Charities are "drowning in data" and struggling to realise the fundraising potential of the information they hold on donors, according to a new report by the software company Blackbaud and the research consultancy nfpSynergy.
The report, Data Driven Fundraising, says that 70 per cent of charities in the UK said there was untapped potential in the data their organisations hold.
Researchers surveyed 338 charity professionals for the report. It says that 30 per cent of respondents felt they were doing a good job in utilising their data for marketing and fundraising.
Charities said one major issue was an inability to integrate digital data into customer relationship management systems. Only 38 per cent of respondents said they were able to integrate online data into their CRM systems and just 15 per cent were able to integrate their social media data.
Only a third of respondents said they were able to integrate data from third-party online giving platforms such as JustGiving.
The report says charities were concerned about the challenges they faced with data. Forty-one per cent of respondents agreed with the statement that poor data made it hard for their organisation to engage with supporters. Fifty-six per cent said they felt their organisation lacked the resources to make best use of their data.
According to the report, the most common data challenge was manually keying in data from different systems, with 57 per cent of respondents citing this as an issue.
Sixty-two per cent of respondents thought technology was key to the future growth of their organisations and 36 per cent said their use of technology had increased the level of funds raised.
Azadi Sheridan, product manager, CRM, at Blackbaud Europe, said: "The sheer volume of data generated in modern fundraising means some not-for-profits feel as if they are drowning in data and struggling to make sense of the information they hold on donors and supporters.
"Data can be invaluable for fundraising and marketing, but not-for-profits must be able to analyse that data to get the maximum value from it. Not utilising social media data is a major missed opportunity to better understand supporters."
Jo Graham, research director at nfpSynergy, said: "It is clear that technology was seen as hugely important to many not-for-profits, but resources were a major issue. Data is key to modern fundraising and the findings in the report suggest that not-for-profits are aware of this but need help unlocking the true potential of that data."