Donor Database Software: 3 Insightful Metrics it Measures

Find out what metrics your donor database should measure in order to strengthen supporter relationships.

Your nonprofit’s donor database isn’t just there to compile mountains of donor data. In fact, your team should be using your donor database to track metrics important to your organization’s fundraising, engagement, and sustainability strategies.

All too often, nonprofits see their donor database as a glorified phone book. Yet, robust donor database platforms offer nonprofit professionals some really useful tools to help track key metrics and measure nonprofit success.

Does your team need to brush up on all of the ways you can be better using your donor database software to track important metrics? In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the most insightful metrics your nonprofit should be tracking and just how you can leverage your donor database to capture this data.

Your nonprofit should:

  1. Measure Engagement with Your Donor Database Software
  2. Measure Giving Potential with Your Donor Database
  3. Measure Goal Progression with Your Donor Database

There are a lot of moving parts to your nonprofit’s strategy, so why risk missing out on the data you need to set your strategy straight? Let’s dive into these important metrics so you can start tracking them within your donor database.

1. Measure Engagement with Your Donor Database Software

Are you asking how important your mission and organization are to your donor’s lives?

Harvard Business Review published an article about common CRM misconceptions by business leaders. They could have easily been writing about similar misconceptions nonprofit leader hold about donor databases. To be an effective relationship management tool, nonprofit CRMs have to manage not only important financial relationship items, but also important non-financial elements as well.

Think about that: it’s more than a numbers game. Relationships are the key to successful fundraising.

What matters is having the ability to measure the impact and engagement of the constituents inside your nonprofit CRM. But, this engagement has to go beyond just transaction data. Sure, it’s great to know a donation history, but donations are just a piece of a donor’s relationship with an organization.

When strategically designed, a CRM can measure all of these things, and, when properly managed, it provides that most crucial of insights: how important your organization is in people’s lives.”

Does your donor database software help you measure engagement? If you’re only inputting financial history, then almost assuredly you’re not.

Think about the multitude of interactions you create for your donors. From emails to tweets to events to personal phone calls—your donors are (or should be) getting repeated touches as you steward their relationships with the mission of your organization.

Those data points are crucial to building a picture of that constituent’s engagement with your mission and your organization. You want that picture to be as rich as you can to ensure you have a complete view of that relationship. That means the first step to success is recording your interactions and points of engagement with each prospect or donor.

Take a look at Bloomerang’s Notes and Interactions tool. Here, your team can give context to when an individual has engaged with your cause and offer insight into how that engagement relates to the rest of your nonprofit’s strategy.

Make the most of your donor database software by tracking interactions so you can more effectively measure engagement metrics.

Then, look over time to see how more engaged donors interact with your organization versus less engaged donors. Ask yourself:

  • Are they contributing more frequently?
  • Are they more likely to bring their friends into the fold as volunteers or donors as well?
  • Do they provide feedback on different fundraising efforts you embark on as an organization? (Do you ask for feedback?)

This should allow you to have an idea of how engagement relates to satisfaction and donations to your organization. If you can, try running a correlation matrix to see what factors influence your results more.

If you know how many touches it takes on average to retain your donors, upgrade your donors, or to have them refer their friends, you can strategically maneuver your fundraising operations around that insight.

2. Measure Giving Potential with Your Donor Database

While it’s great (and important) to understand how your nonprofit is engaging with supporters, when it comes to making an ask your donor database should be tracking data that paints a picture of your community’s giving potential.

The term “giving potential” might seem broad, but when your donor database offers your team the tools it needs to determine the kind of impact an individual might have on your fundraising efforts, that can make a huge difference in how you plan your campaigns.

Historically, nonprofits have calculated an individual’s giving potential using a hodgepodge of different data sources. Each of these sources provided just one perspective of a prospect’s potential fundraising impact, and when considered together nonprofits often came up with conflicting answers to the question “Is this person a good fundraising lead?”

Your team should choose a donor database that consolidates all of those different data points to give your nonprofit a definitive answer. Check out Bloomerang’s Generosity Score for an idea of the kind of insight your donor database should provide.

Bloomerang’s Generosity Score is calculated by screening prospect research data sourced from Donor Search. Donor Search compiles data points that illustrate a person’s giving capacity and their propensity for donating to causes like yours. Ultimately, this helps shine a light on ideal fundraising prospects and gives your team and better idea of who to approach for a gift.

Donor Search’s prospect research data compiles:

  • Wealth indicators such as real estate ownership, SEC transactions, business affiliations, and political giving history.
  • Philanthropic indicators like a donor’s past giving history at your nonprofit, their external philanthropic history, and personal information (hobbies, interests, habits, etc.).

By considering this data holistically and assigning prospects a definitive Generosity Score, Bloomerang’s donor database eliminates the guesswork from creating prospect lists. While giving potential is a broad metric to track, the Generosity Score makes it easier for your team to decide who to approach for gifts, how high to set your ask, and which prospects you should assign for different campaigns.

3. Measure Goal Progression with Your Donor Database

When measuring important metrics in your donor database, there’s a lot that can be said about setting measures of success.

Success means different things to different organizations, and what counts as a successful campaign or strategy for your nonprofit might be completely different from how another nonprofit quantifies success. The big question to ask about your donor database is, “Does it measure what success means to my cause?”

Ultimately, your team wants to choose a donor database platform that offers the flexibility to set success metrics that are meaningful to your community and its goals. Otherwise, you’ll be perpetually analyzing different metrics to determine whether or not you’re on the right path.

One way that Bloomerang addresses this is by sharing its Sustainability Scorecard feature with nonprofits. This analysis combines data from your Bloomerang donor database with quarterly surveys to help track your nonprofit’s progression toward its goals.

With the Sustainability Scorecard, your team can monitor:

  • Fiscal YTD progress. Bloomerang tracks your nonprofit’s progress toward exceeding last year’s fundraising and engagement goals. By tracking stats like your number of face-to-face meetings and in-kind gifts for this fiscal year versus the same time last year, your team can glean a better understanding of how you measure up against your past success.
  • Donor pyramids. Over time, your nonprofit ultimately wants to secure more gifts from more donors, and ideally secure larger and larger gifts. The Sustainability Scorecard tracks your nonprofit’s progress toward growing your different donor ranges so you can see your community grow in the right direction over time.

Take a look at how Bloomerang presents donor pyramids in the Sustainability Scorecard. Your team can easily see how close you are to reaching last year’s range goal by individual donor or across organizations.

Bloomerang's donor database software makes use of its Sustainability Scorecard to track donor progression over time.

Success means something different to nonprofits of all shapes and sizes; success might even mean something different to your nonprofit depending on changes in your current goals and priorities.

What really matters is how your nonprofit measures up to itself and your past achievements. Bloomerang makes evaluating your progress easy with the Sustainability Scorecard feature.

Your nonprofit shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to what metrics your donor database monitors. Now that we’ve reviewed the essential metrics your database should track, your team can get started making the most out of your donor database software strategy.

Inspired to learn more ways you can leverage donor data into effective relationships? Check out these additional resources to get started:

The Buyer's Guide to Fundraising Software

Gabriel Harkov

Gabriel Harkov

Senior Account Executive at Bloomerang
Gabriel Harkov, MBA is a Senior Account Executive at Bloomerang. He was previously Operations and Program Associate at the Indiana Youth Institute and Operations Manager at the Indianapolis Children's Choir.
Gabriel Harkov
By |2018-08-31T11:56:27-04:00September 8th, 2016|Donor Engagement, Donor Management, Software, Technology|

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