August 5, 2008

Book Review—Fundraising Analytics: Using Data to Guide Strategy

Here is a very in-depth and thoughtful review of Josh's book. The feedback for this work has been tremendous—it has even become standard reading for MBA programs.

If you have not yet had a chance to pick up a copy, read this review, and see if it might be useful in your work/professional development (I am betting it will be).

Fundraising Analytics: Using Data to Guide Strategy
Review by: Gayle L. Gifford, ACFRE, CharityChannel

Fundraising Analytics is a gift to the masses ... a lens into the world of the sophisticated fundraising operations that pump the big bucks into major US institutions. Written by Joshua M. Birkholz, the director of the analytics division of Bentz Whaley Flessner, a major fundraising consulting firm, the book’s subtitle is “Using Data to Guide Strategy” and that’s what the book delivers.

I read this book from the perspective of the majority of US charities (82%) – the ones with the budgets below $1 million. At first glance, this book might seem an irrelevant fantasy fit only for the top strata of charities. None of these nonprofits have the legions of prospect researchers, major gifts officers, data analysts, and annual fund managers discussed in this book. Heck, it’s a lucky find to encounter a small organization that has even one fundraising professional and/or a functioning donor database from which one might extract the kind of information that Birkholz discusses.

But don’t ignore this book. Ease your way. Try jumping ahead to Chapter 5, Data-Driven Prospect Management, and you’ll find a wealth of easily comprehensible wisdom on running a fundraising program that is worth the price of the book.

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