The Mikuska Group  

Your database is just for data, right?

When you receive a donation, or a ticket order for your special event, in all likelihood you enter the donor’s particulars into a spreadsheet or a database, produce the receipt or ticket and mail it off with a thank you. End of story. Repeat next year.

Do you do anything with your data other than produce event lists or financial reports? If not, you should!

Data can provide a wealth of information about your supporters and your relationship with them. Here are some examples:

  • record as much as you know about the donor’s family, employment and interests
  • track and analyze donations
  • record involvement in your organization, including volunteerism, attendance at events, serving on the board or committees

Why is this important? It means better stewardship and contributes to engaging your donors more deeply in your mission. If you know their interests, you can personalize the appeal you send. If you see they’ve been making regular donations, you might suggest a monthly giving program. You might also invite them to events or gatherings for your special donors, and ask them how you’re doing.

If you’re considering a major fundraising initiative, the first place to look for donors is in your database. They already support and believe in you! It’s much easier to work with the donors you have than to attract new ones. If you have managed your relationship with donors effectively, you’ll know who to approach to start the conversation about a legacy gift.

Invest in a database. Your supporters will thank you.

Laura Mikuska


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