The evolution and growth of big data is transforming the way we market and connect with donors and prospects. But, what does this data mean for commercial non-profit markets, and how can it be leveraged? Let’s explore how big data and fundraising data analytics is influencing our practices, and how we can navigate through this new space effectively.
What is Big Data?
Ask 10 people, and you may get 10 different answers. Big Data can generally be defined as data from multiple sources, combined in ways to make it informative and actionable. By combining data from disparate sets, patterns and insights emerge, and this actually creates more data! As we recognize patterns and trends in the data, these relationships, not previously a part of the data set, become new bits of data ripe for mining and analysis.
As time goes on, bigger data sets are also generated because information is being collected from social media, smart phones, cameras, satellites, remote sensors and other newly emerging technologies. 90% of the world’s data today has been created in the last 2 years alone. Every day, we create an estimate of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. That’s 2.5 with 17 zeroes behind it! Needless to say, there’s an enormous amount of data that marketers or fundraisers can take advantage of.
What does Big Data mean to the marketer or fundraiser?
To the fundraiser or marketer, Big Data is the ability to see each consumer or prospect in a 360-degree view, and to personalize messages and interactions with that individual to create the ultimate purchasing or donating experience. We all know relationships are the key to successful marketing. Making sure that our prospects have the best experience they can have with our organization, whether it is a luxury brand selling luxury goods, or a nonprofit seeking funding for their mission, will improve their results.
One of the key buzzwords in marketing these days is “relevance.” Companies and organizations are generating content and practicing content marketing, but the key to making content marketing work is to be sure that the content we put forth is relevant to the audience we are targeting. That’s where fundraising data analytics and big data comes in. Knowing your customers’ likes and dislikes; buying and donating behaviors; relationships with others in your universe; and most importantly, their wealth, and buying or investing power, allows you the ability to make your messages truly relevant on an almost individual basis.
Want to learn more about how to utilize data in your fundraising strategy? Download our Data-Driven Annual Fund workbook today!
How can I harness the power of Big Data?
So, given the high volume of data points generated, and the barriers to accessing and processing all these points, how can marketing or fundraising professionals reap the benefits of Big Data? To leverage fundraising data analytics, and big data, the fundraiser and marketer must:
- Report, and
These actions and activities would require more resources than most small to mid-sized businesses have on hand. So how can the small shop leverage big data? How can the mid-sized nonprofit use fundraising data analytics to continue measuring the relationship between investment and fundraising? How can this data be utilized without investing inordinate resources on data collection, curation, and analysis?
Selecting the right Big Data Partner
The answer is finding the right partner. Choosing the right Big Data partner can make your marketing and fundraising messages resonate with your unique audiences. When you’re shopping for a data partner, consider the following questions:
Does this partner understand wealth?
While behavior is an important element, wealth is the true driver for both purchasing and donating. Does this partner have experience curating data? For all of us who have tried to merge two spreadsheets of different sizes, or import data into an existing structured CRM, or transform text into numeric data, we can begin to glean the many challenges of working with huge data sets that require many steps to massage into a meaningful whole. It’s beneficial to work with a Big Data partner who routinely works with data sets of all types and sizes.
Is the potential partner willing to work with you to select the data you need to append, and to customize a data solution for your needs?
Too much data can be as bad as not enough data. Make sure you get the right fit by selecting a partner who can assist by understanding your needs and providing a customized solution. It’s equally important that your partner is leveraging resources that allow you create a wealth search and help you understand a potential or existing donor’s capacity to spend, invest, or give.
Does the partner add value?
Data is the foundation for knowledge and insight, but you need a partner with a robust analytics understanding who can add value to your data with ratings and scores, predictive modeling, clustering analysis and other techniques. Analysis is where the true value of data is derived.
Will the partner work with your data?
Much of your most valuable data resides in your own CRM or DMS. By combining the data you have with additional Big Data sets, you can extract the most value. Having a partner who can work with both, and who understands your business needs and challenges will reap the best results.
Does the partner have all the data you need?
Shopping piecemeal for data is time consuming and difficult. So finding one partner who has wealth, demographic, lifestyle, behavioral, and biographic data at the individual and household levels. This can parse, normalize, and combine all your data points, and saving you hours of aggravation.
Organizations of any size and any level of data competency can harness the insights of fundraising data analytics with the right partner. If you’d like to learn more about the power of fundraising data analytics, contact us to speak with one of our experienced consultants.