Giving Tuesday… don’t forget Data Wednesday

November 14, 2015 Opinion

A learning opportunity that must not be missed!

Black Friday may be looking like a damp squib this year, but Giving Tuesday is apparently going to be bigger than ever. The people behind it are encouraging hundreds of charities to ask their supporters on the same day (the first Tuesday in December) to donate. I’ll put aside my own feelings of irony in the light of recent criticism of charities over the Olive Cooke affair. Instead I’ll take the view that it is an opportunity for the sector to tell the nation about all the good it does – to start to rebuild the trust in how they fundraise, and the lives they save.

And with all this activity comes a lot of data and a glimpse of the future. If more people opt out of communication from charities then days like Giving Tuesday become more important. By sharing the great work they do it represents a powerful but less direct way of encouraging people to give. And if Giving Tuesday is the high-traffic day it hopes to become, then this engagement is going to create a lot of data. Recording how these interactions occur and learning from them can provide invaluable insight. There has been a lot written about preparing for Giving Tuesday, but charities must make sure they learn from the day itself and all the rich data it will generate – don’t let it go to waste.

For those sharing stories on your website or Twitter, look beyond the aggregate figures provided by analytics. Doing so will tell you more about the people that read them and give. It will also tell you how to communicate with them differently to, say, those that were sent stories by email. Creating a single supporter view to do this isn’t easy, but it is possible. It takes work to get the systems in place to hold the data and to get the analysis right to understand what it means. But without this groundwork, the effort put in to reaching them in the first place (and next time round) won’t be as valuable as it could be.

Data also holds the key to attributing a gift to the right story, when there’s lots of activity in the air. A TV ad that someone saw might drive them online to click on one of your Facebook posts. Understanding those journeys could make the difference between using the right channels and the wrong ones.

If Giving Tuesday is bigger than ever, it will generate more data than ever. Use it to develop a better experience for the people interacting with your charity, by understanding more about them. That way, fundraising will be more efficient, focused the right channels for the right people. And you won’t have to follow up every interaction on Giving Tuesday with a phone call to convert them to a regular giver. So tell your stories today, but more hard work starts tomorrow.

Andrew Sargent, Consultant Analyst, Wood for Trees