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How NGOs can use data to drive their digital strategy

Data doesn’t just play a supporting role in enabling NGOs to engage and build relationships with supporters and stakeholders – it’s absolutely fundamental to their digital strategies.

Some 90 per cent of the world’s data has apparently been created in the last two years. This presents organisations with tremendous opportunities – and challenges – to ensure they have the right data, in the right place at the right time to underpin and drive their digital strategies in ever-challenging environments.

Maximising your existing data

With any digital strategy – i.e. a plan for engaging with supporters and other stakeholders through digital channels such as the Web – the value of data really comes into sharp relief. When you think about how much your organisation has invested in acquiring supporters, you could be sitting on a ‘goldmine’ of data. You simply can’t afford to let the knowledge you have on those supporters just sit there doing nothing.

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With knowledge comes engagement. Creating an effective digital strategy that utilises data can be tricky if you don’t know where to start – or where you want to get to. By using data as part of your ongoing strategy to understand, interact and engage with your supporters, you can effectively increase their life-time value.

It’s about creating an effective engagement ‘value chain’ where everyone wins.

Leveraging technology

Data underpins many different technologies that you can leverage to drive your digital strategy and enhance supporter engagement, including:

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems to track engagement, maintain relationships and automate everyday tasks your team may be involved in
  • Website Content Management Systems (CMS) to ensure the effective delivery of online content to increase the quality of users’ engagement
  • email marketing to create and manage effective campaigns to supporters and other stakeholders, as well as prospects
  • marketing automation to make it easier for your organisation to realistically implement a programme of engagement and retention of supporters.

What you really want, of course, from any digital strategy is for your supporters to become advocates, which in turn will help drive increased support levels – and revenues.

Not just for techies

The big mistake many NGOs make is assuming that a digital strategy – and supporting data intelligence – is just for IT ‘techies’. It’s not.

Board-level directors, senior managers, transformation leaders and heads of digital, marketing, comms, fundraising and donation management – all have a role to play in ensuring that the digital strategy has benefits right across the organisation.

At Hart Square, as independent technology consultants to the NFP sector, we work with organisations struggling with many of the challenges involved in planning and implementing a digital strategy.

If you’re an NGO struggling to keep up with technologies that drive your digital strategy, Hart Square’s TechSmart Summit on 30 November gives you the chance to talk informally to experts who know all about the technologies needed for today – and the future. Register now.