Data is everywhere you turn! It’s in the emails you receive, the dashboard of your car, and even the nutrition label on your yogurt. It can feel fairly overwhelming, especially when you must gather information, sort relevant data from filler, and then determine how to best use your newly discovered facts and figures. It’s enough to give you a headache! To ease the pain, we’re giving you a few easy ways to gather useful data in everyday situations.
Harness the power of email!
If you already have a sizeable email list, take full advantage of it. Target specific demographics by creating separate lists of donors and clients. Send out email blasts with tailored surveys to determine everything from your client base’s satisfaction to what your contributors want to help with in the future. Keep the surveys short and engaging. Multiple choice, with the option to write in additional thoughts, works best. Above all, don't overload anyone’s inbox. One survey per season is likely more than enough. You can use websites like surveymonkey.com or surveyplanet.com to set up free surveys. It’s also worth noting that incentivizing surveys will yield a much greater return rate. Consider raffling off a small gift card for those who complete a survey.
Get it on the spot!
Whether you’re hosting a fundraising gala or overseeing an event for participants, any time you’re face-to- face with people, you have the opportunity to collect data. On a basic level, take a quick headcount and analyze your demographics. To go deeper, create short, to-the- point surveys to gauge your audience – and don’t forget the pencils. Again, offering up a reward, even a small one, for answering your questions will likely drive up participation.
Use technology to your advantage.
Use social media to crunch your numbers. How many followers do you have on Twitter? How large is your Facebook audience, and how much interaction does each post garner? You can use these factors to determine what kind of content to post and when. Facebook offers an “insight” tab that metes out actions, page views, engagement, and reach; use these metrics to maximize your impact.
Look to your website for additional useful information, too. Experiment with Google Analytics to dig deeper into your demographics; you can find out where your traffic is originating, what search topics were used to find your site, and how long users stay before leaving. Use this data to pinpoint the best times to post and determine what topics and keywords successfully drive traffic to your site. Once you’ve mined your sources for data, use it to strategize, determine best practices, and prove your worth to investors. Don’t let the bigger picture overwhelm you!