Data fundraising decision making

How To Maximise Your Impact With Data-Driven Fundraising

Resources are often stretched within fundraising teams and the idea of investing in data analysis may not be at the top of your priority list.

However, according to the National Philanthropy Policy 2024-2028 Section 3.2. Objective 2, nonprofits should aim, “to activate strategies for the creation, collection and utilisation of data and research to inform and guide decision-making in philanthropy, contributing to building an evidence base of needs.”

Contributing to data collection is not only useful for the future of the sector, it is also extremely useful for unlocking more strategic, impactful, and ultimately, more successful fundraising approaches within your organisation.

Here’s how you can use data to support and empower your fundraising decision making:


Understanding Your Donors

Data analysis provides invaluable insights into your donor base. You can identify trends in giving behaviour, segment donors based on demographics and interests, and personalise outreach efforts.

Fundraising teams can tailor their message to resonate with a specific donor segment known to support environmental causes, or to identify lapsed donors who might be re-engaged with the right approach.

Optimising Campaign Performance

Data allows you to track the effectiveness of your fundraising campaigns in real-time. You can see which channels (email, social media, direct mail) generate the most donations, what messaging resonates best, and where to allocate resources for maximum impact. Your campaign performance can highlight where you need to focus your efforts – is it within the channels you currently use, or do you need to explore new options?

Making Informed Predictions

Furthermore, data can be used to predict future giving trends. By analysing past donation patterns, you can identify potential high-value donors, forecast fundraising goals more accurately, and make strategic decisions about resource allocation.

Measuring Impact and Securing Funding

Data storytelling is a powerful tool for demonstrating the impact of your organisation’s work. By translating your achievements into quantifiable metrics such as a Social Impact Report, you can create compelling reports for donors and grant makers, increasing your chances of securing funding, such as developing a corporate partnership.


How can we improve our data collation?

You don’t need a large budget to improve how you’re tracking and using your data. Here are some cost-effective steps your fundraising team can take:

  1. Identify data sources: Start with the information you already have – collate donor records, peer analysis, website analytics, and social media engagement metrics using Excel, or other data analytics platforms such as Tableau. Organise your data into a digestible format which can be easily used for future analysis and decision making on a quarterly, bi-annually or annual basis.
  2. Subscribe to the Irish Giving Index: if you would like to gain valuable insights into your inbox, consider subscribing to the Irish Giving Index – the only nonprofit sector tool which enables you to benchmark your fundraising performance against your relevant subsector and organisations of the same fundraised income. Through sharing your data with our experienced team, we do the analysis for you, leaving your team to focus on your own projects. Furthermore, you’re also actively contributing to improved data collaboration within the sector and fulfilling Section 3.2. Objective 2 of the National Philanthropy Policy 2024-2028. Find out more about the Irish Giving Index here.


Data in the Sector: Concluding Thoughts

As stated in the National Philanthropy Policy 2024-2028, “Ireland currently lacks a centre of excellence for the creation of philanthropic knowledge… Robust knowledge and effective measurement are central components to drive change. To advance and grow philanthropy, we need to build baseline information to understand what is needed, what change could look like and to effectively measure what is being achieved over time. Lack of robust independent trend data is a missed opportunity for informed and compelling policy decisions.”

Furthermore, data is a powerful tool that can empower nonprofit organisations to make smarter fundraising decisions. By leveraging data, you can optimise your approach, improve efficiency, and ultimately, raise more funds to further your mission.

Interested in finding out more, or subscribing to the Irish Giving Index? Visit our website or contact our Head of Fundraising Advisory Practice, Rob Foley at