Monday, July 25, 2011

BIG’s Blog: Understanding Your Data

I spoke at the Benedictine Development Symposium a couple of weeks ago on the coming transformation of fund raising. This transformation is being driven by the shift from paper and ink (analog) communications to the online (digital) communications.

The Benedictines, as a group, are very progressive in adopting new technologies. In fact, they were the first Catholic communities to adopt modern printing technology following the invention 500+ years ago of movable printing type. Needless to say, these Development folks were very interested in learning what this technology shift could mean for their Development efforts.

One attendee asked me, “If I focus on becoming proficient on one new technology or tool this year, which one should I focus on, Facebook, our Web site or email?”

I told her to first focus on becoming fluent and conversant in her donor data. They haven’t changed the basics of marketing communications which is still the foundation for successful fund raising and that is the right message, to the right person at the right time. Success starts with knowing your data so you can target.

Since her organization did direct mail, I told her to learn and focus on analytics for her direct mail program first. Find a vendor who can do real data mining and will educate you along the way. And don’t look for your service bureau or list company or agency to have these skills at the level you need. Although your list company or agency might know way more about analytics than you, ask them how many PhD statisticians they employ. Data mining is heavy on quantitative mathematics and real analytic firms employ people with real degrees in hard statistics and mathematics, not IT.

The reason to learn analytics first on your direct mail programs is so you are already conversant in data mining and analytics when you make the leap to analysis of your online programs. Online analytics is essentially direct mail analytics on steroids.

First and foremost, understand your data.


Welcome to BIG’s Blog and yes, by all means forward our blog to your friends and co-workers.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this blog and found good information here. Online income opportunities have immense conveniences with possibility and potential of creating an amazing amount of extra income. All genuine online income opportunities will enlighten you right from the start that it needs hard work, focus, and perseverance. And make as much extra income taking into account good potential with satisfaction will not a bad idea.

    Small Business Marketing Sydney