The Donation Maximization Blog

Nonprofit Marketing Tips: Disadvantages of Data Co-Ops

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Analytics are becoming increasingly key to how marketing functions in the digital age. Good analytics can be especially invaluable when it comes to working on development campaigns for nonprofit organizations. Whether you’re mounting a completely digital campaign or a traditional direct mail effort, ask string analytics are invaluable in terms of gaining insights into donor habits and giving potential.

But while this kind of data-driven marketing approach can be effective, it offers challenges, in that that gaining access to these kinds of analytics typically requires that donors hand their information over to a data co-op.

Data analytics can then be run on the data in the data co-op, which can then be used to generate ask strings or analytics for different organizations that have opted into the co-op.

Donor Search

One example of how data co-ops function are donor searches. In a donor search, a nonprofit submits its donor list to a co-op, along with various other nonprofits that do the same. That data is then offered for sale, enabling nonprofits that donors may have never had any previous interaction with to access their data when compiling lists of potential donors they want to target.

Data co-ops have proved effective in marketing circles for providing greater scale and insights into consumer habits, improving the customer experience, boosting revenue, and enabling marketers to reach customers across different channels.

This sounds great, and in some ways, it is. The problem with data co-ops is that customers are often unaware that their data is being effectively placed in a public pot where it can be shared with any organization that opts in. This can be particularly problematic in the nonprofit sector, where trust is key.

“Nonprofit scholars and managers generally recognize that nonprofits need the public’s trust for legitimacy, for effectiveness, and for non-financial as well as financial support,” said Herrington J. Bryce, in an article for Nonprofit Quarterly.

While customers have grown somewhat accustomed to their data being shared when it comes to consumer organizations, donating to a nonprofit is a far more personal matter. Sharing data donor through a data co-op, even with other nonprofits, can be seen as a violation of trust. Particularly, with younger, millennial donors, who have a generational skepticism when it comes to political and social matters.

Thankfully, there are ways to access the data you need to make specific ask amounts without opting into a data co-op or otherwise compromising your donors’ data. ExactAsk makes use of a unique algorithm to analyze donor data and giving habits in order to generate a targeting ask amount.

ExactAsk relies on predictive analytics rather than data harvested from a co-op. Also, ExactAsk doesn’t share the data it attains from donors. Utilizing the ExactAsk platform makes it possible to maximize donations you collect for your nonprofit partners without compromising the trust of the donors that provide the organization with its lifesblood.

This not only enables you to target new donors effectively, it also better enables your nonprofit to keep existing donors engaged and ideally, turn them into repeat donors.

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