Data to Donor Ratio: Spending Your Time Strategically

Randy McCabe September 28, 2012 Nonprofits

Are you spending more time with data than with donors?

Of course, there is valuable information within the data we collect to help guide our strategies and it shouldn’t be ignored.  But, more specifically are you chasing data, collecting data, inputting data to spreadsheets, to the extent that you are not spending as much time developing relationships with donors?

Donor databases should provide you with more than just a repository for a larger amount of data.  Are you able to apply business rules within your system to automate workflows and produce the right reports quickly?

Too often, development professionals are chasing data and spending hours and hours creating reports, all of which slowly erodes the amount of time spent with donors or developing more meaningful communication.

If the very basics of your fundraising (accepting donations, creation of a donor record, acknowledgement of gifts, gift receipts, and donor segmentation) are still pretty much a manual process, then you are well aware your effectiveness is in a ‘one step forward, two steps back’ cycle.

If there are projects that you’d like to research but can’t get the information you need from your system without paying a consultant to develop the report for you and so, once again, forego the exploration – your system is working against you.

Changing systems may offer you a two-fold benefit.  The first is to automate the redundant and provide you with the meaningful reporting you need to realize your organization’s mission.  The second is that by moving your donor database to the cloud, you could realize multiple levels of cost reductions – no more hefty spends on servers and infrastructure and the big chunk of money spent on the maintenance of the hardware.  With cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS), you can also enjoy budget-friendly monthly subscriptions versus large licensing fees.

Talk to colleagues who are taking advantage of cloud computing to see what their experience has been – both the day-to-day activities and the total cost of ownership (TCO).


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