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Data and Your Message
Episode Summary

The relationship between data and your message is an important one. If your message cannot reach the right people, what good is it? And how do mission-driven organizations ensure that their message is reaching the right audience? By carefully managing the data behind the people most important to your success. In this episode of Messaging on a Mission, we talk to Isaac Shalev about the kind of technology considerations nonprofits need to keep top of mind when developing both their messaging and their technology strategies.

Key Takeaways

Email marketing platforms must connect that back to donor databases in order to segment correctly and create the best messages for the best person at the right time. (Some platforms do both.)

Consider all the other places integrations are needed, such as where the money comes into the organization (e.g., website forms).

Not all nonprofit organizations have the same needs. It’s different by sector and there are bespoke tools and different vendors serving those different markets. It is a good idea to see what similar organizations are using.

When budgeting for your CRM, keep in mind how people’s jobs may change as a result.

Consider reporting needs when selecting a system. Do the canned reports ask the questions you need to have answered? If not, is the customization or extra staff time worth it?

People want to be spoken to in a way that feels authentic to them. That’s a big ask of a database. It’s an even bigger ask at a policy level. What are our policies? You can’t have database and database structures that have any consistency or do the job you want them to do without policy. To define that, to say, what are we trying to achieve?

One of the places from which organizations can start is by asking themselves about their process for updating biographical information.

Taxonomies of your crucial attributes are an important step in managing your contact data effectively.

The 80/20 rule for your work. What are those small number of attributes or data points or behaviors that are important to us to track because they explain 80% of why a person wants to support your organization?

“If you take an inefficient process and you automate it, you will magnify its inefficiency. If you take an efficient process and automate it, then you will get a lot more scale,” paraphrased from Bill Gates.

State laws apply to the residents of the state, not necessarily the sender’s state.

Organizations must have a data breach policy in place.

It’s not a great idea to collect a lot of data and have no clear way to use it. It’s not a good idea from a data management perspective, but it’s also not clear from a data privacy perspective that you’d want that.

About Our Guest

Isaac Shalev is the founder and President of Sage70, Inc., a boutique consultancy devoted to making data work for nonprofits. Isaac has over twenty years of experience in the nonprofit sector, where he has developed a reputation for helping organizations get clarity on their thorniest problems in data and technology. Sage70’s past clients include the US Golf Association, The LA Phil, Mount Holyoke College, UJA-Federation of NY, The Trust for Public Land, and IEEE.

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