Do you have a handle on your data?

Do You Have a Handle on Your Data?
by Heather Hiscox, Associate Consultant
This Monday we hosted a webinar about managing your fundraising data. (See the webinar slides here.)  There were many useful tidbits, but the overarching message was to PRIORITIZE data management within your organization. 
As fundraisers we face data challenges that impact our ability to effectively and efficiently enter gifts, acknowledge donors, run reports, analyze prospect information, and extract vital donor contact information.  It is essential that our databases fit our needs and that we feel confident that our data is accurate and up to date. 
The webinar instructor, Brian Dowling of shared some key strategies for making data a priority: 
1. Engage your entire organization in data management so that everyone understands its importance and sees their role. Educate the board, staff, and ED/CEO on how you track and use fundraising data.
2. Analyze all of the ways that your organization collects information and see in what ways these diverse systems (and staff) do and do not communicate with one another. Consider also how you use the data that you collect from multiple sources (online, direct mail, personal contact). 
3. Assign resources (time, money, staff) to data management in your organization. Hard sell? Consider the loss of potential gifts due to missing or outdated data, which for some organizations could reach millions of dollars. 
4. Track data management activities to demonstrate progress. For example, track how much time each person is committing to data management. Record AND report successes in collecting accurate address or other key missing information for donors. 
5. Understand that a good fundraiser is also a good data manager! Just as stewardship and cultivation are key to fundraising success, so is data management.
We will share more tidbits from this webinar in future communications, including innovative ways to collect missing donor data!
See the webinar slides here.

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