People of Masterworks | Cassandra Johnson, VP of Data

People of Masterworks is a series highlighting talented folks who contribute to the success of our ministry partners on a daily basis. Our hope is that, by getting to know some of our team members, you’ll also learn more about Masterworks and our mission to move hearts and minds to action.

What is your biggest contribution to our ministry partners’ success?

My heart is in providing data-driven strategies and solutions that fuel the work of our clients. I find joy in leveraging every dollar we raise to the most optimal use whether through advanced audience modeling and targeting, or strategies that cultivate donors — from their first engagement, to their first donation, and all the way through to becoming long-term, active donors. This all contributes to the success of our ministry partners but more importantly, to the incredible work they are doing to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, heal the sick, and share the love of Jesus. 

What motivates you in your work?

Masterworks’ commitment to create and invest in innovative, data-led strategies that grow organizational revenue and missional impact, motivates me and the entire Masterworks team to create solutions for today and for the ever-changing fundraising and marketing landscape. The fact that we are able to leverage artificial intelligence through machine learning in a way that helps us move and motivate people to make the world a better place is both humbling and gratifying. 

How would you describe the path that led you to the work that you do now?

I’ve always had a passion for helping others while also working hard and keeping the end in mind. As soon as I found out in college that it was actually possible to work at a nonprofit and make a living at it, that was the direction I knew I wanted to pursue. 

After several internships at nonprofits while in college, I served in AmeriCorps at a local Habitat for Humanity affiliate where I had mentors who poured into my fundraising knowledge. I was hired on as staff after my year of service and grew immensely while overseeing their fundraising and marketing efforts. One of the proudest accomplishments was managing the coordination, fundraising, and marketing of a Home Builder’s Blitz where I recruited local contractors and vendors to donate their labor and materials to build a home for a family in just 11 days! 

When I was ready for my next adventure, I believe God led me to Masterworks where I have served in Client Engagement, Processing and Planning, and now in Data. I love this work, the team, and the organizations we serve. While I haven’t built a house in 11 days with Masterworks, we are architecting data “houses” that provide a safe, stable environment that helps our teams make the best data-led decisions every day. 

In your professional opinion, what do you see as the biggest challenge facing nonprofits today?

From a fundraising and marketing perspective, I believe one of the biggest challenges facing nonprofits is how to best manage all of their data. In a world where CRMs are ever changing, data fields and forms are expanding, and the amount of data generated is exponential, it can be difficult to wade through the clutter to determine the data that is most important to capture and report on. Our team of expert data specialists, data engineers, and analysts have decades of fundraising and marketing experience to wade through data and provide a clear understanding of campaign performance and overall donor file health. 

What are you learning by working with ministries?

The work of our clients is motivating and inspiring, but what makes it all possible is the generosity of individual donors. One of the most remarkable aspects of this past year was how Christian donors became even more generous in a time where the need was perhaps greater than had been in decades. I believe it is a testament to the sacrifice and service of nonprofit staff to do what needs to be done, to not give up but to dig in and do the hard work, while also having faith (and lots of prayers!) that the resources they need will be provided. God has really blessed the organizations we work with, and so many — myself included — are so grateful for His unwavering provision. 

What’s one thing you want ministries to know about the impact of working with data?

The key to success in fundraising is focusing on the audience, offer, and creative — selecting the right people to receive the right message at the right time. The data team helps our teams to be able to focus on the performance of all of these aspects. The particular focus on the audience is fascinating because we can leverage one of our machine learning models, called Masterworks Response Index (MRI), to target donors who are most likely to respond to a specific offer in a specific season. We also leverage our data sets alongside digital media platforms to target audiences who are most likely to respond and at the highest value. Having the right tools and most effective targeting approaches allows organizations to be the best stewards of donor dollars to do the most good. 

What in your personal life equips you to serve our clients every day?

Number one is having a relationship with God. And, having an incredibly supportive husband who helps remind me what’s important — God, family, work, and friendships. I also have been blessed with two girls who bring me joy and light and who remind me daily of the need for kindness, patience, and discernment. 

In an agency work environment, every day is filled with to-dos with both major and minor implications, but I remind myself of Isaiah 55:12, where God says “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace…” Even amidst difficulty, peace can follow if you have joy, and being in service to others brings me that joy.