Your Data Tells You Where To Go


“If you do not know where you come from… then you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.” ~ Terry Pratchett 

I recently had the privilege of working with a small non-profit organization that has doubled its operations in the last year. They acquired a facility that provides transitional housing for women exiting sexual exploitation. Along with housing, they offer a full-day program to help women take their next steps.

It was clear that they needed to develop fundraising strategies to ensure sustainability for the organization.

In my first meeting with the Executive Director I proposed that we take a look at the organization’s fundraising history by examining their data. Knowing their history and segmenting their data would a) Give them a clear understanding of their fund development history and their current status, and b) Reveal opportunities to maximize their fundraising efforts.

This is what they learned from their data:

  • They got a clear picture of their monthly cash flow showing them their high and low revenue months throughout the year.
  • The number of the organization’s constituents in each of 5 categories (individuals, businesses, churches, foundations and other)
  • The number of active (donating) constituents. 
  • What each category of constituents revealed about number of donors, average gift and giving frequency.
  • How many individuals are major donors, what their average gift and giving frequency is.
  • How many monthly donors there are and what their average monthly and accumulated yearly gifts add up to.
  • Percentage of revenue in each of the organization’s appeals; online donations, events, monthly donor program, etc.
  • Areas of vulnerability

Further examination of their data in the individual category revealed potential prospects for various fundraising programs and a donor moves strategy began to emerge.

From the information gleaned through the examination of their data, I was able to build a multi-year fundraising plan, highlighting the organization’s priorities for the next 12 months.

When you understand your history, you can build upon it to create strategies for the future. Do you have a clear understanding of your fund development history? Please contact me to talk about how we can work together to strengthen your relationships with your donors.

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussions that will help us all to better engage with our communities. Your participation and feedback are most welcomed and valued. Please join the discussion below.



  1. bulldog

    Great info and I love that you offer for others to contact you for help… shows what kind of person you are… I need find you someone… a sugar daddy to fund all your institutions…

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