Information is everywhere. For years, large corporations have been gathering and analyzing their client data to develop better business strategies. But big business is not alone in the ability to make smarter, data-driven decisions. Associations and other nonprofits now have greater access to member/donor data. The challenge they face is understanding how to use this data to increase membership and revenue while advancing their mission.
Accept Data as Your Friend
Amazon, Apple and Target are not the only organizations who can use data as a strategic business lever. More member data is available now than ever before, and the associations and nonprofits who embrace the power of that data will benefit the most from it. If association leaders view their data as a way to drive revenue and improve member engagement, they are at a distinct advantage when compared to other nonprofit leaders.
Where to Find the Data
Nonprofits can use a number of different tools to aggregate and analyze data. Google Analytics is a great tool to track website engagement along with traffic sources such as social networks and 3rd party sites. In addition, organizations can track digital marketing efforts such as online ads to ascertain return on investment (ROI) by specific campaigns. Association Management Systems (AMS) or CRM tools are another great way to analyze member data. These are especially effective when integrated with their email marketing solution. Imagine being able to quickly view and analyze email open and click rates, links getting the most clicks, events getting the most registrations, and training sessions getting the most interest. You can also see which articles or blogs are getting the most engagement in your monthly newsletter.
Another often-untapped source of information is industry data. For example, wouldn’t it be helpful for a medical association to get their hands on the roster of all students in all the residency programs in their area in the United States? Or have a list of all doctors who recently got board certified? Or imagine having access to ten years’ worth of this data? With this type of data, associations can make predictive decisions to better position their organization for success. With Microsoft Dynamics 365, nonprofits can leverage internal and external data to get better insight into member activity.
Putting the Data to Work
Once you have the data you want, now what do you do? Many of our association clients are seeing the benefits of business intelligence solutions that provide dashboards and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These offer a quick look at not just what the data is, but what it means and what action should be taken because of it. A data-driven approach to running your organization is much more ideal than trying to blindly make guesses and projections. Your members will tell you what they like and what they want, you just need to understand how to interpret their activity and engagement. Dashboards and executive reports are a great way to make this happen.