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Why Does Your Fundraising Team Have the Best Data Analysis?

By Wayan Vota on October 6, 2014


During M&E Tech DC, we talked often about the need for program staff to have access to better program performance data and analyze it more often. That usually lead into a discussion about how hard it is to get “real-time” data from program activities and the lack of capacity on behalf of field staff to analyze it. Capacity in this context can mean a lack of resources, time, priority, and tools, as much as actual data knowledge or skills.

Yet there is one group in almost every 501(c)(3) organization that thrives on real-time data, and analyzes it constantly to tweak and improve their activity: the fundraising staff.

Organizations like World Vision, Save the Children, Care, Plan International, and Mercy Corps (just to name a few), have whole teams of fundraisers who sort and dissect the data patterns from individual donors in an effort to increase donations by 1/10th a percent. They have massive databases to mine, the most modern tools to find insights, and spend person-months on new data collection methods.

Yet program staff time and again complained at the conference that M&E budgets were tiny to begin with and often wind up on the cutting room floor when budgets are created.

This presents a challenge for us all – regardless of which team you are on. We need to recognize that data collection and analysis isn’t an afterthought to program delivery – its an integral part. It also presents an opportunity. Who better to agree with and support investments in M&E data collection and analysis tools that the team that lives, and even thrives on performance data?

So do all of us a favor, go talk to your fundraising team, ask them how data drives their decisions, and build alliances to make sure data collection and analysis is as integral to program performance as it is to fundraising performance, and resourced as such.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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One Comment to “Why Does Your Fundraising Team Have the Best Data Analysis?”

  1. Glen Burnett says:

    Perhaps equally important, your fundraising staff most likely is hunting for those numbers you can provide. But they need help translating your M&E figures into compelling stories. This can come from your communications team (if you have one), or it may mean that you need to work together on your own to pull these stories out.

    It isn’t just reporting indicators that is important either. Performance indicators can provide great value, and if you have feedback loops established, that can be a great source of fundraising commentary from your program participants.