The holiday season is a very special time for gifts of all types, and of course we want to make sure to say thank you for them. We also want to be sure to bring those new donors closer into the nonprofit’s circle to engage them in more meaningful ways. This week my colleague Jessica Woodbridge shares great tips on using free and low-cost tools already at your disposal to get an early new year jump on thanking and engaging. ~Helen
Your team has worked so hard all year long to meet and maybe even exceed your organization’s fundraising goals. That final push at the end of the year usually turns into an “all-hands-on-deck” situation: call-outs to donors and prospective donors, lunches paired with solicitations, and appeals with multi-tiered approaches including mailings followed by e-blasts, and more call-outs! The checks are rolling in, credit cards are being processed, and new records are being created in your database with brand new donor data.
Wow! That’s all so exciting! The question now is:
How can you turn all this data into usable information for your team?
By highlighting prospects who show some sort of wealth capacity, gift officers can begin to establish relationships with these new donors and cultivate them so they will become repeat donors and even consider upgrading in the future.
If you can, use a screening vendor to run these new names through a batch screening; that’s a really efficient and quick starting point to help filter the top prospects.
If you don’t have a screening tool or are simply interested in getting the information to your team as quickly as possible, a great starting point is to export all the new donors into an Excel document along with the following data points (if available):
- Constituent ID
- Name(s), including spouse and other family members, business
- Address, including the zip code
- Gift amount
- Email address
- Soft credit recipient, including business, family foundation, donor advised fund (DAF), etc.
Then you can begin to make some sense of the data:
- Add some columns at the end of your data to flag your priority prospects in whatever way will help you and your team. It could be by tiers (i.e. wealthiest prospects=Tier 1, second wealthiest prospects=Tier 2, etc.) or just mark them all as “yeses”, for example.
- Using Forbes Wealthiest Zip Codes (link here), you can flag your new donors who have these zip codes either by a manual process (sort by zip, use CTRL Find, etc.) or use VLOOKUP in Excel to flag anyone with a zip code from the Forbes list.
- Sort by gift amount (largest gift to smallest gift).
- Review email syntaxes looking specifically for anything that doesn’t have @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, etc. and instead uses a business email address (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Review anyone that has a soft credit recipient listed (i.e. if it came through a DAF or Family Foundation)
You’ll want to consider sharing the top tier of prospects you find immediately with the gift officers/leadership so they can make some personal touches (i.e. a personal phone call thanking the donor, a special thank you letter separate from the tax receipt/acknowledgement). Depending on your team’s policies, you may also start to assign some of these prospects into fundraiser’s portfolios.
What you’ve done so far is to flag the prospects who show a high wealth capacity. However, your gift officers (and possibly further research) will need to assess the person’s true affinity and inclination towards your organization, but that’s for another blog post!
At this point, you’ve helped set your team up for success right off the bat in the new year and hopefully can make some great progress with donor retention and upgrades in the future!