Analytics Offer Insight into Donor Behavior

Donor-ManagementThere are many strategies nonprofits can use to reach out to donors and raise more funds. One of the most important efforts any organization can make is to understand their donors and supporters better through surveys, focus groups and more recently – analytics software to track donor behavior.

Just last month the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania announced a partnership with the Red Cross to analyze the behavior of 500,000 donors who contributed in the last five years. The goal of the initiative is to identify trends, develop a deeper understanding of donor behavior and determine fundraising messages and campaigns that work. Ultimately, the investment in donor
analytics can be used to proactively adjust the strategic direction of the organization and to develop programs that will resonate with Red Cross supporters, hopefully transforming them into donors. Here are some of the data sets and characteristics that analytics software can unearth in your organization.

Lapsed Donors

There are always people who make donations one year but then, for whatever reason, do not repeat their generosity the following year. Some people who had been regular contributors in the past may have stopped giving as well, leaving nonprofits high and dry when it comes to recreating that income. Analytics can help identify patterns of donation lapse and serve to formulate campaigns to bring former supporters back to your organization.


Many charities operate with tight resources whether it’s time or money. Consequently, campaigns and efforts need to be targeted to be effective. Analytics can provide insight into the question of which programs and services are the most likely to succeed and which donors are most likely to give. This allows for a premium level of energy and resources to be devoted to the right programs and the
people most likely to give.


Nonprofit organizations often run multiple outreach campaigns with a variety of messages simultaneously. Often it can be weeks or months before any concrete feedback is available to indicate which campaigns, messages were successful, and which were not. Analytics and nonprofit software help to make the turnaround on this valuable information even shorter.