation processing, targeted communications, and alumni networking resources.

Vaave is a one-stop solution to launch your own interactive alumni portal to manage your alumni relations seamlessly while keeping your alumni engaged. Request a free demo and go live in as fast as 7 days.

Wild Apricot

WildApricot is the #1 rated management software used by over 300 alumni organizations across North America. WildApricot is the #1 rated management software used by over 300 alumni organizations across North America. Manage your organization in one place. WildApricot’s platform allows you to manage contacts, process donations, send emails, register event attendees, create a website, and more.

Their powerful cloud software makes it easy for you to stay engaged and connected with alumni. Cut out complicated paperwork by creating a  web-based, mobile-friendly  form  where alumni can provide their information and donate online. You can try a free, 30-day trial of WildApricot and set up  a professional-looking website with online event registration in a matter of minutes.

Hivebrite

Hivebrite creates an exclusive space for your alumni to find, connect, and network with each other. Their mission is to unleash your alumni community. Hivebrite creates an exclusive space for your alumni to find, connect, and network with each other. Their mission is to unleash your alumni community. Boost your alumni data, foster a sense of belonging, and facilitate fundraising with Hivebrite.

This is a great platform for providing value to your alumni data. Get real-time analytics about your alumni to increase engagement and satisfaction with your alumni. When your alumni are satisfied, your sources of funding through membership renewals, fundraising campaigns, and donations will increase.

Firsthand

With Firsthand, you can turn your alumni network into a community.With Firsthand, you can turn your alumni network into a community. Trusted by leading institutions like Harvard and Cambridge, this career-engagement platform provides mentoring, enrollment, and career engagement programs in a single space. Firsthand strives to engage with more alumni and inspire them to give back.

Alumni on Firsthand are 40% more likely to volunteer or donate. This cloud-based alumni networking platform uses mentoring programs and virtual events to reach potential donors. Administrators can create online campus communities to enlist students as ambassadors or alumni as mentors and host group discussions, open houses, and one-on-one meetings on a centralized dashboard.

Almabase

Almabase is one of the highest rated alumni management software options.Almabase is one of the highest rated alumni management software options. Their team believes that alumni should be at the center of a school’s fundraising and marketing efforts. Almabase is an alumni-centric platform that strives to build lifelong relationships.

With Almabase, institutions can acquire new donors, drive event attendance, increase digital engagement and inspire new volunteers. They provide schools with the right technology and strategy to drive success.

Raklet

Raklet is a powerful nonprofit management software that serves as an all-in-one solution for higher education fundraising. Raklet is a powerful nonprofit management software that serves as an all-in-one solution for higher education fundraising. This digital platform can power your organization through its robust CRM, fundraising campaigns, email automation, and event management. With its simple and effective technology, your nonprofit can easily drive engagement and grow your impact.

Raklet is an all-in-one platform that provides everything your organization needs to manage and grow your mission. It provides alumni associations with customized membership plans and application forms as well as private social networks to reach alumni and organize events.

 

Keep these tools in mind when choosing a management platform to fit the needs of your organization and alumni.

Whether you manage your alumni in-house or outsource it to an alumni management system, like NPOInfo, your return on investment will be positive.

Wrapping Up

Whether you manage your alumni in-house or outsource it to an alumni management system, like NPOInfo, your return on investment will be positive.

NPOInfo is a fully certified data append service here to fill in the gaps in your alumni data. Our team of experts offers free quotes and resources to help your organization plan a successful campaign strategy.

Our services include:

  • Employer Appends: Using our proprietary screening and identification methods we append employer information, and oftentimes a job role, to individual records.
  • Email Appends: Email is the most cost-efficient method to promote matching gifts to a large number of donors. In order to do so, we’ll find your alumni email addresses.
  • Phone Number Appends: Our phone number append service provides you with both cellphone and landline numbers. Use this information for both your regular donation solicitations as well as matching gift reminders.
  • Date of Birth Appends: Our Date of Birth (DoB) append service helps you add age information to your database. With average match rates of 40-70%, our date of birth appending can provide you with the month and year that individuals were born.
  • Address Appends: Our screenings ensure your organization has up-to-date mailing addresses.

In the meantime, explore these additional resources to continue your research on data appends and alumni management:

Interested in alumni management? Let NPOInfo help you make the most of your alumni data.

Follow this guide to learn how data collection can benefit your organization

What Data Should Nonprofits Collect? Overview & Top Tips

Far too many nonprofit organizations collect data without using analytics to drive success. In an increasingly data-driven world, it’s important to evaluate your nonprofit’s facts and figures. This process of data collection will allow your nonprofit to transform data into actionable knowledge.

Data collection is essential in measuring your nonprofit’s hard work. It reveals valuable insights such as how many people you serve, how best to target your supporters, and which campaigns are the most successful.

At NPOInfo, we strive to improve your fundraising efficiency using data. We’ve written this guide to give you insight into everything you need to know about data collection, including the importance of data analytics and the types of data your organization should be tracking.

We’ll cover the following points:

When collected and managed properly, data can be an asset to your organization. Let’s dive into the benefits of data collection.

Contact the professionals at NPOInfo to get started with data append services

Data collection can help your nonprofit track trends and make informed decisions

Why Is Data Collection Important For Nonprofits?

According to a study by NonprofitHub, 90% of nonprofits collect data. Nonprofits can better serve their communities with a comprehensive data collection plan, as data allows nonprofits to track trends, make informed decisions, strategize for future fundraising efforts, and more.

Most nonprofits already hold valuable information about their donors, campaigns, and marketing efforts in their constituent relationship management (CRM) systems. However, nearly half of nonprofit organizations are unsure how data can support their work.

Effective data collection can help your nonprofit:

Data collection can help your nonprofit build relationships, improve communication, and more

  • Update your donor database. Collecting relevant donor data allows you to regularly update your donor database and, in turn, make informed decisions about your donor retention efforts.
  • Build relationships. Nonprofits need to build strong relationships with their supporters to survive. With the right data, your nonprofit can personalize interactions with donors, increase engagement, and solicit donations successfully.
  • Improve communication. Data empowers your nonprofit to quantify and communicate your impact to the community. This both builds your nonprofit’s credibility as a trustworthy organization to which to donate.
  • Inform decision making. Make adaptive decisions based on the data that you receive. Data can answer key questions, support or refute assumptions, and assess the efficacy of campaigns.
  • Drive marketing and fundraising efforts. Data-driven nonprofits are more likely to be financially successful. Use metrics to focus your nonprofit’s development efforts and boost donations.

From driving donations to informing decisions, data collection can be an asset to your organization. However, you don’t want to collect every data point available to your nonprofit— that would quickly grow overwhelming.

Collect these 6 types of data to quantify your impact and inspire growth

6 Types of Data That Your Nonprofit Should Be Tracking

Now that you understand the importance of data collection, it’s time to review the types of data that your organization should capture and analyze. As a general rule of thumb, prioritize growth by tracking data that will lead to more funding, quantify your impact, and help target areas for improvement.

Your nonprofit should collect information on donors, campaigns, marketing efforts, finances, website traffic, and mission

To ensure data is relevant, collect information on your donors, campaigns, marketing efforts, finances, website traffic, and mission. From mailing preferences to campaign performance metrics, these details will help your nonprofit shape engagement and retention efforts. There are countless data points that you could collect, but the following list will serve as a strong foundation for your nonprofit’s data collection process.

Donor Data

It can be difficult to strengthen donor relations without collecting or understanding your donor data.

Donor metrics reveal who your supporters are and how best to reach them. Donor data is crucial in catering to your specific audience. The data that you collect can strengthen your fundraising efforts and increase donor engagement.

To better understand your donors, start by tracking the following basic personal information:

  • Name: Address donors by their preferred name and title in your solicitations to improve your chances of receiving a response.
  • Age: Direct mail is the best way to reach donors of all ages, while younger supporters are more likely to respond to marketing outreach efforts on social media.
  • Email Address, Phone Number, and Physical Address: Updated contact information allows for regular donation solicitations and matching gift reminders.
  • Employment Status and Employer: An individual’s business affiliations can give you an idea of their net worth and potential connections. Plus, if they work for a company with a matching gift program, you can reach out to begin the gift match process.
  • Educational Background: Student involvement and areas of study will reveal the causes that your donors are most likely to support.

If any of this information is missing, your organization can invest in a nonprofit data append service which will be discussed later in the guide. Once you have an idea of who your donors are, you’ll want to dig deeper to determine their motivations and propensity for giving. Consider collecting this advanced information:

  • Giving History (Recurring, One-Time, Major Gift): Assess how recent a donor’s last gift was, the frequency of their giving, and the typical amount of their monetary contributions. This information can help you predict the timing and amount of future donations you will receive.
  • Hobbies and Interests: Apply this information to your fundraising efforts. For example, if the majority of your donors are avid readers, host a volunteering event at the library.
  • Advocacy Participation: Target potential donors that have a history of donating, volunteering, attending events, or advocating for charitable organizations more generally. Consider the organizations that your prospective donors support and focus on those whose interests align with your mission.
  • Business Connections: These connections can help you leverage major gifts since donors are more likely to respond to appeals from acquaintances.

Before gathering these facts and figures, clean your donor database by removing duplicate profiles and requesting updated contact information. That way, you can more accurately identify and communicate with donors, rather than simply adding more information to a cluttered database.

Campaign Data

Chances are your nonprofit works diligently to plan and execute campaigns. Don’t let that time and energy go to waste by neglecting campaign data. This vital information can help your organization raise donations, engagement, and event attendance in future campaigns.

The following forms of campaign data will help you understand the effectiveness of your past efforts:

  • Event Attendance: Events generate a lot of data. Keep track of how many people attend your virtual or in-person events as well as how many registered in advance and opened your post-event thank you emails.
  • Supporter Satisfaction: Gathering feedback should be a top priority for your team. Information received through surveys can help supporters feel included and staff improve their efforts.
  • Donor Acquisition Cost (DAC): DAC is the financial price you pay to convince a potential donor to make a gift. To determine this cost, sum the price of appeals and marketing efforts over a given period, and divide it by the number of donors you acquired in that time.
  • Revenue: Track appeals, fundraising proceeds, matching gifts, corporate sponsorships, and online gift frequency. With this information, you can make informed decisions about your budget and strategy.
  • Campaign Conversions: Measure how many people your campaign converts into first-time donors, volunteers, newsletter subscribers, or website visitors. Use these numbers to run tests on campaign efficiency and set objectives for the future.
  • Donor and Volunteer Retention Rates: Donor retention rates reveal the successes and setbacks of your engagement efforts. Review this information with your team to discuss strategies for retaining donors and volunteers.

Campaign data is crucial in measuring the success of your fundraising and outreach efforts. Use these stats to identify trends across campaigns, manage your budget, and raise awareness for your mission going forward.

Marketing Data

Not only does marketing data clarify how best to reach your audiences, but it also assists in amplifying your mission and soliciting donations.

Nonprofit marketing encourages long-term relationships with donors and solidifies credibility. When marketing your mission, data analysis can be used to determine the appropriate marketing channels and engagement strategies for your nonprofit.

Let’s review the forms of marketing data that can be used to communicate your impact:

  • Website Traffic: Determine how many people visit your website, how they get there, and how long they stay. This information will help you to optimize your site to receive the most traffic.
  • Subscriptions: Donor retention rates increase drastically when supporters subscribe to newsletters, emails, and recurring donations. To encourage subscriptions, offer clear incentives and add pop-up forms to your website to advertise the opportunity.
  • Social Media Engagement: Social media engagement can be measured through likes, shares, comments, and link clicks. Create content that encourages the most valuable engagement.
  • Email Open Rates: According to MailChimp, the average open rate for nonprofit emails is 25%, meaning three quarters of your audience won’t open your emails. To increase your chances of reaching donors, write compelling subject lines, keep the frequency of your emails consistent, ensure subject matter is relevant, and send emails at an appropriate time.

To gather this information, conduct an audit on past marketing efforts using the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis, a strategic planning technique that identifies the effectiveness of your nonprofit. To learn more about incorporating data into your marketing, check out this comprehensive guide to creating a nonprofit marketing plan.

Financial Data

Like for-profit corporations, nonprofit organizations rely on data to boost revenue and cover operating expenses. Financial data allows nonprofits to assess cash flow, maintain financial stability, and strategize budgets for future fundraising efforts. Consider the following types of data associated with accounting and budgeting:

  • Expenses: From staff salaries to campaign and fundraising costs, nonprofits can easily rack up expenses. While you might be tempted to keep expenses low, it’s important to invest in your organization. In turn, you’ll see higher rates of engagement and donations.
  • Income: Nonprofits can receive revenue through donations, membership fees, selling products, and more. Examine past expenses and revenue to project growth targets.
  • Cash-on-hand: Cash-on-hand, or the total amount of money accessible at any given time from paper bills, bank accounts, and assets, will show how long your nonprofit can survive without donations or funding. Track cash flows to determine whether or not your nonprofit has enough revenue to cover expenses.
  • Volunteer Hours: Volunteer hours reveal the labor, time, and resources needed to accomplish your goals. Log these hours to secure grants and raise awareness for your organization.

Through collecting this type of data, your nonprofit can increase return on investments and improve the quality of programs.

Website Data

Most nonprofits have a dedicated website with blog content, donation buttons, contact forms, testimonials, and more. Data analytics can be used to show which content is the most popular, determine content strategies, and create a better user experience. In order to increase traffic and prompt visitors to take action, it’s important to measure how the site performs.

If you haven’t already, start tracking these three important pieces of information:

  • Traffic Sources: Potential donors can land on your site through an organic search, a referral from another site, or a redirection from social media. Once you understand how most users get to your website, you can optimize the most-trafficked referral sources to increase site visitors over time.
  • Bounce Rate: This refers to the percentage of visitors who visit your site and leave, rather than continuing to view other pages or take action on your site. If your bounce rate is high, prioritize updating your web pages to provide a better user experience.
  • Click-through Rate (CTR): CTR is the percentage of users who click on a specific link to view a blog post, email, or advertisement. If you have a low CTR, revamp your calls-to-action and tailor messages to specific supporters.

Website data can help you convert visitors into donors. Using that data to optimize your website will boost your online presence and raise awareness for your mission.

External Data

While collecting data from your own organization is important, harnessing information from third parties helps to promote growth and productivity. External data comes from sources outside of your organization and offers information related to your organization’s mission.

External data allows nonprofits to stay updated on field-related information. Your organization can access these facts and figures through public records or private data shared by other organizations. Examples of external data include water quality, homeless populations, and census information.

Whether a national average, industry standard, or third-party idea, external data can be used to shape decision-making and communicate your impact to the public. For example, let’s say a homeless shelter serves a community in which 56% of individuals suffer from food insecurity. That statistic becomes more powerful when compared to the national average of food insecurity, which is only 10%.

From donor data to external data, your nonprofit has plenty of information to collect, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we’ve created a list of best practices to help you achieve the maximum value from data collection.

Follow these top tips to get the most out of your nonprofit's data collection

Nonprofit Data Collection: Top Tips

Data collection is necessary for every organization, regardless of the size of your nonprofit. There are plenty of ways to gather information, from giving histories and surveys to management software and audits. Now that you understand the importance of strong data and the different types, it’s time to devise a data collection strategy.

These top tips will help you devise a data collection strategy for your nonprofit

In the next sections, we’ll introduce you to the best practices for data collection. Through these tips, you will learn how to audit data, organize your information, and identify areas where you can improve. Let’s get started!

Perform a data audit.

A data audit is a critical review of your organization’s data collection process. examine the quality of your nonprofit’s current data and data collection process.

Performing an audit can help you discover areas for improvement in your database and collect data more effectively going forward. Here are the four basic steps of performing a data audit:

  1. Gather: Collect quantitative and quantitative data from surveys, reports, interviews, emails, and donor profiles.
  2. Reflect: Consider the purposes for each dataset and how it can be used to better your organization.
  3. Assess: Evaluate your findings to determine if you’re collecting the right data to learn about and build relationships with supporters.
  4. Identify: Locate areas for improvement and work with your team to devise a data-driven strategy.

During a data audit, you might notice that your data is unorganized. That’s where the next step comes into play. You’ll need to optimize your information to more easily understand it.

Keep your data clean.

Prioritizing data hygiene will help your organization to remove inaccurate and unnecessary information and standardize the data collection process. Your nonprofit should focus only on harnessing high-quality information that will help you raise donations and awareness towards your mission.

Holding onto excessive or incorrect data is a detriment to your organization, as it overshadows valuable information. Don’t waste time and money sending marketing material to people who won’t answer your calls-to-action. In order to rid your data of useless information, you should remove:

  • Deceased donors.
  • Duplicate profiles.
  • Outdated contact information.
  • People on do not call or do not mail lists.

When you eliminate this extraneous information, you’re left with a clean database containing information about attainable donors. You should also work to standardize your data, ensuring numbers, abbreviations, and mailing addresses have the same format (i.e. St. verus street).

Store data in a database.

Now that you’ve optimized your data, it’s time to store this quality information in your customer relationship management (CRM) database. With the right features, your CRM can store data, track interactions, and share information with your team. In turn, this highly organized information will strengthen and grow your mission.

Here’s a closer look at the CRM features that can benefit your nonprofit’s data management:

  • Third-Party Integration: Integrate your other fundraising software directly into the CRM. That way, the CRM will function as the main database for your organization, holding the most comprehensive information.
  • Real-Time Data: Automatically track personal information about your supporters and organize that data through filters. This is a far quicker process than manually inputting information into a spreadsheet.
  • Data Visualization: Turn raw data into engaging visuals. Graphics and charts will help your organization tell data-driven stories.
  • Mobile Access: Access your CRM on the go to ensure you always have the updated information you need to drive your mission forward.
  • Searchability: Easily pull data and search for particular records using search features. This will allow you to quickly find important information.

The more functional your CRM is, the more of an asset it will be to your organization. Just make sure your database protects sensitive data like the personal information of donors and financial information. Work with your team to create protocols that implement data protection.

Invest in a data append service like NPOInfo to ensure your fundraising efforts are built on data you can trust

Our Final Tip: Invest in nonprofit data append services.

A data append is the process of adding new data points into an existing database with the goal of filling any gaps in the nonprofit’s information. Most data appending services will organize your data and set up automation for verifying it regularly. NPOInfo goes a step further.

At NPOInfo, we guarantee a high degree of accuracy in appending your donor data and ensuring your fundraising efforts are built on data you can trust. Take advantage of the following services:

  1. Employer Appends: Discover where your donors work to increase corporate matching gifts and deepen corporate relationships.
  2. Email Appends: We’ll maintain an accurate list of your donors’ email addresses, so that you can promote fundraising opportunities to supporters using correct email addresses.
  3. Phone Number Appends: Keep up-to-date phone numbers for regular donation solicitations and matching gift reminders.
  4. Date of Birth Appends: Get dates of birth to target donors in specific age brackets and improve your marketing efforts.
  5. Address Appends: Find out when your supporters move and update your database with accurate mailing addresses to more effectively reach your audience.

We’ll guide you through the appending process, making sure your nonprofit understands the data it’s collecting and how that information can be turned into meaningful action.


Data is power in the nonprofit sector. It allows you to attract donors, improve campaigns, and promote your mission. Collecting, analyzing, and cleaning data reveals what’s working and what’s not working in your organization.

NPOInfo’s team of experts offer services and resources to help your nonprofit organization make the most of its data. Get a quote today!

Want to continue your research on data collection or learn how to manage data more effectively? Explore these additional resources:

Get a quote from NPOInfo to enhance your collected data with a data append

Donor data management is important for successful nonprofit fundraising.

Donor Data Management: A Quick Guide for Nonprofits

90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years, with no slowdown in sight. The world is both a data-filled and data-driven place— and data is only becoming more prevalent.

But, why does that matter to nonprofits? Data can help your mission-driven organization perform an action vital to its success: connecting with donors. Donors are the people who keep your nonprofit going by giving their time, money, and support to your cause. It’s imperative you maintain your relationship with them to hold their attention and support.

However, data will only work magic for your donor relationships if it is properly managed. Incorrect contact information, statistics, and reports will do more harm than good.

That’s where we come in! Your friends at NPOInfo will cover these topics related to stellar donor data management to help your nonprofit make the most of its data:

Ready to learn the ins and outs of donor data management? Let’s dive in.

call to action with text "are you interested in employer appends for your nonprofit? contact npoinfo to get started"


NPOInfo defines donor data management.

What is donor data management?

Donor data management is the process of maintaining your nonprofit’s data over time, ensuring it’s accurate and well-organized.

Donor data management is important for a number of reasons. Good donor data management will ensure your nonprofit has accurate and easily accessible information to get in touch with your donors. When properly segmented, your data will let you know which ones to reach out to for which specific reasons.

Donor data management will allow you to produce thorough and exact reports detailing your nonprofit’s operations. You’ll have all the stats you need to illustrate the impressive work of your organization!

This is an ongoing process with no clear beginning or end. Your nonprofit will constantly be acquiring new donor data, updating old donor data, and using current donor data to support its initiatives.

Here’s a list of the three main components of donor data management:

  • Collecting Data: This is the step where you gather new donor information. Collecting data could be en masse, like sending out a survey that garners many responses or investing in a nonprofit data append. It could also be ongoing, like collecting donor details one at a time as they donate.
  • Maintaining Data: Maintaining data refers to checking it and making corrections as necessary. Whether it be weekly, monthly, or a different time span that suits your nonprofit, you should make a habit of regularly updating your data. For more information on maintaining your nonprofit’s database, check out this full guide to data hygiene here.
  • Using Data: Here is the part where you reap the benefits of your hard work! You can use your donor data to fundraise, generate reports, thank your donors, reach out to volunteers, advertise for an upcoming event, and more.

Now that you know what donor data management is, we’ll tell you how to keep your donor data organized.


NPOInfo gives some organization tips for donor data management.

How do you keep donor information organized?

Even if you have hundreds, or thousands, of donors to keep track of, donor data management does not have to be a scary, complicated, or intimidating process. There are many simple tips and tricks to keeping your donor information organized.

Here are seven of our most dependable strategies:

NPOInfo lists its tips for managing donor data.

  • Keep your data in one place. When you need to do anything data-related, it’ll be much easier to have all your information in the same spot. Keep all your data in the same constituent relationship management (CRM) system to save yourself from constantly digging around for the data you need. Make sure your various nonprofit technologies integrate with your CRM, so data can flow seamlessly into your main donor database.
  • Use a standardized format. There are many ways to say the same thing— for instance, St. versus St versus Street. Make sure you’re staying consistent across entries so that it’s easier to find and organize information later on.
  • Develop data entry guidelines. Your nonprofit should have an outlined data entry process. Who will enter the data, one specific person or many people? Also, will you always search the database before entering to avoid duplicate entries? To see the best results and greatest efficiency, decide your rules in advance.
  • Plan for exceptions. When there’s a rule, there’s always an exception. Your nonprofit will inevitably run into a piece of information that poses a previously unconsidered problem. Go ahead and think about how you want to deal with those details in advance.
  • Review your data. Like with data maintenance, it’s important to have a routine when it comes to data review. You could go over it daily, weekly, monthly, every other month, etc., all depending on your nonprofit’s priorities. Just be sure to review it and make necessary changes— it’ll be so nice to have updated data ready when you need it as opposed to putting it off for later.
  • Train your staff. Even if not everyone will be involved with data entry, all nonprofit employees should at least be familiar with your donor data management processes. Chances are someone might need help with data in the future, and they will have the help they need if the whole organization is in the loop.
  • Segment your data. Once you have all your data organized in the same place, you should break it down into helpful categories. There are many possibilities for segmentation: location, age, frequency of giving, and more.

You’re now a data organization pro, but what kind of data should you even be organizing? Read on for our recommendations for what types of donor data to collect.


NPOInfo lists what data you should collect for donor data management purposes.

What donor data should you collect?

Donor data is an invaluable resource for your nonprofit. Within the donor data realm, there are many specific pieces of info you can gather that will be useful to your organization. There are also pieces that wouldn’t be useful at all.

Follow our guide below to get the best donor data for your nonprofit.

Demographics are a key component to donor data management.

Demographics

Demographics categorize members of a population by defining characteristics. As a nonprofit, it’s important to know who your donors are in order to figure out the best ways to reach them. Here are five types of relevant demographic data:

  • Age: Different age groups have different donation habits. For example, all ages prefer to give online via credit or debit cards, but each generation’s second preference varies greatly. Millennials prefer cash, Gen X leans toward bank/wire transfer, and baby boomers will secondarily opt for direct mail. Collect data on your donors’ ages to strategically reach them based on their birth year.
  • Gender: Donor habits vary by gender, too, making it a worthy demographic to track. Female donors are more inspired by social media marketing, whereas males respond more to emails.
  • Location: If you’re a local nonprofit, it’s safe to assume most of your donors will be from your operating area. However, for national and global nonprofits, it’s helpful to know where the majority of your donors live to design campaigns in their locations that are tailored to their interests.
  • Income: A person’s income will impact their giving capabilities. Knowing a ballpark estimate of your donors’ annual incomes will allow you to target the right donors for specific giving initiatives. To illustrate, you wouldn’t want to ask someone with limited disposable income for thousands of dollars. Instead, you’d rather reach out asking for a smaller amount they’d be equipped to send.
  • Employment: Take income a step further and learn where your donors work. With this demographic information, you can figure out which donors work at businesses that offer robust corporate matching programs. Almost $3 billion is donated through matching gift programs annually, so it’s not an opportunity you want to overlook.

Next, let’s take a look at the donor contact information you should collect.

Contact information is a valuable piece of donor data management.

Contact Information

In order to reach your donors, your nonprofit needs accurate and accessible contact information. Here’s a list of four reliable points of contact to gather on your donors:

So far we’ve looked at more general categories of data. Now, we’ll dive into data that’s specific to donations and engagement with your nonprofit.

Giving habits is a valuable component of donor data management.

Giving Habits

No two donors give exactly the same. For instance, some are more sporadic in their donations, and others are consistent and use monthly recurring gift programs. Collect these useful pieces of donor data related to giving habits:

  • Gift amount: Donations can range from single digits to multiple figures, and all are worthwhile. Collect this data to be sure you’re targeting each donor correctly according to their amount preferences.
  • Frequency of giving: For regular donors, their donations could come weekly, monthly, annually, or at another interval. If you know a donor’s general schedule for giving, you can easily send a reminder around the time you’re expecting their contribution.
  • Method of giving: Cash, credit, debit, PayPal, check— the options for donation format are seemingly endless. Save yourself the time of reaching out to someone via text who prefers to mail a check by keeping track of your donors’ methods of giving.
  • Lifetime value: This measurement refers to someone’s all-time total contribution to your nonprofit organization. It is helpful to know who your biggest supporters are to keep reaching out to them, as well as to thank them when they reach certain milestones.
  • Number of years as a donor: How long a person has been donating to your nonprofit is another great way to assess who your biggest advocates are. You could also thank people according to their year milestones.
  • Upgrades and downgrades: Numerically speaking, an upgrade would be someone giving more money than usual. On the other hand, a downgrade would be someone giving less than usual for them. These terms are purely numbers— all donations are valuable regardless of size! However, this info is worth keeping track of for follow-up purposes. For instance, did they donate less because their income went down, or are they feeling less drawn to your organization? It’s a question worth asking.

Tracking your donors’ giving habits will allow you to find patterns in giving and strategize your fundraising efforts based on those patterns. You could figure out who to reach out to more or less often for the greatest efficiency and even what time of year is best to reach out to certain donors.

Interactions are a valuable component of donor data management.

Interactions

Where giving habits are limited to a person’s donation behavior, interactions describe their general engagement with your mission-driven organization. Through interactions, you can learn who your most committed supporters are in ways that go beyond money.

Here are six examples of donor interaction metrics your nonprofit could track:

  • Event attendance: Event attendance is a great way to assess the success of an event. Also, by knowing the specific people who attend your events, you can figure out which audience you are attracting: young or old, men or women, families or individuals, etc.
  • Email open rates: We’re all guilty of letting our email inboxes pile up with unopened promotional materials, and your donors are no exception. With data on email open rates, figure out what types of content your donors are responding most to and what types of content they’re not interested in at all.
  • Website visits: 44% of nonprofit website visitors in 2019 arrived at the website organically. However, your nonprofit’s website visit data may look way different than the overall data. Keep track of website visits to figure out how donors arrive at your website and what makes them stick around.
  • Direct mail response rate: Direct mail can be expensive— plus, digital methods of communication are increasingly popular. To make the best use of your time, look at data around which donors respond to your direct mail. Focus your efforts there, and stop sending mail to unresponsive addresses.
  • Social media engagement: From likes to comments to shares and more, social media offers a wide variety of data for your nonprofit to gather. Like emails, you can evaluate what types of content perform best and calibrate your social media strategy from there.
  • Volunteer activity: Donations don’t only exist in the form of money— many of your donors are willing to give their time to your cause. Keep track of the individuals who volunteer both once and on a regular basis, thank them for their time, and do what you can to retain their participation.

Data on interactions, like giving habits, will also allow your nonprofit to spot patterns and adjust its marketing strategy accordingly. Use this to your advantage and raise more money with greater efficiency.

For an even more in-depth look into what data your nonprofit should be collecting, check out this guide on nonprofit data collection. But for now, you’re well on your way to creating a robust database full of useful information— next, we’ll give you a guide on the best practices for keeping up your donor database.


NPOInfo provides five of the best practices for donor data management.

Donor Database Best Practices

After reading about donor data management and what data to collect, don’t neglect the amazing donor database you’ve put together! Here are five of our donor database best practices.

NPOInfo illustrates the best practices of donor data management.

Organize Data

Donor data will not be useful to your nonprofit if it isn’t properly sorted and managed. You can keep your database organized by keeping it all in one place, using a standardized format with clear entry guidelines, regularly reviewing it, and training your staff on data management.

For a more thorough refresh on how to organize your data, refer back to our previous section here where we explain how to do so.

Collect the Right Data

Your nonprofit should focus on collecting data in these categories: demographics, contact information, giving habits, and interactions.

Also, make sure you adjust your giving forms so that they only ask for information you need. To guarantee you get the data you need and donors don’t leave items blank, make certain fields like contact information required.

Purge Your Data

If you’re like most nonprofits, 88% of your donations come from 12% of your donors. Purge your database by removing inactive donors from your contact lists— it’ll save your organization time, money, and effort. Plus, you’ll see a greater return on investment for your campaigns.

Use a Data Append Service

Data appending is the process of supplementing existing data with more information from external sources. This is valuable both to fill in gaps in your database and to check the accuracy of your existing data by comparing it against external resources.

NPOInfo is a data appending service that works specifically with nonprofits. We provide accurate, quick, and thorough data enrichment for your nonprofit.

NPOInfo offers five different types of data append services:

  • Employer appends: This type of append will verify where your donors work. With this information, get ready to double your donation amounts through corporate matching gift programs.
  • Email appends: Our email append services will verify the emails in your donor database, guaranteeing more accuracy for your email fundraising tactics.
  • Phone number appends: Just like email appends, this service will double-check your donors’ phone numbers and be sure you’re using the correct ones.
  • Date of birth appends: Date of birth appends will confirm your donors’ birthdays, and subsequently, their ages. You could run a fun Happy Birthday campaign or simply segment your donor database by age group.
  • Address appends: Did you know that more than 40 million Americans move each year? That means about 10% of addresses become outdated annually. Use our address append services to keep your donor database as up-to-date as possible.

Data append services are a great way to make sure your donor database is as correct and complete as possible. For more information on data appending and data append services, check out our complete guide here.

Incorporate a CRM System

Constituent relationship management (CRM) systems stores large amounts of constituent data for businesses and organizations.

If your nonprofit’s CRM isn’t supporting your data management efforts, it may be time to invest in a new solution. Here are four characteristics to look for when choosing the right CRM for your nonprofit:

  • How many donors it can track: Depending on the size of your nonprofit, you’ll need a CRM system that can accommodate how many donors you need to gather and store data about.
  • How many users the software allows: You’ll want a few employees involved in the process of collecting, maintaining, and viewing your data. Make sure the CRM system you select permits your ideal number of authorized users.
  • What features are available: Different CRM systems will offer different services for you to use. Investigate what’s out there and decide which features will be most useful to your organization.
  • If it has integration capabilities: Many CRMs can connect to other softwares, and with that you can send your data back and forth easily. For instance, you could send the most accurate data from your online donation software straight to your CRM instead of manually transferring the information. That will save you time, money, and stress.
  • How much it costs: You’ll want to be sure the CRM system you pick fits your nonprofit’s budget.

Now you have all the best donor database practices under your belt! Go out and work some donor data magic for your nonprofit.

NPOInfo concludes its guide to donor data management.

Wrapping Up

We’ve covered what donor data management is, how to keep donor information organized, what donor data you should be collecting, and the best practices for maintaining a donor database. Let’s take a step back and remember the why behind donor data management.

Data analytics is invaluable for nonprofits. With all the effort you put into acquiring data and managing it in the form of a database, don’t forget to use it to your benefit by deriving data-driven insights.

An insight is an intuitive understanding of a pattern found in facts. All of your nonprofit’s decisions should trace back to insights found in your data for best results. After all, data is a concrete illustration of what works. It’s an important tool to generate awareness and enthusiasm for your nonprofit among its donor base.

Want to start using data better? NPOInfo can help! Contact our team today to get a quote.

In the meantime, for more helpful nonprofit marketing information and resources, check out these three articles:

NPOInfo is a data append service that helps nonprofits with donor data management.

Explore this comprehensive guide to nonprofit data hygiene.

The Fundraiser’s Guide to Improving Nonprofit Data Hygiene

Data is essential to the livelihood of any organization. However, it fails to hold any value if you’re unable to identify your data when you need it. Without taking the necessary steps to keep your data up-to-date, clean, clear, and concise, it is virtually useless.

So, you may be wondering, what is the key to making the most of your data? The answer is simple: proper data hygiene.

At NPOInfo, we help nonprofits elevate their internal data through database appends. By doing so, we’ve seen firsthand the importance of clean data when it comes to improving a nonprofit’s donor stewardship and fundraising efforts. Because of that, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to nonprofit data hygiene. We’ll cover the following points:

If you’re looking to optimize your fundraising efforts through using clean data, read along as we uncover all you need to know!

This image will take users to a free quote from NPOInfo.
This section covers an overview of nonprofit data hygiene.

What is database hygiene? An Overview

Database hygiene is the ongoing procedures and processes involved with keeping a nonprofit’s main database, its constituent relationship management (CRM) system, “clean” or with few errors. These processes involve a variety of actions, such as verifying existing data, removing duplicate and non-useful records, and appending new data to fill gaps in any incomplete records.

This is crucial, as “dirty” data can lead to many fatal pitfalls, including ineffective lead tracking, marketing missteps, and the inability to personalize outreach materials to donors and subscribers.

Most commonly, we see database hygiene discussed in relation to the following information:

  • Postal addresses: On average, 15% of individuals move each year, but 35% of those people fail to update their address information. Failing to keep track of postal addresses will put your information in the wrong hands— something you definitely don’t want to happen!
  • Email addresses: Email marketing has the highest return on investment of any channel, with $40 gained for every $1 spent. Therefore, you want to be certain your nonprofit is receiving email addresses from contacts and keeping this data clean. Approximately 54% of records in a nonprofit’s database are missing email addresses.
  • Phone numbers: Research indicates that 42% of records are missing phone information; an issue that needs rapid resolving.
  • Deceased: As a means of preserving resources and reducing perceived insensitivity, it is important to conduct routine deceased suppression as part of your data hygiene routine.
  • Duplicates: For organizations with multiple databases, it is extremely common to find duplicate information.

This image covers a checklist of nonprofit data hygiene best practices
These aspects provide a simple overview of the key components nonprofit organizations must pay attention to when evaluating the hygiene of their data. However, it is just as important to understand the value that this data presents to nonprofits in the first place.
This section covers how nonprofits use data

How do nonprofits use data?

As the world transitions into a more digital way of life, the volume of available data continues to grow. Nonprofits are striving to be more data-driven in response.

Data-driven nonprofits experience a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Boosts in fundraising efforts.
  • Increase in donor stewardship and engagement.
  • Stronger marketing efforts.
  • Broader outreach.
  • Better supporter retention.

While most nonprofits heavily rely on data when planning their fundraising, outreach, and stewardship strategies, this is significantly more difficult if the organization’s data is “unclean” or otherwise inaccurate.
This section covers the importance of clean data to nonprofits.

Why does clean data matter for nonprofits?

Nonprofit data hygiene is a key factor in achieving data maturity. Research shows that every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated globally. Yet, most of this data remains underutilized by nonprofits due to a lack of data organization. In essence, that valuable information goes straight by the way-side.
This image showcases a significant nonprofit data statistic.

For your nonprofit, this could mean:

  • Missing out on donations: overlooking a major donor opportunity and therefore not beginning major gift processes.
  • Overspending on outreach: dirty data could lead to spending a significant amount of your marketing budget sending costly direct mail solicitations to addresses where donors no longer reside.
  • Lapsed donors: ineffective follow-up and outreach with supporters leading to a negative experience.

Be sure to utilize all opportunities by maintaining clean data.

This section covers nonprofit data hygiene common challenges

5 Common Nonprofit Data Hygiene Challenges


While working to clean up your data, you may encounter several challenges that make it difficult for you to organize the information at hand. Here are common data hygiene challenges that your nonprofit may encounter, as well as steps to resolve them.
This graphic visualizes nonprofit data hygiene common challenges.
This section covers nonprofit ambiguous data.

Ambiguous Data

Ambiguous data is information that is too broad to decipher its true meaning. More simply, it is when the same code is used for two different types of data. For example, if you use the label “board” to indicate someone’s ranking, you may forget later down the road if that individual is a current or former board member. This difference in title is important to take into consideration before approaching the individual for future campaigns. You probably don’t want to seek the aid of a former board member, though you would with a current board member!

To fix this issue, identify how each type of data should be coded moving forward. In the example above, you can establish clarity through coding current members as “current board” and former members as “former board.” Specificity is key. When cleaning data, review all records with ambiguous coding and update them as you go.
This section covers nonprofit duplicate data.

Duplicate Data

Duplicate data is identical data entered throughout your database. This most commonly happens in the form of having two records for one supporter— for example, if an individual made two gifts, each on a different date and each from different email addresses. Your CRM could record this as though there are two separate supporters, rather than one individual with two email addresses. It’s important to rid your system of duplicate data to avoid redundancy in your approach (such as that one donor receiving double the communications).

Implement a deduplication process at least once per quarter to stay on top of the game. Additionally, your database should have a merge tool that you can use to review duplicate records side by side and decide which records to merge into one and which to keep separate.
This section covers nonprofit inconsistent data.

Inconsistent Data

Inconsistent data is when your entries differ across multiple databases. For example, if one of your systems says that two individuals are married while the other says they are divorced, sending them joint communication efforts may be a mistake. You can avoid issues like this through keeping your data consistent.

If you suspect that some of your data is incorrect, identify a threshold for data you will review. For instance, when considering donors, it may be wise to establish a review for those who have gifted a certain amount or higher. Hypothetically, if someone donated $3 million to your organization, your system should flag this entry and notify staff to double check that this amount is correct before proceeding. Implementations such as this will help prevent inconsistent data down the road.
This section covers nonprofit misplaced data.

Misplaced Data

Sometimes data is simply misplaced in the system. With such high variability in human error, this is very common in free-text fields. For example, you could have John Smith’s email address entered under Mary Jones. Making sure everything is in the right place will make your marketing and fundraising efforts run as smoothly as possible.

As with all other challenges, a thorough review of data entries will help to identify if data has been entered in the wrong location. Be sure to review misplaced data as needed, move the data into its correct location, and delete the data from its original, incorrect location.
This section covers nonprofit missing data.

Missing Data

Missing data is a cause for concern, as it is impossible for your organization to use such valuable information if it isn’t there in the first place. A common example of this is missing contact information, such as email address or phone number, resulting from “optional” form entry fields. If you’ve ever made an online donation to a nonprofit and left one of the two “contact information” fields blank, you’re a source of missing data for that organization!

If you have other data sources that contain what you need—such as old databases or third-party systems—you may seek these for filling in the blanks of missing information. Not to mention, the data append services provided by NPOInfo make the processes of finding missing data quite simple. From email addresses to phone numbers, our data append services can locate exactly what you need.

This section teaches how to clean nonprofit donor data.

How do you clean donor data? 5 Steps


Now that you know what clean data is, the importance of maintaining it, and the challenges you may encounter along the way, it is time to dive into the nitty-gritty of exactly how to clean your data. Here are the five data hygiene steps we will discuss:

  1. Conduct an audit of your nonprofit database.
  2. Remove unnecessary or harmful information.
  3. Take a closer look at the data you have left.
  4. Standardize processes for ongoing maintenance.
  5. Bring an expert on board to help.

Let’s begin!
This graphic walks through the steps of nonprofit data hygiene
This section covers how to conduct a database audit.

Step 1: Conduct a database audit.

Conducting a database audit is the first step in cleaning your donor data. An audit allows you to assess the current state of your data and discover the areas most in need of improvement.

Use the following steps to conduct your database audit:

Step 1: Identify problems you’re facing regarding data collection. What are the main issues your organization is facing that impede on proper data collection? What are you looking to get out of the audit process?

Step 2: Pinpoint unhelpful information. Identify which pieces of your information are inaccurate, outdated, or utterly incorrect. Make note of these points and you will help yourself in the long run. Keeping this information within your database will prove more harmful than helpful.

Step 3: Identify inconsistencies in your data. If you are a long-standing organization, your team has probably gone through several different data input procedures. As a result, you have probably cycled through many different ways of uploading names, addresses, dates, and other types of information. If you are a newer nonprofit, the threat of human error can also lead to variability amongst data input. Use your audit to note any inconsistencies that have occurred.

Step 4: Share your findings with your team. Once the audit is complete, be sure to share the information discovered with all parties involved. Ensure stakeholders—such as board members and executive leadership—are aware of the findings and on board with moving to the next steps of the data hygiene process

By conducting a database audit, you can produce an official review of your database to understand what areas contain the largest amount of inaccuracies, what information is missing, and where gaps in your data lie. This will put you in the best position for correcting your data moving forward.
This section covers nonprofit removing unnecessary information from data.

Step 2: Remove unnecessary or harmful information.

Once you have conducted your audit, it’s time to get rid of any extraneous content. These pieces of irrelevant information will ultimately be a waste of time and money, as you’ll end up sending marketing materials and messages to those who don’t want to or are not able to engage with your information. Some examples of unusable data points to remove include:

  • People on Do Not Call lists: Individuals who wish to opt-out of telemarketing calls register with the National Do Not Call Registry. Nonprofits are traditionally exempt from these regulations, but if your organization partners with a commercial telemarketing company you must comply with these guidelines.
  • Do Not Mail lists: People who wish to not receive mail and emails from businesses can register with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) website, DMAchoice. Nonprofits are not required to use this list either.
  • Minors: Remove those under the age of 18 from your database. This is especially crucial as if you conduct marketing to children, you can be fined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • Incarcerated individuals: Those who are currently within the prison system cannot respond to marketing materials. Remove individuals within federal and state prisons, county correctional facilities, and jails as a means of preserving your resources.
  • Deceased persons: By making sure not to contact the deceased, you can prevent sending unwanted marketing materials to their family members. Failing to do so often comes off as insensitive.

Once this information has been eliminated, you’re left with a database that contains information only about those who are interested in hearing from you and are able to respond to your messages. Remember, more data in your database isn’t necessarily better. If you need help determining what data to keep or not to keep, nonprofit data hygiene providers can assist you with removing these types of records or suppressing them from your direct marketing efforts.
This section covers properly inspector data.

Step 3: Take a closer look at the data you have left.

After refining your database and removing unwanted information, assess your remaining data closely. In particular, it is important to assess and correct the database errors you identified during the primary audit stage. You can ensure your records are clean by:

  • Eliminating duplicate entries: Verify the correct entry and merge or eliminate any copies that might have emerged over the years.
  • Standardizing mailing addresses: When inputting mailing address information, establish a standardized method for interchangeable abbreviations, such as “Lane” or “Ln.” Also, be sure to establish guidelines when it comes to area codes: 5-digit ZIP code versus ZIP+4 code.
  • Verifying email addresses: Ensure all remaining addresses are real and active. Following this principle will increase your email engagement rate and allows you to save time and resources by only sending messages to correct, active email addresses.
  • Ensuring numbers and abbreviations are standardized: This includes titles, ages, and any code words your team uses to categorize donors or prospects.

Taking the time to refine data will help correct small inconsistencies that can add up to much larger issues.
This section discusses standardizing data entry processes.

Step 4: Standardize processes for ongoing maintenance

It is best to adopt continuous data hygiene practices, rather than conduct an occasional major—and very time-consuming—cleanse. Ensure future success by creating an ongoing process for standardized data entry and maintenance. Some important tactics to consider implementing would be:

  • Standardizing data input practices. Outline the rules for team members to follow when they input new information into your nonprofit database. This includes procedures for inputting names, phone numbers, physical email addresses, employment information, and all other relevant data points.
  • Creating a data training process for staff. Create a shared document that includes all the details team members need to use the database effectively. Review the process in a meeting or training seminar so that everyone is on the same page for protocol.
  • Defining rules for handling errors. Define the process of correcting errors and include it within your data input process documentation. Who is responsible for fixing incorrect, incomplete, or duplicate records in your system?
  • Streamlining your donor-facing forms to only ask for essential information. This refers to elements that request information from the donor, such as your newsletter sign-up page or online donation form. Streamlining these platforms will help prevent the buildup of unnecessary or harmful data that inevitably clogs your database.

Using these practices as a means of standardizing your data maintenance approach will help make the process manageable. The maintenance process is customizable to your organization, so be sure to implement whatever tools work best for you!
This section discusses the benefit of data hygiene experts.

Step 5: Bring an expert on board to help

Establishing good data hygiene can be challenging, especially when you’re not sure where to start. Professionals that specialize in nonprofit data hygiene can set your team up with a concrete plan for future success in data management practices.

Database marketing specialists can assist with all of the processes outlined in the steps above, but they don’t stop there. These professionals provide a wide array of other services, such as:

  • Merge and Purge: Identifying and combining or eliminating duplicate records in your database.
  • File Conversions: Converting files into useful formats according to the various needs of your organization.
  • A/B Splits: Segmenting your data into groups to determine which marketing strategies are most effective.
  • Parsing: Splitting up the elements of one record into separate fields in your database.
    Data appends. Supplementing data from your organization’s internal database with external information. Learn more about how NPOInfo can help you do this!

This graphic provides an overview of nonprofit database marketing services
Beyond hygiene, data marketing firms also conduct data enhancement, audience building, targeted digital marketing, and other marketing efforts. Partnering with professionals containing these valuable skills will leave your organization with a stronger framework for future campaigns.

This section discusses donor database best practices.

3 Donor Database Best Practices to Improve Your Data Hygiene


The section covers standardizing your nonprofit data entry.

Create processes for standardizing data formatting.

To make sure all relevant donor data appears in reports and is properly formatted, establish standards. For processes that are unique to your organization, you’ll need to formulate your own internal standards.

You will want to have rules in place for information such as:

This graphic displays important nonprofit donor data information to gather.

  • Names: Decide how you will deal with formal first names versus nicknames or preferred names. Designate a field for each and use them consistently. Set rules for capitalization and abbreviation, but avoid writing names as fully capitalized.
  • Addresses: Determine whether you spell out or abbreviate a roadway, such as writing “Street” or “St.” Set rules for entering apartment numbers. For example, if you are referring to someone living in Apartment 10, would you reference it #10, Apt. 10, or Unit 10? Decide whether or not to abbreviate the names of states, like CA vs California.
  • Donation Dates: Should the donation date entered be the date on the check or the deposit date?
  • Spouses and households: Define a process for associating contacts who live in the same household. By grouping individuals with the same address, you can avoid redundancy in your messaging.
  • Job titles: Decide to spell out or appreciate job titles. Create a list of standard titles—such as Doctor or Dr.—and how they should be shortened if you plan to use abbreviations.
  • Phone numbers: Standardize the entry of phone numbers using. You might use parenthesis ( (555) 555-555), dashes (555-555-555) or no punctuation (555555555).

When it is all said and done, as long as the information is held to the same standards, you should have no need to worry. Be sure to collect the same information for all of the contacts in your database and whenever possible, include as much information as you can.
This section covers scheduling regular nonprofit donor data backups

Schedule regular data back-ups.

An important, and often forgotten, component of data collection is regularly backing it up. In a survey by Jay Love, 60% of organizations admitted to not backing up their data properly each day. Further, only 5% claimed to even test their backup solutions–a recipe for disaster!

In case of a software crash, the last thing you want to happen is a loss of all of your data. To prevent this from occurring, it is essential that your organization undergoes proper back-up procedures each day to ensure your data remains safe.

Equally important to backing up your data is testing your data. By this we mean, your organization should run tests to make sure the data saved in your backup is recoverable and usable.
This section covers the different kinds of data appends.

Invest in data appends

To enhance your clean data, it would be in the best interest of your nonprofit to invest in data appends. By doing so, you will house the most organized and up-to-date information within your database.

NPOInfo offers a wide array of services that can assist the data append process. Such services include:

  • Employer Appends: Knowing where your donors work is incredibly important. Here at NPOInfo, we use our proprietary screening and identification methods to append employer information, and oftentimes a job role, to individual records. Our screening method gathers data from both public and private sources, giving you the most accurate information possible.
  • Email Appends: Emails are crucial to reaching your donors and not to mention, the most cost-efficient for your organization. Therefore, it is important you have the right email addresses listed within your database. NPOInfo can help you fill in any of those gaps.
  • Phone Number Appends: Whether you’re looking to contact a donor or constituent, having the correct phone number is necessary. The NPOInfo phone number append service provides you with both cellphone and landline numbers to be used for both your regular donation solicitations, as well as matching gift reminders.
  • Date of Birth Appends: Being aware of your supporters’ ages and dates of birth is important to your organization’s marketing efforts. Whether it be for birthday mailing or market segmentation, our services will help you to best pinpoint birthdates for all of your needs.
  • Address Appends: With more than 40 million Americans moving each year, having up-to-date address information will save your organization significant funding that can be lost due to misinformation. Double the Donation offers National Change of Address screenings to ensure your organization has up-to-date mailing addresses. Further, NPOInfo provides standardized addresses that meet the USPS’s requirements for bulk mailing rates.

Data appends provide irreplaceable value to your organization’s marketing and fundraising efforts, so consider the help of NPOInfo in your next data append pursuit!

If you are interested in learning more about the importance of proper nonprofit data hygiene, here are some additional resources to explore:

This image guides users to optimize their nonprofit data with NPOInfo.