Should nonprofits be talking about year-end giving as early as July? Well, if you want to avoid your year-end campaign getting lost in a sea of sameness, then the answer is yes! That’s why we’re kicking off a new series this summer: “Year-End Fundraising in July.”
When our team at Pursuant and Allegiance Group thinks about year-end fundraising efforts, it’s often helpful to back the calendar up so we can think through different facets of organizational strategy.
For Rebecca Gregory Segovia, Executive Vice President, GivingDNA, when it comes to year-end fundraising, it’s imperative to harness data to drive the strategies that connect your cause to your donors’ passions.
“If we were to take December 31st as the goal and work our way backward, we see that July is the time to start talking about fundraising,” Gregory Segovia states. “The work that we do throughout the summer, in stewarding and engaging with our donors, is important.” When nonprofits can understand the transformative relationships that already exist within an organization, they can begin to steward and engage donors through a year-end giving experience.
After all, understanding and building personal relationships with donors is at the heart of the work that happens in the nonprofit sector. With this in mind, we invite you to follow along with us as we explore the topic of Year-End Giving over the next four weeks.
Let Data Drive Your Strategy
A comprehensive understanding of your donors should be your first objective when planning your year-end campaign. Although many organizations traditionally use RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) data to identify valuable donor prospects, looking beyond first-party data points and instead leaning into third-party data points is key.
When an organization can do additional segmentation about a donor, this is where the real magic happens. Some things to consider could include:
Combining third-party data with first-party data can really change conversations around year-end giving, particularly when it comes to personalization and the donor’s individual case for support.
Understand Previous Givers
According to Matthew Mielcarek, Pursuant’s Senior Vice President of Analytics & Insights Strategy, understanding the profile of people who gave to a previous end-of-year campaign, including Giving Tuesday efforts, is critical.
“What’s the profile of people who gave to the year-end campaign last year?” Mielcarek asks. “Maybe it’s somewhat different; maybe it’s dramatically different from the overall donor profile.”
Understanding the demographic profiles of previous givers not only helps organizations plan appropriately for future giving efforts but it also provides further understanding of individual donor profiles. Similar questions can also be asked of pandemic donors and monthly donors: the more a nonprofit can understand those who have supported them in the past, the more they can understand who will support them in the future.
For Mielcarek, there’s no better predictor of a year-end campaign than the previous year’s performance. This, combined with an understanding of today’s philanthropic landscape and overall market trends, can often be the biggest indicator when it comes to maximum impact.
Lock Data Hygiene and Business Rules
Although it’s never flashy, having processes in place to know where revenue comes from can help nonprofits develop a deeper understanding of future campaign performance.
“If the only thing we have to look at is dirty or messy data from the last several years or the last several campaigns, it becomes harder to really leverage any of that data to inform future strategies,” states Joe McLaughlin, who leads the analytics and optimization department at Allegiance Group.
Identifying where previous revenue originated, be it a previous campaign, particular audience, or giving package, McLaughlin encourages organizations to understand the origins of their revenue streams. This also proves helpful for identifying problem spots within a campaign or, conversely, any potential avenues for maximization.
The more you can do to clean up your data now, the more you’ll be able to understand how people are engaging with you. By getting a full picture of who people are and what they care about through tools like GivingDNA, nonprofits can better drive year-end giving campaigns.
The takeaway? Data-driven strategies matter to donors because it ultimately makes them feel seen and heard. And when this happens, you’re putting people first and you’re building a better case for future year-end giving campaigns.
Want to hear more? Listen to the full episode:
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