Data + Storytelling

Inspired Action

On Monday, I had the privilege of presenting on data + strategy for Nonprofit Learning Lab's Online Institute. The hour flew by. This is such an important topic but is often overlooked. Why? Data can be overwhelming and it's hard to know what is important for your unique goal.

I'm a firm believer that not all data is created equal. That is why throughout my presentation I encouraged the participants to ask thoughtful questions, set their goals and then pay attention to the data that matters to them.

But how do you do that?

1. Set your goal

Know what is important for your organization and why. Are you trying to raise more money for a project? Do you need more volunteers for an event? Maybe you are trying to create awareness. Whatever it may be, you need to determine what your goal is so you can figure out how to achieve it.

2. Create Benchmarks

Once you know your goal, you can figure out what data helps you track it. If you want to expand, then look at geographic data. If you need to increase donations, create a goal in your conversion tab and start tracking when people are giving and why. Looking for volunteers? Examine your analytics on social media and start building a relationship with your followers and inspire them to do more and give their time.

3. Use Failure to Adjust

And don't get discouraged when you aren't meeting your goal. Use your failure to figure out why. Are people more engaged with your content on Tuesday's, but you're posting on Wednesday's? Adjust. Have a webpage where everyone drops off? Change it. Failure is a great way to test new ideas and find a message and strategy that works for your audience.

In short, data tells you everything you need to know about your supporters. When they are engaged, what stories they like to hear and what copy moves them to take action. These are all important to know so that you can tell your story in a way that creates change. Be creative and try new things. The data will tell you when you have a story that is powerful and resonates with your followers.

Stefani Zimmerman Drake

Stefani has over a decade of experience working in the US government, international NGO space and with domestic + international nonprofits. Currently on the UNDP's Roster of Communication Experts in Subsaharan Africa + certified in Google Analytics, Stefani is an analytical thinker and thoughtful storyteller who works with nonprofits to define who they are, elevate their influence and broaden their impact through strategic communications. Stefani lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, twin girls and rescue dog.