5 fundraising data sins

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Is data boring? For some, probably not. For most, absolutely. But one of the key reasons it gets a bad press is because people don’t know the difference between data – and information. It takes clever people to understand and interpret data. All most of us really want is information.

There’s a great distinction and exploration here if you want more. But, essentially, data is raw and unorganised until processed. Information, in a context and organised tells us something. Given that, we get a bit lost with data, leading to some really bad practice. Fundraising data sin. Confess…you will have sinned. Here are 5 of the worst…

  1. Not recording information, capturing facts or filling in a database. Guilty fundraisers are everywhere. We are relationship fundraisers, or we are supposed to be. But we are human. And that means we can’t remember and we move on. Imagine you called your bank and they had forgotten who you were. Exactly
  2. Blocking. Becoming a gatekeeper on your terms. Preventing others from having information or data because you decide for whatever reason they aren’t worthy. The decision is based on narrow self-interest. Or ignorance. Either way…bad
  3. Leaving it to someone else. Data is for geeks. Fundraisers are about relationships. Not. Then the someone else is forgotten about, ignored or worse, shunned when they need something to do their job. It’s about you and all of us. Lead.
  4. Being behind and not in front. Your systems and processes are state of the art …in 1998. Playing catch up means you leap ahead to 2006. Facebook was invented in 2004. Get fitter, faster and ahead.
  5. Not seeing that it’s about real people. It’s not really about numbers. It’s about humans. They lead complete lives organically and not in straight lines. A database is about human behaviour – the very thing that drives everything that we do. Distance yourself from that reality and the sin is complete.

Data is information and insight. It’s the route to understanding, to service, to personal, to human. To giving more and better. Sinners. Repent.

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