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13 Aug 15

What Role Can Data Play In Charity?

Posted by Rory White

Charities always have to come up with new and exciting ways to engage with people to gather support and help for their work. With charitable supporters having less disposable income to donate, however, many smaller charities are struggling to meet targets, and need to think outside of the box when it comes to brainstorming ideas for funding via new and exciting channels.

What is data?

Data is a collective term used to describe facts like figures, names, details or anything specific about something or someone. The information can then be collated and used for specific reasons. For example, a company may only want to send email newsletters to women over the age of 45 from the South of London; their data compiled from previous research allows them to pick and choose demographics to suit the needs of the business, resulting in specific campaigns that are much more successful.

How can data help a charity?

Fundraising is key to any charity. Donations sustain almost all of any charities services, operations, administration and fundraising services. Data can inform fundraising at all levels. Charities should store all of the information they can about their donors, including the amount, times of year donations are made, gender, ages and even areas where people live; it is important to gather everything and anything about the people that interact with the charity.

Analysing data

Data has to be used correctly and within protection laws and ethical fundraising guidelines. You should choose a data analysis team that understands your charity’s goals and can extract the information that is relevant to your organisation’s values. Being able to approach previous supporters and asking the right questions can help understand why they donate, which in turn is data that can be used in a marketing or fundraising campaign. Ensure data is updated on regular basis, especially as new supporters join and leave.

Data is key to enabling charities to promote and grow in the long term, and essentially contributes to them to do more good. Charities that optimise their donor information have a deeper understanding of motivations behind their supporters and can use it to develop future campaigns.