Put big data to use for your nonprofit

Big data - just the name alone can be intimidating. You've most likely heard the phrase bandied about in the corporate business world accompanied with jargon such as business intelligence solutions or predictive analytics. But what can big data do for nonprofits?

The easy answer is a lot. Making sense of the raw data you collect each day from contributors, who use your online donation form, can give your organization more of an edge when it comes to approaching donors and the rest of the public.

But all the big data won't be useful if you don't have it stored in a suitable and organized donor database. Having a donor database solution that works well for your nonprofit can make such a difference and save you a ton of time and frustration down the road.

With that said, let's take a look at a few ways you can harness big data to your advantage:

What's the point?
As a nonprofit leader, you, first, must determine what you want to get out of all the information you acquire. Organizations should focus on three factors when it comes to putting big data to use:

  1. Donors,
  2. The organization's board,
  3. And its leaders. 

For instance, you can employ metrics to see which of your regular contributors continue to give and which ones you haven't heard from in awhile.

Using this information, you can then focus on which donors to reach out to so you can improve your donor retention rates. The Nonprofit Technology Network noted smaller nonprofits don't have the reams of data large corporations typically have, but analytic solutions can help organizations keep better track of donor outreach and show users which approaches work.

Big data can give nonprofits a better grasp over how the public views their organization and its mission as well as how many people social media postings reach.

Now what?
After collecting data from your donors and viewing how much of an impact your marketing efforts make, it's time to put the big data to use. Segment your audiences and adjust your messages to them both in mailing campaigns and online. Leveraging big data can make your marketing efforts much more effective as opposed to blanketing your donors with a uniform call to action.

As you already know, using compelling success stories and anecdotes are a great way to demonstrate just how important your nonprofit is. However, pairing a personal story with statistics and information you gather from big data can make your message much more urgent, Nonprofit Hub noted.

Using big data is an effective way to buoy your organization, its mission and goals so more people know about you and your objectives.

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