Speaking about Q4 donor base actions, I realized it would be good to have a deeper look at your outreach data. This will help you focus your outreach on the channels, topics and mix of messages that resonates the most with the people you want to reach. Let’s look at how to use your data for your outreach.

Questions for 2021

What data?

By data I mean statistical data from your website, your social media profiles, and your newsletter if you have one. But data for me are also the responses you received to your emails, to your posts and your blogs, etc. And all the stories about the change your work made possible for people affected by it.

Do you know your data?

So, the first question is, are you even looking at these data? Are you going to your Facebook page insights weekly? Are you checking your website statistics monthly? (Or some other frequency?) Do you you collect stories from the people you serve and the people you work with?

Do you do anything with your data?

Are you just looking, or also maybe downloading things from Facebook insights or Google Analytics? Or do you add numbers from what you see to your own excel file? Are you making nice-looking pie charts? Or lists? Are you logging responses received? Do you keep an easily searchable register of the stories you collected?

Do you analyze your data?

How do you use your data? Do you have regular meetups to go through the statistics, responses and stories you have collected? Do you use your analysis of the data to plan your next outreach actions? Are you keeping track of your actions and use this information in your analysis of the next set of data?

Your target for 2021

In case you have answered ‘no’ one or more times to the above questions: grab your calendar and schedule some time slots to work on your data collection and analysis with your team. Make sure you collect data for the year 2021 to date. Record and store them somewhere on your shared drive. And have at least two meetups looking at them and trying to analyze them together. Formulate at least two actions for your outreach in the end of 2021 or early 2022 based on your findings.

Start 2022 strong

Use the right platform(s)

Look at your data and decide what are the best platforms for you to be using to reach out to your donors, stakeholders and target groups. It may be that each of these groups is active on different platforms, or that they use the same platform differently. Look at your team and decide what is doable. If you are a small team, you may not be able to manage to be active on more than one platform realistically, in addition to your website which is always good to keep going as a business card.

Reach out at the right moment

Your Facebook insights show when your fans are online and active on Facebook ((other tools provide similar insights of course!). So, you can schedule posts for those time slots to increase the chance your fans will see them. Schedule ahead and don’t be afraid to post the same post more then once in the course of a month or so. If you use Facebook publishing tools you can schedule your posts for Facebook and Instagram (jointly and separately).

Produce relevant content

In your insights you also can see what posts generate the highest engagement and reach, or: which content is most relevant to your audiences for one reason or another. Short video clips with a behind the scenes-feel are often popular. It may take you some trial and error to figure out exactly why people liked a certain post. Looking into this is useful though, because it helps you understand what made them love certain posts. And that will help you create more posts that are useful, relevant, interesting, attractive to your audiences.

Check!

Schedule regular data collection actions and meetups. Make sure you keep track of actions taken to check what their impact was. Did you manage to create a new post that is as successful as the most successful post of 2021? Keep analyzing your data, actions and successes! As you know, how social media platforms are used and what users like seeing changes over time, and sometimes very quickly. Especially if there are new technological developments or new apps emerging. Make sure you don’t assume that what worked a year ago, still works today.

Your 2022 communication plan

Weave all this into your communication plan for donor outreach in 2022!

My key tip

  • Try to always look at your posts, articles, videos, etc. with the eyes of an outsider. Is the message clear and not too long? Is it relevant to them? How? And why?

Want to know more and ask questions?

If you want to discuss this more – jump into the Facebook group and get input from a wide range of peers and from myself!

Here is how you can join my free Facebook group

You can join my free Facebook group how to become a professional and resilient nonprofit with Suzanne Bakker here. In this group we will create a safe space for open exchange and discussion on potentially sensitive topics like boards, nonprofit management, fundraising, etc.