Nonprofits are embracing modern data-driven marketing techniques to improve donor experience and deliver higher ROI through omnichannel fundraising.  Case study after case study presented at our Nonprofit Conference  this week demonstrated some really smart approaches to using data to connect with donors and potential donors.

yin yangThis is all very exciting and I don’t mean to be a doubter, but frankly, this embrace of innovation and commitment to excellence is not enough.

Data-driven fundraising will not be successful until it also includes a commitment to data stewardship and support of policy positions that keep channels open.  Any truly integrated fundraising strategy must involve not only reaching donors with effective messaging, but also reaching the policymakers that can determine our future.  I spoke about this at the conference, and my full slidedeck is available here.

The seamless experiences enjoyed by donors come at the end of a long and complex flow of data – as we all know so well.  Complex data flows are the bedrock foundation of integrated and data-driven fundraising.  Donor targeting and engagement are incredibly precise because they translate complex big data analytics into actionable insights that make it simple and worthwhile for donors on the receiving end of relevant and valuable campaigns.

Data stewardship and governance is essential in building the donor trust that is key for response and commitment.  A nonprofit organization’s messaging will only be successful if it can say with certainty that it is able to act as a responsible steward of the consumer data it holds.  The new DMA guidelines address the ethical practices that ensure donor trust and respect.

There is a paradox here.  We are living at a time when donors and organizations enjoy greater benefits from data-driven fundraising than ever before.  Yet, simultaneously, fundraisers are facing a possible end to that data-driven way of life that we all take for granted.  Why?  Because the legislators and regulators who hold the power to steer our community’s future fundamentally distrust what we do.  What we find amazing, they find alarming.  What we know donors want, they think threatens consumer privacy.

That is why DMA founded the Data-Driven Marketing Institute.  It’s our “think tank” to end the mis-characterizations around data collection and use.  Join us by taking the Pledge to advance and protect data-driven marketing – and we’ll  keep you up to date on issues and how to be involved.

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