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Welcome to the Third Sector Labs blog. We cover a variety of data-related and fundraising issues for nonprofits, hoping to provide unique insights and share best practices. Data is overwhelming every industry … you aren’t alone … we can help! Subscribe to the Third Sector Labs blog by email today!

Workplace Giving Data Problems Just Got Worse

Nonprofits everywhere are struggling to get their hands on reliable, useful workplace giving data from corporate giving programs. This has been a problem for a long time. And it is only getting worse. What’s going on? It used to be a United Way problem Who remembers the days of charities arguing with local United Ways over the donor data? “We own the workplace giving data,” was the typical United Way response to charities wanting to know more about the donors supporting them, “because they are United Way donors – our […]

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Fundraising without donor data: What’s that proverb about giving a man a fish?

Fundraising without donor data: What’s that proverb about giving a man a fish?

Most charities raise money from many different sources – direct mail appeals, online donations, events, workplace giving campaigns, and matching gift programs to name a few. How often do the funds come in without usable donor data – or any donor data – behind it? If your organization is fundraising without donor data to support it, then you have a problem that needs your attention. It is time to manage that problem and reduce risk. What’s that proverb? We have all heard the proverb: Give a man a fish, you feed him for […]

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Donor Data Management Dictionary

Donor Data Management Dictionary

Every nonprofit needs a data management plan, especially for their donor data. The plan needs to address a variety of topics, such as data hygiene and enrichment, data usage in various communications activities, input/output management, and more. To help with your donor data management planning, we have created a Donor Data Management Dictionary to help you make sense of all the data jargon as it applies to the nonprofit organization’s business needs. Is more data jargon giving you a headache? Send us a note and we’ll add it to the […]

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My nonprofit is in “the cloud”! – What does that mean?

My nonprofit is in “the cloud”! – What does that mean?

Have you recently read an article or attended a webinar where you were told that your data or software had to be in “the cloud”? Worse still, if you weren’t in “the cloud”, then your organization was exposed to all sorts of risks, problems and unnecessary costs? There’s a reason why a visible mass of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere came to be used to describe a particular state of data and software. Like their meteorological namesakes, data clouds can be life sustaining, or they can rain down havoc on your business, wash […]

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How to calculate donor acquisition costs

How to calculate donor acquisition costs

All charities need new donors, just like all businesses need new customers. Studies tell us again and again: it is cheaper to retain an existing donor (or consumer) than to acquire a new one. Good to know, but that doesn’t address the issue at hand. My charity needs new donors. Where do we find them, and what will it cost? Hopefully, you have been keeping good records, because if you have the data, you can do the math. Where do you find them? Donors can come from anywhere. Direct mail […]

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Fundraising data analytics – mining the gold in your own backyard

Fundraising data analytics – mining the gold in your own backyard

Fundraising data analytics is becoming more popular – and more necessary in today’s philanthropy marketplace. We hear about it, we read about it, we think about it more than ever. Nicole Wallace at The Chronicle of Philanthropy wrote a terrific piece this week, ‘Fundraisers Reap Millions by Using Data Gold Mine’. Fundraising data analytics is the equivalent of mining the gold in our own nonprofit backyards. Admittedly, for many of us in the sector, the very mention of ‘data analytics’ sounds intimidating. It’s a show-stopper. Well, our best advice is […]

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How to forecast fundraising risk before your walkathon stalls

How to forecast fundraising risk before your walkathon stalls

Can the risk to your next fundraising effort be forecast in advance through some basic data algorithms? The answer is a resounding ‘yes,’ which should be good news to nonprofit organizations concerned about recent news articles portraying the declining fortunes in walkathons and other popular team-building events. Throughout the early 00’s these team-building events enjoyed enormous popularity with their nonprofit sponsors and the participants who joined them. Walkers, runners, bikers, climbers, and a host of other participant types leveraged Web tools to enjoin friends, family, colleagues and others to sponsor […]

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Data hoarding: Does the term apply to your donor data?

Data hoarding: Does the term apply to your donor data?

Have you watched the A&E television show Hoarders? The clutter and garbage in some of the homes on that show are unmanageable. It makes you want to shout at the tv: “Throw that trash away!” Now, let’s talk about your donor database. When was the last time you cleaned it up? Got rid of dupes? Threw the trash out? Perhaps this story is familiar. Year after year you gather information about donors. Donors lapse. Some move away. Others pass away. You keep mailing out newsletters and fundraising appeals. Your response […]

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Stop the Daisy Chain of Bad Data Management

Stop the Daisy Chain of Bad Data Management

The root cause of bad data management for any organization can usually be found in the data management paradigm itself. The most damaging data management paradigm – one that is commonly found among nonprofits – is what I call “the daisy chain of bad data management”. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to stop the daisy chain! And today is a good day to get started. A quick primer on key terms As the term applies to technology, a “daisy chain” is an array of computers, devices, and peripherals connected one to the […]

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The Ice Bucket Challenge Epilogue: Data

The Ice Bucket Challenge Epilogue: Data

The conversations about the ALS Association’s astounding success with the Ice Bucket Challenge continue. Blogs, newsletters, periodicals, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter … people are still talking about it. Let me offer one piece of advice: let’s not get distracted by the story and instead focus on the epilogue – the Ice Bucket Epilogue: it’s about the data. Discussion and debate Did you know that the Ice Bucket Challenge has its own Wikipedia article? Yep. Did you know that YouTube views of Ice Bucket Challenge events have surpassed 1 billion … that’s with a “b”? […]

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