Insight is playing a greater role than ever in fundraising

CLIC Sargent team - 2017 Award winners

Guest Bloggers | 6 April 2018

There has quite possibly never been a more important time to share and celebrate the good use of insight in fundraising. With charities increasingly challenged to find ways of engaging new supporters and growing income within the bounds of new regulations, data analytics and insight are playing an ever-greater role.

Looking to the future, this can only grow as pressures increase; the public’s expectations of how their data is treated and how they are communicated with, quite rightly, will become higher and charities, as a result, need to become much cleverer in their approach.

The importance of analytics and insight for charities cannot be downplayed and with the rise of digital channels in particular, more data is available now than ever before. It’s this data that, once donors have opted in of course, can provide a wealth of insight. So much can be learned from their behaviour and engagement with our organisations and it’s this that enables us to be really clever in not only attracting new donors but in our ongoing communications.

To be successful going forward as fundraising becomes more challenging, a greater depth of insight is what we’ll need to understand our donors and their needs from us; to be able to connect with them across all the relevant touch points of our organisations and encourage donors to become fully rounded long-term supporters.


The ripple effect of sharing great insight

There is already some truly innovative and inspiring work with insight that we can learn from, and our sector is particularly good at sharing. This is so important: encouraging more fundraisers to try new approaches that push their boundaries can only serve to improve fundraising overall.

Awards provide the ideal vehicle for showcasing innovative uses of insight and prompting others to try new things. Last year saw CLIC Sargent win Most Powerful Insight Using Innovative Methods of Data Analysis category as well as the IoF National Fundraising Award for Best Use of Insight with a machine-learning project that tripled the ROI of its Christmas appeal.

“Entering highlights your organisation and the advances you have made to others outside it, inspiring more innovation and, importantly, showing the massive effect our specialism has on fundraising,” said CLIC Sargent Supporter Data Manager, Stacey Wood. 

Parkinson’s UK won last year’s Best Use of Data and Analysis in Digital Fundraising award. Fundraising Insight Manager, Rachel Kelly said the win wasa profile boost for the charity. 

“Winning the award saw our work recognised, talked about, and given greater credibility within our organisation, while we were also asked to present our work as a case study at the Insight in Fundraising Annual Conference; a valuable way of sharing our work further and gaining feedback from other professionals in the sector,” Kelly said.

CLIC Sargent 2017 Awards


Growing recognition – and investment

As Parkinson’s UK’s experience shows, winning an award can also have a huge effect internally. In showcasing work to senior management, the board, and trustees, and building appreciation of both the project’s and the team’s value, it can make a real difference when it comes to securing future investment.

CLIC Sargent can also attest to this. Last year, its award win resulted in a promotion for Stacey, the introduction of two new insight roles, and investment in a new Faststats modeller, as well as greater recognition internally.

“The award reaffirmed in people’s minds the huge impact our analysis is having, both on engaging supporters and on ROI, and we have since grown from a small team within individual giving into one that is now fully centralised and recognised within the organisation,” Stacey said. 

This growing recognition of the role and value of insight in fundraising within organisations, combined with the willingness of charities such as CLIC Sargent and Parkinson’s UK to share their work more widely is vital for the future of the sector as it changes and develops, and it’s something we must all encourage and support.


Nick Mason, Chair of the IoF Insight in Fundraising Special Interest Group



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