If we show data in engaging visual formats, we can conquer the primary challenges of fundraising: 1) making the case for a grant or donation (see tip here), and 2) strategizing and planning fundraising activities, the topic of this tip. Here are a few ways to boost your fundraising strategies with visualizations:
Identifying whom to cultivate: According to Andrea John-Smith of Scout Finch Consulting, we need to know four basic things about our donors: recency (which isn’t really a word, but I’ll give Andrea a pass because it really should be), consistency, frequency, and level of giving. This information will “point you to people you are probably neglecting who are jumping up and down screaming ‘I love your mission.’” A simple bar chart will help you keep track of the most recent, consistent, frequent, and generous donors.
Setting goals: A bar chart with goal lines (for individual donors, groups of donors, or certain campaigns) shows you, quickly, where you are in relation to where you want to be.
Understanding relationships among donors: You can do this with free online network diagram tools or just with a paper and pen. Create circles for each current and potential donor on your list. Use different colors to distinguish between these two types of donors. Now draw lines to show relationships among them. Such a diagram, like all data visualizations, will tell you both what you do know and what you should know. See a circle without connections? Maybe you can increase your list of prospects by researching this donor’s connections. See a donor with many connections? Consider how you might better use this donor in your fundraising efforts.
See other data tips in this series for more information on how to effectively visualize and make good use of your organization's data.