The New, New Thing – Fast Data

The New, New Thing – Fast Data

A personal goal of mine for the New Year is to slow down, stop and smell the roses, not rush, rush, rush all the time. But, just as I was contemplating that resolution, I read an interesting article about the next big thing after Big Data – Fast Data.  Click here to read the article. There’s a lot to be found online about Fast Data with words like “Hadoop cluster” and “nodes”, but I think the key sentence from the post above is: “Fast data, as the name implies, isn’t only gathered quickly, but also shared and acted on quickly.” This may not have exactly the same implications for non-profits as it does for commercial organizations, but it’s important for all of us to remember the expectations of our customers and donors, especially the expectations of those Millennials who don’t even remember a world before the internet. In a world of instant texting, instant photo uploads, instant email receipts, and Instagram, donors have high expectations. Donors expect to receive thank you letters by mail, email or phone (or best, all 3) within a few hours or at most within a few days not a few weeks. If they post on your Facebook page or mention you in a Twitter post, they expect a response that same day. A viral message can spin out of control if not addressed right away. As much as we might like to slow down in our personal lives, our donors expect immediate responses. Maybe focusing on Fast Data is a better professional...
What would you do about next year’s results if you had them today?

What would you do about next year’s results if you had them today?

“His name is Gary Hobson. He gets tomorrow’s newspaper today. He doesn’t know how. He doesn’t know why. All he knows is when the early edition hits his doorstep, he has twenty-four hours to set things right.” -Synopsis of “Early Edition” American TV Show (1996-2000) Remember this show? What if you could be the Gary Hobson of fundraising? What if you knew your new acquisition offer was going to bomb? Or, what if you had confidence that your bold new direction was going to pay off? You would almost certainly make different decisions. What if I told you that this power was real and that you can use it now? It isn’t magic. It’s market research. “Offer Forecasting” is a survey analysis Analytical Ones has developed to test new offers on your donors before you invest the time, money and opportunity costs into full execution. Political consultants and pollsters use a similar process of “message testing” to determine what language will win campaigns. We test new content (image, copy, etc.) on a statistically representative sample of your acquisition market, or current donors, to determine their propensity to support an array of fundraising offers. We test against a control offer for baseline results. Our methodology has been proven valid by back-testing our survey results against the successful direct mail tests they predicted. In plain English: Before you decide on your next direct mail test. Let us conduct a survey to gain input from those who matter most: the target audience. It gives you a no-risk platform to test a wider range of ideas and it can save you the lost...
Our top 5 most popular blog post of 2014

Our top 5 most popular blog post of 2014

Thank you to all our blog readers for your comments, shares and reads over the last year. We hope you were able to use a few of our analytical insights to grow your fundraising program. Our blogs in the new year will be focused on Win, Lift, Keep – helping you win more donors, lift the performance of your current donors and keep more of current donors active. Earlier this week, we posted an article for how to lift the performance of your major donors. You can read about it here. And, in case you missed some of our posts last year, check out our top 5 blogs from 2014. 1.  Unsustainable Trends – Part 1 Well technically this was written in December 2013 but it was out most read blog post of 2014. We found these trends seem to resonate with so many nonprofit organizations: • Your new donor acquisition counts are flat • Your retention is slipping • Active donor counts are shrinking • Average gift size is increasing • But, overall revenue is flat You will have to read the article to learn more about why this is an unsustainable trend. 2. Unsustainable Trends – Part 2 Part 2 of this 4 part series explored the aging donor file and why it is critical to unlock the secret to acquiring younger donors. 3.  State by State Comparison of Pre and Post-Recession Charitable Giving Fundraisers were interested to see how their organization faired compared to state giving numbers as reported by the IRS. 4.  Why Direct Mail Acquisition is Still Viable In this post we visit the...
Are you telling your major donors these four things?

Are you telling your major donors these four things?

I have been spending quite a bit of time over the last few weeks helping to perfect the major donor pitch for a nonprofit organization where I volunteer my time. Building the perfect case for support is not something that should be taken lightly. The investment of time is critical to getting the investment of money. If you are looking to perfect your major donor solicitation, consider this outline for how your conversation should unfold: 1) The Problem – Start by explaining the problem that you are trying to solve. The best pitch will be about a problem that affects the potential major donor personally.  For example, when I was at the Red Cross and we were soliciting a business owner for a gift for the National  (or International) Disaster Relief Fund, we would talk about the types of disasters that could occur where the business owner had facilities.  “What if a hurricane hit your manufacturing plant in Florida? How prepared are your employees and their families?” Get your prospect to agree/buy in that it is a problem that needs to be addressed. Also, don’t forget to express your passion. If you are not passionate about the issue, why should your prospective donor be? 2) The Solution – Once you’ve explained the problem and have buy in from your prospective donor, then tell the donor how  you two together, can provide a solution. 3) The Action Plan – Next explain how you’re going to accomplish it all. No need for great detail (unless the donor asks) but be sure to communicate three action steps to help you reach your goals. 4)...
The Key to Growth

The Key to Growth

Sumarie’s blog reminded me of the most important and painful lesson I learned as an undergrad. I was in my senior year of Business College, and the capstone class was Policies. Basically, it was applying everything we had learned into real world business case studies. And in the very first lecture Professor Palmer decided to randomly choose me to share my thoughts on the first case study. This was an introverted plan-aholics worst nightmare. I hated speaking in class. My palms sweated, my heart raced and I was petrified. To compensate, I had become a compulsive planner. Everything I did, even the most inconsequential social interaction, was planned and rehearsed. But I didn’t know Professor Palmer was going to pick someone in the first lecture. I hadn’t prepared. And on top of that, since I was the first one, I had no model to copy. “Mr. Jacobs, please stand and tell us what action Holiday Inn should implement based on circumstance pertaining to case study one.” I rose slowly, and started some BS intro as I shook where I stood. As I started my second sentence, Professor Palmer cut me off. “Mr. Jacobs is drowning. Can anyone throw him a line?” I quickly sat down. A litany of negative self-talk raced through my mind: ‘He hates me.’ ‘I just made a fool of myself in front of everyone.’ ‘I’m going to fail this class.’ I don’t remember any other discussion about case study one. But as the class ended, Professor Palmer requested that I stay to talk with him. This was it, I thought. Professor Palmer was going to...