Using Tableau to Address Donor Churn - KELL Partners
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tableau to address donor churn

Using Tableau to Address Donor Churn

Combining Tableau with Salesforce can turbocharge fundraising for nonprofits and educational institutions. One of the most compelling features of Tableau is that it helps you pinpoint a problem AND quickly get to the data you need to start resolving it.

For example, if you have an issue with donor churn, your action plan would start with a list of your lapsed donors sorted from largest to smallest. Tableau enables you to get that in just a click or two.

Let’s look at a few sample fundraising dashboards from Tableau to demonstrate how this would work.

High Level View: Is There A Problem?

Our first chart presents a high-level view of total fundraising for the past four years. Total fundraising dollars have fallen for the past three years, so there’s obviously an issue here.


In order to address a fundraising issue, we can’t just say “Raise more money!” To help our teams succeed, we need to know if this is an issue with acquisition (acquiring new donors) or churn (lapsed donors). Tableau can help us answer that.

Problem With Acquisition or Churn?

With a list of all donors and donations for the past four years, we can easily categorize donors in each year as Acquired (new donor, current year), Active (gave previous and current year) or Lapsed (gave last year, not current year).  Aggregate changes in any of these categories could create the trend we saw above.

Let’s compare Acquired and Lapsed donors on a single chart. In the chart below, dollars gained from Acquired donors is shown in blue and dollars lost from Lapsed donors is shown in gray.


You can see there are two stories here.  First is that we’re acquiring new donor dollars at a steadily decreasing rate. More importantly, from a dollar perspective, we’re losing between $1.5 and $2.2 million in donor dollars every year. Now we can start to think about formulating action plans.

Action Plans: Where Do We Focus?

We should probably start with a focus on lapsed donors. That’s where the majority of our problems (and lost dollars) lie. Also, it should be easier and cheaper to keep an existing donor than to acquire a new donor.

We can dig a little deeper to sharpen our focus.  Let’s look at the same data as above, but this time, break things down by donor level from Tier 1 (largest donors) to Tier 3 (smallest).


Visualizing the data this way shows a clear action plan. We’ve added a red box to highlight the issue with Tier 1 donors. We’ve lost 64 Tier 1 donors in the last 3 years that represent over $3 million in lapsed donations. The yellow box highlights our issue with Tier 2 donors. We’ve lost 376 Tier 2 donors in the past 3 years that represent over $2.2 million.

Activating the Major Donors Team

Who are these donors? Tableau makes it easy to see with a single click. By simply right-clicking on this year’s lost donor bar, I can get a list of the actual 25 donors ($1.0 million) that we lost this year.  Here’s the list sorted by the lapsed donation amount. We can stop analyzing and get to work!


If you’re interested in using Tableau with Salesforce to spend less time analyzing problems and more time solving them, contact KELL Partners. We’ve been helping nonprofits and educational institutions go farther and faster with Salesforce for more than 10 years and have a dedicated Tableau services team to help you make the most of your data in Salesforce or any other system.  Contact us today!