Understanding donor behaviour with the cloud

June 23, 2015 Claranet Limited


Only one in four charities use donor data to make decisions about the direction of their campaigns.[1]

And at the same time 58% of charities currently lack “basic digital skills”, according to the UK Business Digital Index 2015 report by Lloyds Bank.[2]

By moving towards a more digitally focused and data-driven way of fundraising, charities can learn huge amounts about their donors, their preferences and how they behave.

These insights deliver a high level of donor understanding that can be used to optimise business strategy, engage personally with donors and to focus campaigns on those channels with the greatest donation potential.

But crunching huge amounts of data in real time is incredibly intensive in terms of computer resources. For money-tight non-profits, the cloud offers the most flexible computing resource. Its pay-as-you-go pricing model means that charities don’t need to pay upfront for hardware, or maintain idle resources.

The cloud offers exciting opportunities to flexibly and cost-effectively leverage big data through two main routes: personalisation and optimisation.


People donate to charity for a host of different reasons. Personalisation is a tool you can use to understand your donors, why they donate, and then tailor your offering to their needs and preferences.

JustGiving.com, the donations platform recently demonstrated this with a turn to big data.

Mike Bugembe, Chief Analytics Officer at JustGiving.com explains the change in their operations:

“It was very transactional. You gave the money, you disappeared, we didn’t give you a chance to discover what you were passionate about. After working with researchers, we figured that we could fundamentally change the action of giving, moving it from transactional to engaging, personal and relevant.”[3]

And due to the amount of data being analysed, the company found it could only get the compute necessary to power the analysis through the cloud.


Big data can also help you to gather donor and donation information and then to target your campaigns more effectively on that basis.

By collecting information on both in-person and online donations, charities can gather and uncover relevant insights in real-time, and then communicate these back to head office through cloud platforms such as Exchange Email or Skype for Business, all as part of Microsoft’s Office 365.

The cloud can also be used to further your cause more directly.

For example, Homeless Link is a not-for-profit that works with charities and local authorities including Cambridge and Brighton to help the homeless.[4]

They started using a cloud-based customer relationship management platform to store data on every person they help, where they were first found and all the stop-off points on their journey to rehoming.

The organisation hopes to use the data to find out where and why care is working and where it is not proving effective.

They even use the reporting tool to demonstrate their effectiveness to their funders, helping to secure future funding.

Cloud and Big Data

Use the cloud to get closer to your donors.

Unlocking insights into how, why and where people donate can help fundraising organisations to optimise the amount of money they raise for their given cause: and cloud technology and big data hold the key.

Find out more about how Claranet's managed hosting services can help your charity to do amazing things.


[1] https://medium.com/backchannel/non-profits-are-going-to-target-you-and-i...

[2] http://resources.lloydsbank.com/insight/uk-business-digital-index/

[3] http://www.techworld.com/news/big-data/just-giving-working-on-algorithm-...

[4] http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/service-management/charity-homeless-...


Previous Article
5 reasons why you need a single cloud services provider
5 reasons why you need a single cloud services provider

73% of enterprises would prefer to have a single committed cloud partner

Next Article
How to accelerate the application lifecycle with cloud and DevOps
How to accelerate the application lifecycle with cloud and DevOps

We live in an application-first world. And the closer you can get to continuous integration (AKA continuous...


First Name
Last Name
Thank you!
Error - something went wrong!