Data Driven Donor Journey

Category: Solutions Strategies

Last month we shared tips on how to keep your donors engaged through the donor journey, and told you this month we would share some insights on how to leverage data to inform and benefit.

In today’s world data is increasingly becoming a primary driver for doing business; and non-profit organizations are realizing the power of data to inform their donor journey. The ability to collect, store, track and report on data has become a key driver of successes, and can provide charities with valuable insights into the behaviour and preferences of their donors. In this blog post, we will explore how data can inform a donor journey and how charities can use data to personalize their communications, identify opportunities for engagement and improve their fundraising efforts to enhance the overall donor experience.

Collection of Data

The first step in using data to inform a donor journey is to collect it. Charities can gather data from a variety of sources including direct donations (i.e. face-to-face and outbound telefundraising), online donation forms, event registrations, surveys and email sign-ups (to name a few). When it comes to collecting data, get creative. Test different communication pieces to see how it impacts the donor journey on response, attrition, fundraising. The more data a charity collects, the better it will be able to understand its donors, their preferences and tailor its communication efforts to meet the donors needs and keep them committed to your cause.

Storing Data

Once data has been collected, it is essential to store and sort it in a central location. This can be done through a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which allows charities to manage and track donor contact information, donor history (interactions and donations) and communication preferences.  A well-organized CRM system can also help charities identify trends and patterns in donor behaviour, enabling them to adjust fundraising strategies accordingly. 

Tracking Data

Tracking data is the next step in the donor journey. Charities can use tracking tools like Google Analytics (first party data) to monitor donor activity on their website. Allowing you to see what pages they visit, how long they stay on the site, and which donation forms they complete. You can analyze this information to not only update your website but to tailor donor communications based on their interest in your work. Engagement with your social media posts is another metric that can help you understand how donors are interacting with your organization. This information can be used to adjust fundraising efforts in real-time, ensuring that donors are engaged and invested in the charity’s mission.

Report and Inform

Charities can use all this to report on their fundraising efforts and inform stewardship journeys to keep donors engaged. These reports can be used by donor marketing teams to provide them with an assessment of who their donors are, where their donors are coming from, what messaging is resonating, how much and when, they give. By regularly reviewing these KPIs charities can identify trends and make data-driven decisions to improve their stewardship and fundraising efforts.

All About the Benefits

Using data to inform donor journeys offers several benefits. By tracking engagement rates and other metrics, it allows charities to better understand their donors, identify patterns in donor behaviour and adjust their fundraising efforts and strategies accordingly. This, in turn, can lead to more effective fundraising campaigns, increased engagement, higher donation levels, and more sustained support over time.   

One of the key benefits of using data to inform the donor journey is the ability to personalize communications. By analyzing donor data such as donation history and communication preferences, charities can tailor messages to individual donors. You can often set this type of communication preference in your CRM and segment your donors in this way. This can be very cost effective, as some donors never want to receive a printed piece of mail, but prefer email communication. SMS is another cost effective form of communication which is growing in popularity and has a very high open rate.  

Another example of where tracking data comes in use, is a donor who has given multiple times. They may be more receptive to a major gift or legacy ask, where as new donors require nurturing before they are ready to give again. This can be between 6 to 9 months after their initial gift. 

Finally data can be used to improve the overall donor experience by identifying engagement opportunities. By tracking donor data charities can identify donors who are most likely to attend events, volunteer, or become advocates for the organization. By targeting these donors with specific opportunities you can deepen your engagement and build long-term relationships. And that’s what it is all about!


Carolyn Soro is a marketing and fundraising professional with over 10 years in the non-profit space, having run successful campaigns at Plan International Canada and UNICEF Canada for many years before coming to Globalfaces as VP of Marketing. Now Carolyn heads up all our communication and brand efforts, and works with multiple charities to provide guidance on campaigns and stewardship efforts.

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