Nick Rongione of Kintera recently wrote this article in Fundraising Success extolling the virtues of truly integrating — and then actually using — all the data your organization captures, or could capture, about your supporters.

His point: the more complete behavioral profile you can build of each supporter, the better you can target and customize your communications (of whatever kind … fundraising, action alerts, programmatic updates) to them, and therefore — given the greater relevance of the communication to that individual — the more likely they will respond as desired.

Sounds terrific in theory. But is it only theory?

Is the picture Nick paints Nirvana … beyond the resources and marketing sophistication of 99.9% of nonprofits (believe me, the biggest corporate marketers struggle with this). Even if you were determined to capture the data, would you subequently choke on it?

Alternatively, have nonprofit marketers found that less ambitious uses of data on individual supporters yields plenty of additional response, whereas going the "last mile" toward microtargeting just doesn’t yield sufficient incremental bang for the buck?

How many organizations, for example, peg a renewal ask to the individual donor’s previous year’s giving history? How many recite that history back to the donor, as a way of showing recognition? That’s a pretty straightforward — and evidence indicates, rewarding — use of individual donor data. But even this fairly elementary example assumes that donor data from all channels has been collated into individual donors profiles to drive the asks … and even the choice of re-solicitation channel(s).

Nick wants you to go even further … he wants that renewal notice, for example, to also thank the donor for responding to eleven action alerts, riding in the bike-a-thon, and placing your organization’s fundraising widget on his/her favorite social network page.

I’d really like to know … how many of you are proceeding down that path? And if you are, what are you reaping as the incremental benefits?

Is fully integrated database marketing a consultant’s fantasy? Or does it actually happen somewhere in real life?!



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