Thursday, July 01, 2010

How England Could Have Won The World Cup If Only They Had Used a Fundraising Database

Forget about goal-line technology or dodgy refereeing. Don't worry about lacklustre performances or inept defending. (Actually, do worry about inept defending - that was indefensible). And who cares about whether Lampard can play with Gerrard, or whether Rooney plays better with Heskey?

Well, actually, maybe we should care about that last point. Because that does matter - and England could have understood that, and really could have won the World Cup, if only they had used a database, preferably a fundraising database. Honestly. Don’t believe me? Then read on...

The thing is, fundraising, like football, is a contact sport. It is all about relationships and communication, action and analysis, pitches, targets, goals... I could go on. And yes, they are both about the money. But it is also about research and tactics. England just needed to understand how they should be playing each match based on their previous games. And the best way to understand that? Data analysis. More accurately, data analysis on a relationship management database.

Because a fundraising database could hold all the information which don Fabio could ever have wished to have known. All the players would be Contacts (date of birth, club, number of games etc), their past matches would be Communication History, and any half-decent database (Brian) would be able to record plenty of additional match info on that history, like the opponent, quality, performance, passes made etc. Heck, it could even record strikers' goals on the Donation records, and by doing that use all those lovely reports showing performance and goal analysis... I would say that the database could even record how much each player earns, although I realise we might need to extend the field lengths for that.

But the coup-de-grĂ¢ce is of course that the fundraising database could hold all the relationships between the players. Who plays with who, who was playing with who, what position, how long and so on. And then, of course, with a quick Crystal Report here and a nifty pivot table there, one could compare all that data with the Communication History and Goals, analyse it against the opposition, and do predictive analysis to see how England should play against the USA, Germany or the mighty Slovenia. And then we would know that Lampard can play with Gerrard, as long as Gerrard plays in the hole, and David James plays well in goal when he has Terry and Rio in front of him, and only a fool would take off Defoe and bring on Heskey with 15 minutes to go when we need to score 3 goals. And, thus, understand exactly from history what we should do in the future.

Football: it’s a simple game.

If you have read this far (well done!) and are hoping for a serious point, well okay, here you go. My point here is that as users of fundraising databases, we should sometimes stretch our minds and think outside the box to consider if we could actually use the systems for just a bit more than we are doing right now. (Although, Frank, if you are reading this, next time you are outside the box, please think about 6 inches lower). Why should we just have to record basic donor information and their gifts, who they know and what events they quite like attending. What else could we record? (And yes, yes, I know there is that pesky little thing called the data protection act, but that aside...) How else could we be using our databases to really push the boundaries and truly help the fundraisers and decision makers see data differently and give us an advantage over other, competitive campaigns.

Anyone got any thoughts or ideas? Not on fundraising, of course, but on how we could use the fundraising database to help ensure England win the next World Cup? Anyone? Please?

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