Analytics have become the core of business planning for all organizations.  You depend on them to track and report on fundraising, marketing and program outcomes, and to assess trends.  Decisions informed by the right data will guide you toward more dependable conclusions and predictions.

Have you taken a deep dive to learn from your association’s member, sponsor and customer analytics?  Do you depend on these metrics, trends and patterns to guide your planning and decision-making toward goals and objectives? 

The payoffs awaiting you: optimized business performance, better forecasts, nuanced audience segments, reduced costs, deeper donor and volunteer relationships, and greater fundraising.

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that you can trust your data.  This means that your association, publications, meetings, grant-making, and foundation operations are collecting clean, pure data that is stored securely – the kind of data that can truly help grow your organization.  Such data, when analyzed, can reveal how to target appeals, secure interest in specific funding areas, or group “like” prospects for gatherings.

THE BIG PICTURE AND STRATEGIC PLANNING

It’s not just about who your members are or where they’re from.  What do you know about their behavior?  Among the questions to ask:

  • Which members are in an academic vs. private practice setting?  Do they write or review regularly for your journal? 
  • Which members are more focused on management?  Marketing?  Are they more concerned with business practice?
  • Do some products or meeting topics interest one group of members more than another?
  • Which behavioral indicators align with and may indicate interest in components of your funding priorities? 
  • Do your member attendance or chapter engagement patterns suggest your foundation should have a higher profile at some meetings?
  • Do certain job titles or industry segments respond differently?
  • Are members involved individually or do they participate as a group via their company?

USING DATA TO UNDERSTAND POTENTIAL DONORS

Many of these questions are helpful for both your association and its foundation. Donor acquisition and renewal are as vital to you as member enrollment and retention are to the association. Who are the 20-30% most engaged and active among your membership?  Where are your prospects most likely to have experiences that build engagement with both organizations? How can you partner with your association to create experiences that bring members closer to the mission and goals of both organizations? Mutually beneficial activities might include:

  • Highlight key spokespersons when topics are in sync with your mission
  • Follow grantees and shine a spotlight when they become association leaders
  • Celebrate donors and volunteers based on their all-around involvement
  • Focus stories on leading donor chapters or other groups and the volunteers who lead them
  • Build industry or scientific impact stories together

(Note: Such benefits are easiest to access when member and donor data live in a blended database; if yours isn’t, there are ways to bridge the two in order to compare and analyze data.)

SHARING IS A TWO-WAY STREET

Trusted data is powerful when used in the right way.  You and your association colleagues are similarly concerned about keeping data confidential, but if you work together, you can assure major donors and volunteers get proper recognition, key scientific contributors receive due acclaim, and relationships are improved all around. 

Together, you and your association colleagues can build a strong and trusted database with shared metrics, analytics and reports, so everyone can make solid, data-driven decisions.  Start now. Strengthen your shared mission by integrating data capture and analytics into your decision-making processes.  Remember, a rising tide lifts all boats.  Need some help getting started?  Short on staff and need some temporary assistance?  For guidance toward better data analytics that will impact your outcomes, contact Joanne Ray at joanne@associationphilanthropy.com or 708-308-6960.  Consultants in Association Philanthropy can show you the path that moves analytics from concept to completion

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