Tips for Cultivating Major Gift Prospects with Data Analytics

Predictive modeling and wealth screening are great ways to identify potential major gift prospects who you may not have considered in the past.  You can also mine your own database to find these prospect s too.  Below are some strategies your organization can consider with segmenting your own gift data as well as modeling/screening/appending data to your constituents to cultivate for your major gift programs:

  • Pull from your database anyone who has been giving consistently in the last three years at what you consider your mid-level giving threshold. Whether that be $250 or $1,000, and if they have shown an increase in giving in the most recent year, consider inviting them to a cultivation event.  Many of these mid-level prospects may be your transitional donors for future major gifts.  Events also maximize face-to-face contact for relationship building.  The fact that they have increased their giving level to you also shows a commitment in supporting the organization.
  • In an ideal world, it is helpful to do some level of predictive modeling and/or wealth screening.  If you have the ability to do a project like this, for any newly identified prospects who are not being cultivated for major gifts, look at those with entry level major gift modeling/wealth screening ratings and first do some initial qualification (confirm some basic asset, career, and philanthropic/political contribution data) and then make 3-6 calls and reach out to them on a one-by-one basis.  If there are too many prospects in this group, you can cull this list down by looking at those who again, have been giving mid-level gifts and/or increased their gifts in recent years.  For those whose giving is lower, not recent, or very small, consider inviting them to cultivation events similar to what is mentioned in the first bullet above.
  • To identify the ideal location for your event, you might first want to do a query to see in which zip code and/or city your highest concentration of major gift prospects live to increase the likelihood of participation.  How precise your segmentation is in regards to geography will depend upon how spread out your constituency is within your database.
  • Align your events with some identified interests from any data appends or wealth screening.  For example, see how many of these individuals show an interest or avocation with golf (Tip:  Who’s Who can be a good resource for this as well as demographic data appends with this avocation).
  • Segment your wealth screening data to determine good prospects to host a cultivation event using real estate data.  Here are a few ideas around this:
  • If you wish to have an indoor event at someone’s house, do a query on your current major donors, or even a prospective major donor, to see if they have a certain amount of square footage in their main residential property (i.e., those with 5,000+ square footage, but this will depend upon how many people you are inviting to the event).  In the Target Analytics data that we get from CoreLogic, this field is called “Building area”.
  • If you wish to have an outdoor event with a tent, for example, at a prospect or donor’s house, using the same real estate data on their main residential property and pull those whose have a certain amout of acreage on their property.  Again in the Target Analytics data that we get from CoreLogic this field is called “Lot-size or area”.
  • If you wish to have a pool party or just a pool at the event because you are having your event in the heat of summer, query in the real estate assessment data on those who have a pool, as this is a field often reported on in the assessment detail under the field entitled”Pool” and this field will simply not be blank.

These are just some of the ideas I have around utilizing different types of data analytics to cultivate major gift prospects.  What are you ideas?  Please do share!