Leveraging Demographic Data in Raiser’s Edge™: A Guide to Better Fundraising for Nonprofits

database health Jul 24, 2023

In the world of nonprofits, data is gold. Among the most valuable pieces of data that nonprofits can gather are demographic details about their donors and volunteers. Demographic data provides a snapshot of who your supporters are, from age and gender to occupation and income level. This information, when harnessed correctly, can be transformative for your fundraising and engagement strategies. 

The APRA Ethics and Compliance Committee on DEI Data Collection said it best with the following two statements:

"DEI data can be considered sensitive, due to histories of discrimination, persecution, and lack of access."

"DEI data represents how we determine who is seen and who is erased, who counts and who does not."

Demographic Data: What and Why?

Demographic data refers to the statistical data relating to the population or specific groups within it. In the context of nonprofits, this includes information about your donors and volunteers, such as age, gender, ethnicity, income bracket, education level, and more.

Collecting this data can provide a multitude of benefits to your organization:

  1. Understanding Your Donors and Volunteers: Demographic data can provide insights into who your donors and volunteers are, their backgrounds, and what motivates them.

  2. Tailored Fundraising Strategies: With a better understanding of your donors, you can tailor your fundraising strategies to match their interests and capabilities.

  3. Diversification: By understanding the demographics of your existing donor base, you can identify gaps and opportunities to diversify and expand your outreach.

  4. Improved Communication: The more you know about your donors and volunteers, the better you can tailor your communication to resonate with them.

Only collect demographic data that has a business use, and be transparent about why your organization is collecting this data. It's okay to say, "we're working to better understand our investors and clients served."

Collecting Demographic Data: How?

The best way to collect demographic data is to ask your constituencies for it. Raiser’s Edge™ provides several avenues to collect and/or store demographic data, like in fields on Bio 2 or attributes. You can collect information through:

  1. Donation Forms: The most direct method to collect demographic information is through your donation forms. However, balance is key; asking for too much information can discourage donors.

  2. Surveys: Periodic surveys can help collect more in-depth demographic data. Using a platform that integrates with Raiser’s Edge™ can streamline this process.

  3. Third-Party Data Enhancement Services: Services like these can append demographic data to your existing records based on publicly available information. Be cautious with these options as they are not always accurate. 

  4. Volunteer Registration Forms: These forms are another opportunity to collect demographic data, especially from those who support your organization through their time and effort.

Below is an example of a survey that pops up after a donation is made. This is not a required survey, and you'll see that every question has an option for "I'd prefer not to say."

Use-Cases for Demographic Data in Fundraising

With a treasure trove of demographic data in your Raiser’s Edge™ database, here are some use-cases that can help boost your fundraising efforts:

  1. Segmentation: Use demographic data to segment your donors and volunteers into specific groups. Segmentation allows for targeted messaging and appeals, thus enhancing your engagement rates.

  2. Donor Retention: Understanding your donors can lead to better engagement, which in turn, can improve donor retention. By tailoring your approach based on demographics, you can make your donors feel recognized and valued.

  3. Identifying Major Donor Prospects: By analyzing income levels and giving history, you can identify potential major donors and tailor your approach to secure larger donations.

  4. Grant Applications: When applying for grants, having robust demographic data can demonstrate the diversity and breadth of your support base, enhancing your appeal to grant-making organizations.

  5. Program Development: Understanding who your donors and volunteers are can help inform the development of new programs or initiatives. For instance, if you have a large number of young donors, launching a mentorship or internship program could be beneficial.


In the ever-evolving nonprofit landscape, data-driven decision-making has become a cornerstone of successful operations. By capturing and leveraging demographic data within your Raiser’s Edge™ database, your nonprofit can not only gain invaluable insights about your supporters but also refine your fundraising strategies to maximize outcomes.

Remember, the strength of Raiser’s Edge™ lies not just in its features, but in how effectively you can leverage the data it houses. 

About Mary Hackett

Mary Hackett is a vibrant and engaging powerhouse in the world of major gift expertise, with a sparkling career steeped in the intricacies of fundraising operations. Residing in the picturesque town of Bend, Oregon, Mary's professional journey is as lively and inspiring as her scenic surroundings. Her extensive experience in fundraising is marked by a unique blend of strategic insight and a contagious enthusiasm that has consistently propelled organizations to new heights of success. With a knack for connecting with people and a deep understanding of the nuances of philanthropy, Mary has become a sought-after expert in her field. Her approach to fundraising is not just about meeting targets; it's about building relationships, weaving stories, and creating impactful experiences that resonate with donors and communities alike. In Mary's world, every fundraising campaign is an adventure, filled with opportunities to make a meaningful difference while having a whole lot of fun along the way. Want to work with Mary? 

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Learn more at www.maryhackett.co

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