The guidance towards data-driven fundraising


Cmotions helped Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) improve their fundraising efforts by sharing knowledge on data-driven fundraising. We developed data strategies and roadmaps for 20 teams from around the world and provided them an international benchmark on data maturity.

As a result, the fundraising teams are now better equipped to use data insights to improve donor engagement and donor value. This will lead to more effective fundraising, cost savings, and increased employee satisfaction. Because they all participated in this workshop series, it is easier for data professionals and fundraising directors to collaborate and tackle shared data challenges.


The customer’s request

At Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), fundraising is managed locally in each country and region by teams of specialists in fundraising, marketing, CRM and data. As a data professional in those teams, it can be challenging to know where to begin and how to communicate the value of data to fundraising colleagues and management. The get stuck in operational tasks and are unable to take the next step to deeper and more impacting insights.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working with its global data and analytics community to benefit from each other’s experiences and best practices, particularly in specific areas like dashboarding, donor segmentation and KPIs. The “Taskforce data driven,” which coordinates strategic initiative to become data driven, asked Cmotions to provide a series of digital workshops on data strategy, specifically targeted towards fundraising, CRM and data specialists from 20 teams around the world.

The main goals of the workshops facilitated by Cmotions were to:

  1. Share their knowledge and best practices on data strategy and data-driven fundraising with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) community.
  2. Create a common understanding within the MSF community on data maturity, data strategy and the necessary steps to take.
  3. Benchmark all teams on their current data maturity and their aspirations, so it’s easier to measure progress and find the right team or person to learn from.
  4. Create roadmaps for data-driven fundraising, so it’s clear which teams have similar actions and potential to work together.

In summary, Cmotions aimed to empower MSF teams to understand and improve their data maturity, collaborate more effectively and drive more effective data-driven fundraising.

What did we do?

To make the workshops as practical and efficient as possible for the 20 teams from around the world, Cmotions used a blended learning approach. The workshops were structured as four online sessions spread out over a three-month period. This allowed participants to prepare for the workshops by consuming all relevant content, completing practical assignments and self-assessments in the Cmotions learning portal, at their own pace and time. This also made it easy for participants to prepare together with colleagues or consult a specific expert within their team, and to fit the learning in their busy schedule. The approach ensured that the participants were well-prepared for the workshops and could make the most of their time during the sessions.

The workshop program included the following topics:
The vision, mission, and potential use cases for data-driven fundraising. The participants discussed the role of data in their fundraising strategy and activities, identified potential data use cases that could create value for the fundraising team, and learned how to communicate this in an engaging and motivating way.
Data maturity and ambition. Using the four stages of data maturity, the participants assessed their current data maturity and set goals for the future. They considered how to reach their desired level of data maturity in the next year, in two, three, or five years, or if they even want to reach a higher level. They also looked at the four organizational aspects – people, organization, processes, and technology – and how they need to be aligned to reach the desired level of data maturity.
Deep dive into data expertise areas. The participants were introduced to the key expertise areas crucial for data-driven success, such as data management, business intelligence, analytics and data science, automation and data strategy. They evaluated their own current competence in these areas through self-assessments. They also identified the steps they need to take to reach the level of data maturity they established earlier in the program.
Roadmap and collaboration. The participants discussed actions, projects and initiatives that should be on their roadmap for the coming year and beyond. They learned about best practices for the challenges they face in taking the next steps in data-driven fundraising and identified potential areas for collaboration with other teams.

What were the results?

The data community of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) gained a better understanding of their similarities and differences in terms of data maturity, aspirations, and challenges. By using a common language and completing the same self-assessments, the group was able to design individual roadmaps, but identify shared opportunities for collaboration on the next steps.

At the end of the workshop, each participant received a one-page summary that included their own vision and mission statement for data-driven fundraising, the results of the self-assessments, and the data use cases. This document can be used to inform and inspire other parts of the MSF organization about the potential value of data, such as increasing donor engagement and lifetime value, and improving the effectiveness of omnichannel donor journeys. It also provided insights on the necessary next steps to take, including a comprehensive roadmap for implementing these actions.

As a group, all participants received a benchmark document that detailed the data maturity of all teams in all five expertise areas, making it easier for them to identify the right counterparts across the world to learn from or collaborate with. The document also provided information on the necessary skills, roles, and technologies for each expertise area, making it excellent reference material when revisiting the roadmap at a later stage.


There is a lot of potential in having a worldwide community of data professionals, even when they operate in independent local teams. To fully utilize this potential, it is important to gain a better understanding of the similarities and differences in their journey to becoming more data-driven. With this understanding, a centralized task force, such as MSF’s, can be more efficient in coordinating knowledge sharing, peer reviews, hiring external expertise and possibly even sharing data or ICT services.

To get the right level of detail, it is important to assess the teams’ data maturity on different organizational aspects and the required expertise areas for data-driven fundraising. A blended learning approach, combining interactive, digital sessions with a learning portal for content and assignments, was crucial in making the program effective with over 40 participants from 20 teams across the world.

Client feedback

The participants graded Cmotions with amazing scores:

Total program: 8.5
Materials and presentations: 8.8
Facilitator: 9.5

“It has been very good to be able to conceptualize what being data driven entails, and all the knowledge gained has already helped us become better both because of the subconscious knowledge applied and the specific goals developed.

All the concrete actionable information received, and especially defining and sharing the maturity stages has been very helpful. The content has been very good, but we are also very impressed by [the facilitator’s] ability to give concrete and insightful feedback in the common workshops as well - and showing how it can be helpful for all the different maturity stages.

On our end it has been useful to have several colleagues in the department join the process and receive a shared understanding and commitment of the data driven journey.”

Anoushka Skaar NordbyCRM Analyst at Médecins Sans Frontières (Norway)
Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer

Stijn Kuijpers

+31 6 11 31 50 99

Need help with getting your data in order? Don't hesitate to contact Stijn.

+31 6 11 31 50 99

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