Third Sector bodies have been encouraged to tap into the potential of digital marketing platforms.

According to Janet Snedden, Strategy Director at Amaze One, charities must understand what effect campaigns have on their supporters. This, she stated, means they must know precisely what marketing activities lead to particular actions and use this information to influence how they go about their next promotional drive.

However, Ms Snedden said many charities are failing to make the most of the data that could be garnered from digital channels. Indeed, she said their traditional and digital analytics teams “seem to occupy separate spaces, when together they could be doing so much more.”

“Closing the loop means smashing down the walls between digital and traditional teams,” she commented.

Ms Snedden said there are a number of compelling reasons to bring these departments together and have them working towards a single objective. For instance, she stated that combining traditional and digital analytics teams would lead to a better understanding of donors, which would allow them to improve the supporter experience.

Furthermore, she argued that linking the two and acting on this multi-channel intelligence would give charities “harmonised insights” across different platforms, which would in turn drive “closer donor relationships underpinned by smarter supporter journeys.”

“Digital and traditional techniques and measures may vary, yet both effectively operate in the same way with the mutual motivation of getting closer to donors,” Ms Snedden observed. “This convergence can help the third sector, and its effect on supporter behaviour can be dramatic.”

Ms Snedden pointed out that the divide between traditional and digital analytics was very apparent when she attended the 2015 Insight in Fundraising Awards. She noted that there were as many as five entries in the shortlist for every single category, apart from the one for Digital Analysis – which had only two.

“Why is this? Surely traditional and digital analytics perform the same function, albeit across different media channels?” she asked.

Ms Snedden suggested that Third Sector infrastructure is partly behind this problem, as some charities do not have the resources to bring disparate data sources together. As a result, she believes they must be “increasingly clever about how they operate.”

“Only by connecting all of your data can you start to build an engagement warehouse which responds and tailors messaging to exploit every point of contact with supporters,” she stated. “Ultimately, this joined-up approach can unlock powerful truths in the donor database and, critically, multiple actionable insights. The results can also deliver far greater proof of ROI.”

Ms Snedden added that insights derived from digital information are simply traditional techniques expressed online. This, she said, means charities have a collective duty to combine these two disciplines in order to “ignite the insights to fire the fundraising of the future.”

Why charities need to merge digital and traditional insights for the good of the sector, Fundraising UK Limited.