Analytics on the Brain

analytics, fundraising, statistics, brain science

Last week, I got an infusion of awesomeness from Josh Birkholz and Justin Ware of Benz Whaley Flessner. They did a workshop on navigating the new frontier of social media and predictive analytics.

To make smart decisions for your organization, you’ve got to have analytics on the brain. For marketing, that means looking at what’s working, what’s not and for whom.

Josh pointed out that marketers focus on defining groups of people whereas fundraising data-heads (aka people like Josh who practice predictive analytics) differentiate between groups.

To get people engaged, you learn the art of identifying which types of people are drawn to your organization and create personas based on that. Then you figure out how to get the attention of people who fit that persona.

To keep people engaged, you differentiate by figuring out what works best with different types of supporters in your database.

For-purpose, mission-driven marketing is often more art than science. Organizations generally don’t have the budget to test in a way that produces statistically significant results. However, you can bring some science to the art of figuring out what works with different types of supporters.

Once you’ve created personas for your top 2-3 types of supporters, here are two simple ideas to try:

  • Do A/B testing on your e-newsletters and see what motivates current subscribers to forward it (which eventually leads to more newsletter subscribers and, eventually, supporters).
  • Track which Facebook posts get the most reaction from different types of people, e.g. someone who ‘likes’ you but doesn’t donate, current volunteer, past donor, etc.
Over time, you’ll learn what works with which types of people. You’ll be better able to make decisions about how to align your messaging, content and tactics with current goals.
If you already have plenty of people in your database and want someone super smart to help you make sense of it all so you can better achieve your goals, call Josh. You’ll learn a ton AND have fun.

Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?