3 Ways to Use your Donor Data to do More for Your Mission


Key donor data point(s): Donor name, prior engagement history, preferred messaging channel


The way an organization interacts with its donors plays a significant role in the overall effectiveness of the group’s fundraising efforts. More than likely, donors contributing financially are essential for bankrolling your nonprofit’s mission programming and day-to-day operations alike. As a result, your donor communications can make or break your organization’s success.


One of the best ways to drive optimal outcomes is to ensure supporters feel as connected to the cause as possible⁠—again, hence the importance of strategic communications. And what we recommend is ensuring your messaging is as personalized and relevant as possible. This might include:


  • Addressing the donor by name in the subject line and greetings;
  • Acknowledging previous engagement (events attended, particular campaigns supported, etc.) with your organization;
  • Mentioning opportunities for local involvement for donors within a particular geographic range;
  • Utilizing (and prioritizing) their preferred method of communication;


The idea is to ensure that donors recognize your communications as belonging to them in particular, rather than being one of a thousand copied-and-pasted messages. And having the right information on hand in your donor database can allow you to do so while still maintaining the benefits of automation.

2. Uncover corporate giving opportunities.

Key donor data point(s): Employing company and employment type


Did you know that corporate giving programs can provide an excellent source of revenue for nonprofits, schools, and other fundraising groups? And your donor data (specifically surrounding your donors’ employing companies) can help you uncover the best opportunities to pursue!


First, let’s take a quick look at two of the most common and accessible forms of corporate giving that are made available to nonprofits through their donors’ employing companies:


  • Matching gifts ⁠— Businesses that offer matching gift programs agree to financially match donations made by their employees to nonprofit causes. Gifts are typically matched at a dollar-for-dollar ratio, though some employers may match as much as 2:1, 3:1, or even 4:1 of the initial donation.

  • Volunteer grants ⁠— Volunteer grants are similar, with generous companies offering monetary grants to qualifying organizations in response to their employees volunteering their time with the cause. In fact, studies indicate that 80% of companies with volunteer grant programs contribute between $8-$15 per hour volunteered!


Thousands of companies offer matching gifts, volunteer grants, and other types of workplace giving initiatives. However, most eligible employees remain unaware of the opportunity, which is why nonprofits are taking it upon themselves to identify qualifying donors (by using available donor information) and follow up accordingly.


In doing so, fundraisers are able to encourage donors to secure matching gifts on their behalf, thus doubling the mission impact of a single contribution.

3. Calculate and demonstrate donation impact.

Key donor data point(s): Giving history, fundraising performance


Your organization’s supporters likely contribute to your fundraising campaigns because they care about your nonprofit mission and vision. By communicating engagement opportunities using tangible mission values, you can encourage more donors to get involved and stay connected⁠. And using previous giving data can help!


Here’s an example: Let’s say a long-term donor, Suzie, has contributed regularly to your organization’s fundraising efforts. Over the course of the past year, Suzie made six donations totaling $1,200 for your cause. Consider sharing an update that informs Suzie that her generous giving has allowed your team to provide food and resources to more than 100 families in need.


This type of communication reiterates to donors that they play an integral role in your organization’s success and helps them see their own contributions in a concrete and positive way. Even better, your donor management system should be able to help by providing detailed and customizable reports regarding previous giving history.


Building well-rounded donor profiles empowers organizations to see their supporters as real, tangible people who care about making a difference for their favorite causes. As a result, donors tend to feel more connected to and appreciated by the nonprofits they support.


Use the information you likely already have available to you to set your team up for ongoing donor relations success⁠. And in the meantime, keep an eye out for new opportunities to collect and track supplementary data points. Good luck!