Listen to the right numbers

Move #5 in a series of “9 Best Moves” to achieve development goals and maximize fundraising success. 

Sure, the final score is important.  For nonprofits, that is usually called return on investment (ROI).  Traditionally, that number has separated the winners from the losers when evaluating fundraising appeals and campaigns.  It’s a simple concept, relatively easy to quantify.  And frankly, it’s been the bottom line historically for most ministries!

But ROI isn’t always the only number you should be listening to . . .    


With today’s advanced data systems and capabilities, we still need to start with the three most critical questions: 

  1. What’s the most helpful information needed for making marketing decisions?
  2. Who’s the audience that you are appealing to for action?
  3. What’s the appropriate decision that should be made from the data gathered?

Today, because we can look at most dimensions and measures in a maneuverable format, it is important to know what you really need to discover and how that data discovery will help chart your strategic course of action. 

Benefit from important new data capabilities.   

This is an exciting new day in data delivery and analysis.  At Masterworks, we are leveraging emerging technology to analyze data faster and in a more targeted manner.  Answers can now be researched and results generated almost as quickly as the questions are asked.  Alliance Defense Fund, one of our most sophisticated clients in terms of data manipulation, is a great example of an organization that looks beyond “flat data,” typically represented by Long Term-Value (LTV).   Instead, we incorporated donor characteristics and utilized tools that quickly manipulate the data.  The result – answers that traditionally took three weeks to generate are now available overnight.  We analyze and make decisions quickly.  Results are evaluated and strategies refined as the project is being rolled out.  Elements are tweaked.  Numbers are monitored in real time.  Learnings confirmed.  Anomalies identified.  The final product represents the best of historical learnings and specific testing on a particular project.      

These tools can also be used by the client directly to create graphs and pivot tables that enable them to share information with their own internal teams.  Ultimately data is delivered in a strategy centric manner that is clearly understood and actionable to by both the client directly and Masterworks. That’s our primary goal. 

The Data Solutions arm of Masterworks supports a wide variety of internal and external client needs.  This quarter, we created a “Sandbox” that delivers a higher level of support for the development of a client’s business strategy.  We’ve created new views at data to aid in framing up analysis and creating the objectives and roadmap that will position the client for long-term success.  

With all the vertical integration approaches out there, you need to know how to separate the numbers from the noise.  Listen to what matters.  Ignore the chatter.  

Check back next week to learn about Best Move #6: Become an “early adaptor” to the latest in technology innovation. Or enter your email address above to get updates delivered directly to your inbox.

Read: Best Move #4: Engage your whole team for winning ideas.