A Data-Driven Life

A Data-Driven Life

I recently heard a commercial about a mattress that gathers data on how you sleep. The commercial says: “What if you could really know? Know how you sleep at night? Know how your day affects your sleep? Know how to get the best sleep of your life every night? Now you can.” The commercial goes on to say that its Sleep IQ technology tracks how you sleep. When you wake you’ll know exactly how you slept – how long, how restful your sleep was, whether you moved or got up. The assumption is that you’ll use this data to make changes in your life – how and when you exercise, what time you go to bed or get up, even whether you go out or stay in for the evening. We see this more and more in our lives with the popularity of Fitbits and other wearable technology – we’re now using data to make better and healthier decisions about our lives. Are we doing the same with our nonprofit fundraising programs? Are we using data to see how small or large changes in our fundraising strategy affect the overall “health” of our revenue and our donor files? Are we using statistics to drive what we’re doing? If not, since now even our mattress can track data so we can make lifestyle changes … Why...
Marketing / Anti-Marketing

Marketing / Anti-Marketing

This blog is a little different. Sometimes, even among us, we don’t agree on things. Here’s one example. Bill: If you ask 10 people to define marketing in the nonprofit space, chances are, you will get 10 different answers. Here’s the one answer I like, paraphrased from my marketing professor Dr. Bob Colby at Northern Arizona University: Marketing is finding offers that donors want to give to. In other words, offers should not be static. We should constantly be asking donors what they want to give to and adjust our programs to deliver what the donor wants. Far too often when we are doing offer development research for clients, and the immediate response to any new offer is, “We can’t use that offer. We’d have to change our programs.” Bingo. That’s not a marketing attitude. That’s an anti-marketing attitude that will lead an organization down the path of irrelevancy. Sumarie: Well, that’s very interesting and I don’t agree. When I worked at CARE – through testing – we knew that donors responded best to simple, straight-forward “feed a child”-type appeals. While occasionally programs would require that children are given nutritious food, most often the best way to help a child was to provide the parents with training and agricultural tools to provide ongoing sustenance to their families, and hopefully to make a living, too. A negative example of nonprofits changing their programs to meet a donor’s whim is when a major donor left a substantial bequest to a number of nonprofits. The donation was earmarked for programs that would change the core focus of the nonprofits away from social...