Use Community Data in your Impact Stories

Use Community Data When You Fundraise

In Build Support, Strategic Planning by lisavgray

So to strengthen your online fundraising efforts, I have suggested, once or twice, that you talk about how your organization’s work has changed someone’s life. A specific someone. Tell their story before your organization came along, and show the improvement brought about by involvement with your organization. Then ask for support to bring your resources to more people in your community who need them.

Use Community Data in your Impact Stories

Show your donors the needs of your community by offering a glimpse at the community data. Offer your person-centric story, and add a community-centric appeal. If you are engaged in nonprofit work for Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, there are numerous free datasets, perhaps none so useful as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Quality of Life Explorer. This community database was created in partnership among the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, with the towns of Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, and Pineville. Its easy-to-use interface offers stats by zip code on 80+ community-data variables, including housing stock, household income, jobs, health, education, tree canopy coverage, crime rates, code violations, community engagement, energy consumption and gobs more.

Not sure how to work community data into your Impact Stories? Here are some ideas for using data to illustrate progress and need in your community:

Are you bringing affordable healthcare to Hidden Valley?

The QOL Explorer says:

  • In 2016, the average age of death in this neighborhood was 8 years younger than the county-wide average;
  • In 2018, 65% of residents in this neighborhood were within ½ mile of an outdoor public recreation area (vs. 54% county-wide);
  • In 2018, 10% of residents were within ½ mile of a Medicaid provider or free clinic (vs. 18% county-wide).

Are you fighting crime in Cotswold?

The QOL Explorer says:

  • In 2017, there were 33.9 crimes committed per 1,000 in this neighborhood (vs. 37.3 crimes county-wide);
  • In 2017, there were 46.8 fire calls per 1,000 citizens in this neighborhood (vs. 33.4 calls county-wide);
  • In 2017, there were 3.3 violent crimes per 1,000 people in this neighborhood (vs. 5.2 county-wide).

Are you boosting high-school graduation rates for students in Enderly Park?

  • In 2016, 73% of adults over 25 years of age had a high school diploma or equivalent (vs. 90% county-wide);
  • In 2017, 20% of CMS students in this neighborhood were absent 10% or more school days per year (vs. 11% county-side);
  • In 2017, 69% of CMS students in this neighborhood attended their homeschool (vs. 77% county-wide).

Are you encouraging civic participation in Providence Plantation?

  • In 2013, 19% of households here participated in ASC-sponsored arts or culture events (vs. 15% county-wide);
  • In 2016, 77.2% of registered voters here voted in the general election (vs. 74.7% county-wide);
  • In 2016, there were 30.9 calls to 311 per 100 people in this neighborhood (vs. 23.2 calls county-wide).

So to strengthen your online fundraising, cite the community data, and show your donors the scope of the problem. Point to community trends, and create urgency for more support. Infuse your Impact Stories with the emotions of a single person’s situation, then use data to speak to the community-wide needs you see. Your donors will respond.

Need help finding community data for your organization’s cause? Email me – I would love to help you find your numbers!