The Importance of using a Data Strategy for Nonprofits


Updated 4/6/23 by Steve Collins

Nonprofit digital campaigns are an effective way to engage supporters and raise awareness about important causes. However, amidst all the excitement and creativity of designing and executing a campaign, the importance of using a data strategy often gets overlooked. According to a recent report, nonprofits only capture data from about 15% of their website visitors. In this blog post, we will explore why data capture is crucial for the success of charity e-campaigns and how it can be effectively implemented.

Start Your Campaign with Data Strategy in Mind

Using a solid data strategy for nonprofits can make a huge long-term impact on your outreach.  Spending some time to research what data is needed and what is not should be an important step in your overall strategy. 

Exploring your data options guarantees that the campaign collects the correct information and does not miss out on valuable supporter data. We also suggest including team members responsible for data management and marketing in brainstorming sessions and balance the data capture “wish list” with user ease. Requesting too much information can be a major turn-off for visitors. Before beginning the campaign, it is important to consider if all the requested information is necessary.

Lastly, consider how the data capture process can be made as easy as possible for your supporters by providing helpful instructions and offering incentives for completing forms. With these strategies in place, your fundraising and advocacy campaigns will be more successful.

Put Your Supporter Data to Use

Once the data has been captured, it is important to put it to use. One effective strategy is to send out email updates to new supporters as the campaign progresses. This not only keeps supporters engaged but also provides an opportunity to segment email lists and send tailored messages based on supporter activity. For instance, if a supporter has donated to a fundraising campaign, it is important to thank them afterwards. Similarly, if they have filled in information online related to their age, interests, or other personal details, it is useful to use that information responsibly and with respect to their local privacy laws. This information, when used responsibility, can make a big impact in your list segmentations and varied messaging in email or messaging tools

A study by Salesforce found that personalized emails improve click-through rates by 29% and lead to a 41% increase in email revenue. By leveraging the captured data, charities can keep supporters engaged and achieve better results.

Ensure Compatibility with the In-House Database

It is recommended to use technology to feed any captured data directly into the in-house database. This saves time and effort and allows for easy access to desired reports at any time. However, if such resources are not available, it is important to ensure that any data to be uploaded is clean and in the correct format. A great deal of valuable information can be lost if the structure is not considered before getting started.

Proper Evaluation and Learning from Data

Once the campaign has run its course, or if there are key milestones to report on during the project, it is important to use the data collected for proper evaluation. This involves setting clear objectives at the start of the project and using the captured data to measure effectiveness. It is also essential to learn from the information obtained and to apply the lessons for future campaigns.


Using a solid data strategy for nonprofits can be an effective way of ensuring you are getting the best results from your digital campaigns. By planning for it from the outset, making use of the captured data, ensuring compatibility with the in-house database, and properly evaluating the results, charities can engage supporters more effectively and achieve better outcomes.

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