Nonprofit Analytics: Leveraging Data for Predictive Modeling

Nonprofit analytics can be an incredibly powerful tool to maximize your fundraising and stewardship efforts—all by using your existing data.

You would be hard-pressed to find a professional, enterprising nonprofit organization that doesn’t collect data on its donors, marketing campaigns, or fundraisers. After all, data provides a roadmap to measure the success of your operations, and who wouldn’t want to know how their organization is performing?

However, simply collecting data isn’t enough to ensure your nonprofit’s success. That’s where nonprofit data analytics comes into play, a process that takes raw data points and turns them into actionable insights about how to improve your outreach, increase revenue, stimulate growth, and boost overall organizational efficiency.

To help you get a firm grip on nonprofit analytics and how you can use your data to its fullest potential, we’ve compiled the following essential subjects on data analytics, data modeling, and data modeling services:

An Overview of Data Analytics for Nonprofits

How to Begin Implementing Data Analytics

Analyzing Nonprofit Data with Predictive Modeling

Meyer Partners: The Best Service for Predictive Analysis

Ready to learn more about how your organization can take full advantage of the metrics sitting in your database? Let’s dive in with a basic overview of nonprofit data analytics.

What is Nonprofit Data Analytics?

Nonprofit data analytics is the process of taking the existing, raw data in your database and analyzing it to create actionable conclusions about your organization. 

The key to analytics is collecting the right data from the start, which can then be reviewed and modeled to give you a full picture of strategy performance. When setting up an effective system of data analysis, you would want to pay close attention to the following metrics across your various channels:

Fundraising & Donor Data: donor retention rate, donor acquisition rate, donor lifetime value (LTV)

Email Data: click-through-rate (CTR), conversion rate, email open rate, return on investment (ROI)

Direct Mail Data: response rate, conversion rate, ROI, cost to acquire

Nonprofit Website Data: referral and organic search traffic, session duration, conversion rate

Essentially, nonprofit analytics is a way to take your organizational data and turn it into something more meaningful that shows important trends about where you’re going and how you can do better.

The Benefits of Nonprofit Data Analytics

There are few ways that nonprofit data analytics can’t benefit your organization. After all, the entire point of analytics is to provide insights to measure the success of your various campaigns, intelligently allocate resources, and create improved strategies for the future.

From managing complex fundraising initiatives to annual budgeting to day-to-day donor management, there is virtually no area of nonprofits’ outreach operations that isn’t affected by or can’t be improved with effective data analytics and data modeling.

The 4 Major Types of Data Analytics

Within the broader science of nonprofit analytics, there are four main types of analysis with different goals and prescribed uses. They include:

Descriptive analytics, which visualizes events and trends that have occurred in the past.

Diagnostic analytics, which provides answers as to why particular events and trends occurred in the past.

Predictive analytics, which visualizes and predicts trends that will occur in the future. This form of analytics is particularly useful for nonprofits as they work to streamline and perfect their communication, fundraising, and marketing strategies.

Prescriptive analytics, which recommends strategies to stimulate positive changes based on the results of your predictive analysis.

These analytics work hand-in-hand to create a more complete picture for nonprofits. In particular, many data analytics tools or professional consultant firms will pair descriptive analysis with diagnostic analysis, as they provide a thorough snapshot of past operations, or predictive analysis with prescriptive analysis, as together they provide an effective plan for future action.

How to Begin Implementing Data Analytics

According to Salesforce’s nonprofit trends report, over 76% of nonprofit organizations determined that they need to develop a dedicated data strategy. Clearly, in spite of the fact that most nonprofits engage in some kind of data collection, taking the next step and converting data into usable analytics is something that many organizations struggle with.

Bearing that in mind, consider these steps your organization can take to adopt sophisticated analytics and improve your data strategies:

Find out what channels, programs, and campaigns are important for your organization to track.

Create a structured, formal process for collecting data and tracking key metrics.

Keep your data clean and up-to-date with good data hygiene practices, and perhaps even a professional audit of your data.

Invest in the right tools, technology, or consultation services to begin creating effective models for analysis.

Data analytics is a particularly sensitive and complex process, and as such it requires dedicated tools and professional help to effectively accomplish. 
For example, Meyer Partners boasts a wide range of sophisticated data analytics services to optimize fundraising, marketing, and communication strategies. From comprehensive predictive modeling tools to house file maintenance, our professional data services are made to guarantee continued growth and improvement for your organization’s unique needs.

Learn more about Meyer Partners

Analyzing Nonprofit Data with Predictive Modeling

Now that we’ve established the fundamentals of nonprofit analytics, let’s focus on a particularly important form of analysis for nonprofits to stimulate growth: predictive analytics, or predictive modeling.

What is Predictive Modeling?

Predictive modeling is a broad mathematical strategy that uses current and past data to predict future behavior, actions, or outcomes. For nonprofits, this might mean that you are able to predict the giving habits of donors a year in advance or foresee the performance of certain outreach activities long before they’re officially launched.

What are the Benefits of Predictive Modeling for Nonprofits?

It’s easy to see how predictive modeling can be incredibly useful for organizations of all kinds. For the nonprofit sector more specifically, these types of analytics are most often used to perfect donor outreach and fundraising strategies. 

For instance, predictive analytics and modeling are particularly well-suited for mapping out future donor habits, including giving patterns like how frequently, how much, and when exactly donors are most likely to give. In particular, it can help identify donors with hidden potential who are likely to upgrade their giving into the mid or major donor level. This, of course, can go a long way to help nonprofits make better and more cost-effective decisions about how to build out their fundraising plans.

Of course, the extent of these benefits is completely dependent on the accuracy and comprehensiveness of your predictive data models! This not only means having a CRM or donor database in place to track all the necessary data—it’s also critical that you thoroughly understand your organization’s goals, set the right KPIs, and invest in the right tools or professional services to build out your data models.

What is the Best Tool for Predictive Analytics?

When it comes to investing in the best tool to launch your predictive analytics and modeling strategies, nonprofits generally have two options: invest in your own predictive modeling technology to perform in-house analytics, or invest in a professional data service. 

Let’s take a look at these two options in more depth.

If you choose to perform in-house data analysis, you will have the benefit of being able to access your modeling software at any time and gain a direct, more intimate understanding of your internal processes. That being said, this option also takes intensive training and technical expertise to be run effectively. In fact, it will likely require a dedicated team to manage these complex and delicate systems. 

If you choose to partner with a dedicated nonprofit data service, the effectiveness of your data models and your ability to observe and manage your analytics will be entirely dependent on the service you use. However, if you’re mindful to pick a reliable, reputable firm, then you will be able to quickly and efficiently leverage your nonprofit’s data to its fullest potential—all without putting extra strain on your team.

If you’re confident that you’ll be able to invest the extensive time, resources, and manpower required to get an in-house predictive data analytics system off the ground, there are several software solutions that should hopefully be able to accommodate you. 

However, if your organization doesn’t already have a set of data experts on staff with hours to spare, we strongly recommend investing in the services of a professional consulting firm that performs nonprofit analytics.

Meyer Partners: The Best Service for Predictive Analysis

Who We Are

Meyer Partners isn’t your typical consulting firm. We are a full-service communications, marketing, and fundraising consulting agency. That means that we are uniquely qualified to offer top-down solutions for virtually all of your organization’s operations, including comprehensive data analytics services.

Our dedicated team includes fundraising and data experts that can leverage your nonprofit’s metrics to create the perfect, personalized strategies to better steward your donors, improve marketing outreach, and maximize fundraising success.

How Our Data Services Can Help You

The data analytics services offered by Meyer Partners are as robust and powerful as every other service touted by our agency. In particular, our best-in-class predictive analytics services allow us to mine your data house files and model donor behavior with incredible accuracy. 

With these intuitive models, we build intelligent plans of action for you to succeed in savvy, long-term donor relationship-building—all while using fewer asks and generating far higher margins of revenue. 

Additionally, we also boast data services such as:

Sophisticated fundraising campaign analytics 

Comprehensive program analytics 

Intelligent donor segmentation strategies

Ongoing house file maintenance 

Deep data auditing and data hygiene

If you’re searching for the most reliable method to begin performing data analysis—or receive professional consultation for any area of your marketing, communication, or fundraising operations—Meyer Partners is the top solution for you.

Request a No-Cost Consultation

Additional Resources

With these insights, you should be far better equipped to navigate your nonprofit analytics and choose the right tools or professional services to run and manage these powerful models. 

Want to learn more about nonprofit data, data-driven strategies, and data services that could help your organization? Take a look at these resources: 

How Clean is Your Donor Data? Explore the fundamentals of data hygiene, major benefits, and what it takes to maintain the integrity of your donor data. 

Professional Fundraising Consultants: Find the Right Firm. Find the right consultant to take your nonprofit operations to the next level with this dive into the best consulting firms. 

Donor Acquisition: The Complete Guide to Attracting New Donors. Master the art of donor acquisition with the data-driven insights and strategies offered by our definitive acquisition guide.