Wealth screening versus Yoda and The Force

yodaI came across a cool infographic from DonorSearch thanks to Bloomerang’s Monthly Nonprofit Wrap-up digest of blogs and fundraising resources. After digesting the data in the infographic, I couldn’t help but conjure up an image of Yoda talking to a fundraising professional and saying “Use your donor database you shall.” Hahaha! OK, maybe this thought was a result of Force Friday and all the marketing hype around the soon-to-be-released newest Star Wars movie. Regardless, please keep reading . . .
While there was lots of data embedded in the infographic (and you want to click-through to see that graphic), here are two no-brainers:

  • The donors most likely to donate in the future are those who have previously donated
  • Philanthropic giving to other nonprofit organizations is the second most predictive sign of future giving

Looking at these two predictive data points, Yoda would probably say:

  • To find donor prospects for your year-end giving appeal and 2016 annual campaign use your donor database.  Herh herh herh.”
  • For new prospects, look around at other organization’s annual reports, newsletters,  websites and donor honor rolls.

Having worked with non-profit organizations who use wealth screening tools, I share the following observations:

  • these tools are powerful
  • they are expensive
  • they are great for major gift planning, endowment prospecting and capital campaign evaluation and qualification work
  • it is like using a bazooka to kill a fly if you’re using it for annual campaign purposes
  • too often fundraising professionals view wealth screening as a perfect science whereas it should be seen as complimenting the human intelligence gather exercises associated with prospect identification – evaluation – qualification work

What has been your organization’s experience with donor databases, wealth screening, prospect identification/evaluation (e.g. setting targeted ask amounts) exercises? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box and try to do so in Yoda-speak. Let’s have some fun today.
To your health, here is!
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
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