Using Big Data and Fundraising Data Analytics for Marketing


The evolution and growth of big data is transforming the way we market and connect with donors and prospects. But, what does this data mean for commercial non-profit markets, and how can it be leveraged? Let’s explore how big data and fundraising data analytics is influencing our practices, and how we can navigate through this new space effectively.

What is Big Data?

Ask 10 people, and you may get 10 different answers. Big Data can generally be defined as data from multiple sources, combined in ways to make it informative and actionable. By combining data from disparate sets, patterns and insights emerge, and this actually creates more data! As we recognize patterns and trends in the data, these relationships, not previously a part of the data set, become new bits of data ripe for mining and analysis.

As time goes on, bigger data sets are also generated because information is being collected from social media, smart phones, cameras, satellites, remote sensors and other newly emerging technologies. 90% of the world’s data today has been created in the last 2 years alone. Every day, we create an estimate of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. That’s 2.5 with 17 zeroes behind it! Needless to say, there’s an enormous amount of data that marketers or fundraisers can take advantage of.

What does Big Data mean to the marketer or fundraiser?


To the fundraiser or marketer, Big Data is the ability to see each consumer or prospect in a 360-degree view, and to personalize messages and interactions with that individual to create the ultimate purchasing or donating experience. We all know relationships are the key to successful marketing. Making sure that our prospects have the best experience they can have with our organization, whether it is a luxury brand selling luxury goods, or a nonprofit seeking funding for their mission, will improve their results.

One of the key buzzwords in marketing these days is “relevance.” Companies and organizations are generating content and practicing content marketing, but the key to making content marketing work is to be sure that the content we put forth is relevant to the audience we are targeting. That’s where  fundraising data analytics and big data comes in. Knowing your customers’ likes and dislikes; buying and donating behaviors; relationships with others in your universe; and most importantly, their wealth, and buying or investing power, allows you the ability to make your messages truly relevant on an almost individual basis.

Want to learn more about how to utilize data in your fundraising strategy? Download our Data-Driven Annual Fund workbook today!

How can I harness the power of Big Data?

So, given the high volume of data points generated, and the barriers to accessing and processing all these points, how can marketing or fundraising professionals reap the benefits of Big Data? To leverage fundraising data analytics, and big data, the fundraiser and marketer must:

  • Capture
  • Curate
  • Transform
  • Normalize
  • Parse
  • Combine
  • Analyze
  • Report, and
  • Visualize

These actions and activities would require more resources than most small to mid-sized businesses have on hand. So how can the small shop leverage  big data? How can the mid-sized nonprofit use fundraising data analytics to continue measuring the relationship between investment and fundraising?  How can this data be utilized without investing inordinate resources on data collection, curation, and analysis?

Selecting the right Big Data Partner

The answer is finding the right partner. Choosing the right Big Data partner can make your marketing and fundraising messages resonate with your unique audiences. When you’re shopping for a data partner, consider the following questions:

Does this partner understand wealth?

While behavior is an important element, wealth is the true driver for both purchasing and donating.  Does this partner have experience curating data?  For all of us who have tried to merge two spreadsheets of different sizes, or import data into an existing structured CRM, or transform text into numeric data, we can begin to glean the many challenges of working with huge data sets that require many steps to massage into a meaningful whole.  It’s beneficial to work with a Big Data partner who routinely works with data sets of all types and sizes.

Is the potential partner willing to work with you to select the data you need to append, and to customize a data solution for your needs?

Too much data can be as bad as not enough data.  Make sure you get the right fit by selecting a partner who can assist by understanding your needs and providing a customized solution. It’s equally important that your partner is leveraging resources that allow you create a wealth search and help you understand a potential or existing donor’s capacity to spend, invest, or give.

Does the partner add value?

Data is the foundation for knowledge and insight, but you need a partner with a robust analytics understanding who can add value to your data with ratings and scores, predictive modeling, clustering analysis and other techniques.  Analysis is where the true value of data is derived.

Will the partner work with your data?

Much of your most valuable data resides in your own CRM or DMS.  By combining the data you have with additional Big Data sets, you can extract the most value. Having a partner who can work with both, and who understands your business needs and challenges will reap the best results.

Does the partner have all the data you need?

Shopping piecemeal for data is time consuming and difficult.  So finding one partner who has wealth, demographic, lifestyle, behavioral, and biographic data at the individual and household levels. This can parse, normalize, and combine all your data points, and saving you hours of aggravation.


Organizations of any size and any level of data competency can harness the insights of fundraising data analytics with the right partner. If you’d like to learn more about the power of  fundraising data analytics, contact us to speak with one of our experienced consultants.

High Precision Marketing: Using Data, Personalization, and Digital Persona

precision marketing

precision marketing

Wouldn’t it be great if all customers drove around with telling signs or bumper stickers indicating their interests and affinities? Let’s explore how prioritizing precision marketing can help you connect with potential and existing donors and prospects.

Evolution of Personalization in Marketing

From this image, one can surmise that the driver of this car has varied interests. She believes in organic farming practices, eating organic foods; she loves to read, she has traveled to different places, she is artistic; perhaps spiritual but definitely passionate as her many bumper stickers indicate! Even if it’s not all true, it’s meant to be directionally aspirational.

If this happens to be your prospective customer, it is easy to understand what she may be passionate about. It is consequently easy to personalize her customer experience with precision marketing. If you are a grocery store, you know that she would use coupons to buy organic or local produce. If you are a travel company, you could update her on your eco-tourism offers.

However, in a world where more customers live digital lives than not, it is now a different ball game to identify their interests, affinities, and preferences. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) recently reported that over 60% of organizations still rely on mass marketing or generic segmentation. While this may be the status quo, marketers are well aware that personalization is moving from a novelty to a necessity. BCG predicts that there is an $800 Billion shift in revenue towards the 15% of first movers towards personalization and precision marketing.

Webinar: AI-Driven Segmentation

Interested in learning how to use AI-Driven customer segmentation to personalize ad campaigns? Register for our webinar this Wednesday at 11 AM!


Role of Wealth Data in Precision Marketing

Easily gathered Digital footprints, interpreted through the use of Big Data, Machine Learning, and Advanced Analytics are very common now. Morgan Stanley has called this the data decade and that the right kind of data and analytics could benefit organizations within every industry.

Precision marketing and personalization need to go beyond demographics to include responsibly curated psychographic and lifestyle data. Wealth-aware Campaigns prove to be high precision, highly private while delivering higher conversions and high impact outcomes.

Charities can leverage personalization to find the right donor to support their cause and empower communities around them. Corporations can use precision marketing to deliver a tailored and thereby improved customer experience.

Precision Marketing Tools

In the digital world, our prospecting solutions can help nonprofits and corporations identify the above woman with all those bumper stickers. We can, in fact, go a step further and find more donors, diners, travelers or prospects like her. For instance, our look-alike models can help find a community of similarly minded individuals who may want to donate to a cause that provides subsidized microloans to small farms. By the same token, their interest might be in investing in clean energy or sustainability projects.

Our proprietary scoring technique not only helps identify donors or customers but also indicates their propensity to give. With this, organizations can not only understand that this is the relevant community to reach, but they can also evaluate the giving or spending potential held by this group.

If you’re looking for your next passionate customer or donor, find the next best prospect through data. Engage them through precision marketing to see higher conversions and consequently lowered acquisition costs.

Contact us to learn more about how to identify your next best donor or prospect. Here at WealthEngine, we can help you understand who, in your current network, is capable of giving major gifts or making high-value purchases. Our SOC 2, Type II certified WealthCloud with secure WealthAPI enables access to the largest curated wealth database. This can be easily integrated into your next wealth-aware campaign, transforming your practices.

Prospect Automation: Why Old Ways of Prospecting Will No Longer Deliver Results

prospect automation

At WealthEngine, we’ve been in the business for 20-plus years. We understand wealth at a granular level. We’ve been curating 250 million profiles, spanning 170 million households, and have made the data easily accessible for all to use.

3 Key Trends in Prospecting

Whether you are looking for your next best customer or your next best donor, we will continue empowering you, and help you meet your goals, by working in ways that are compatible with the dynamic nature of the data landscape. In this endeavor, I have seen that our industry is being shaped by the convergence of three unique trends:

1.   First, market segments comprised of millennials and Gen Zers are fundamentally different from those we have communicated with before. They come in with a very clear point of view and awareness. These qualities enable them to engage with products, people, technologies, and processes differently.

In the next decade, millennials and Gen Zers are going to form ⅔ of our population. They may not have the money yet since baby-boomers control 46% of their assets, but Gen Zers and millennials fundamentally control household spends. In fact, they control 70% of all discretionary spending. This indicates that they have a tremendous impact on what we do every single day.

2.   Second is the unbundling of services. This trend has a huge impact on almost every field. There’s been the unbundling of the hotel industry with AirBnB’s emergence, among other businesses that have followed a similar model. The success of companies such as Uber and Postmates are also prime examples of this trend. The sharing economy and emphasis on access to assets as opposed to ownership are all part of this unbundling.

3.   The third and most important trend is personalization. This trend affects practically every industry. Let’s consider a bank. People have been able to have unique experiences with their banking provider resulting in reduced churn by 10% to 30%, increase revenue by 30% to 40%, and increased engagement by two to three times.

While these figures are great, banks and financial institutions have to learn to engage with new generations as they operate and engage differently.


Changes in Prospecting and the Emergence of Prospect Automation

With these trends not only emerging but converging, I believe that the old ways of prospecting are fundamentally broken. The error-prone, manual creation process, engaging with clients in broad ways, and the “spray-and-pray” approach of reaching customers online, are just not very effective. These methods produce poor conversion rates and people stop caring. For example, almost everyone utilizes some form of marketing automation, whether it’s through online messaging or direct print mail marketing. The problem is that, when you spend that dollar, you just don’t know how effective it is. In fact, marketers know that when they spend billions of dollars a year, half of it is going to be wasted. So, the problem lies in not knowing which half!

I fundamentally believe that there is a gap between how sales works and how marketing works. There are gaps in automation, engagement, and personalization because the number of attributes that really uniquely define an individual has fundamentally changed.

These gaps can be uniquely filled by WealthEngine in a way that that is hitherto unexplored. We call this gap the prospect automation gap. We believe that prospect automation has unique ways of nurturing our existing customers and identifying high- value prospects.

So, the next question is: how does this all come together in the context of prospect automation? How can you find your next best prospect? And, when you find them, what is the next best thing to do with them?


Advantages of Prospect Automation

The idea of creating the next best action, when you find the next best prospect has to be automated. Not only can machine learning and AI  be leveraged to curate new sets of information, but they are also able to connect the dots, score the data, model it, and find unique insights. This helps you identify & connect with high-position targets you wouldn’t have found if you hadn’t acquired data using prospect automation.

Upon acquiring data on prospects, you then need to understand three unique aspects: their capacity, propensity, and intent to live, give, save, spend, and travel. The ability to do that, all in a structured way from within the same application platform, is unique to WealthEngine.

To explain further, we have been able to combine all this functionality into a compelling new platform that we’ve enabled through an API that you can access, automate and operationalize within your own environments. The option to personalize those wealth profiles with a unique wealth score can not only give you hindsight but also insight and foresight on a prospect, all on the same platform. This new solution addresses the prospect automation gap and propagates a new and effective way of nurturing prospects.

You can leverage prospect automation regardless of how you want to reach the user. It could be through an owner-management system, a sales automation system, a digital automation system, or another system. We can seamlessly integrate across all of these dimensions in a unique way. All of the rich attributes for a given wealth profile are now readily available across your systems.

Our AI and machine learning technology connect the dots between prospecting and personalization, between segmenting and scoring, between prospects and past donations, utilizing something we call learning science. We’ve baked learning science into the core of our platform, which we’re really excited about launching in our big 9.0 release.


WealthEngine 9.0

This new prospect engagement platform is unique in the industry. It minds the gaps when it comes to data, engagement, personalization, and predictive analysis. With the 9.0 release comes a new personalization paradigm, meaning that the future of wealth screening is available to you now.

This new system truly elevates the game through four key factors:

  1. We help you reduce your cost of prospect acquisition dramatically. 10, to 20, to 30% in some cases will help you increase lifetime value by 2x to 5x.
  2. We help you dramatically increase your circle of connections through our circle of friends feature.
  3. You can directly measure lift from your campaigns contributions and tie it back to your marketing ROI.
  4. Personalized wealth direct campaigns will change the prospecting game, especially in the way you interact with the next generation of prospects.

When packaged well together, this is going to be a new way forward for both commercial and nonprofit organizations. This new and secure platform is unlike any other. WealthEngine 9.0 provides you with new data that are refreshed almost daily; the ability to connect you to nationwide benchmarks; and run predictive modeling and scoring.

I believe that this new approach to prospect management can create a whole new world of engagement for the $30 trillion that will be passed on between generations. I hope you share in our vision that could help shape the future together.

Fundraising Campaign Ideas: 5 Things to Do If Your Capital Campaign Stalls

fundraising campaign ideas

You’ve started your campaign! Now what? In order to maintain and oversee its success, you have to move systematically with your fundraising efforts. But, what do you do when your efforts slow down and your capital campaign stalls? Here are some fundraising campaign ideas to help you to navigate through anything that might bump your goal off course.

Signs That Your Campaign is Stalling

You’ve started your campaign, and have begun to fill out your gift table. It feels like things are going smoothly, but then your efforts begin to slow down. You may start thinking, “Why are we losing traction? Why now?” Firstly, it’s important to evaluate the work you’ve put in so far. It’s important to ask yourself: What’s the capability in my database with my existing donors? Are we going to the same major gift well over and over again? Are people getting burnt out? What is our pipeline looking like?

Any stalls experienced during your campaign may stem the following areas:

1. Gifts are coming in slowly

If you’ve already started constructing your building or other specialty projects for your campaign, donors may not experience the same sense of urgency as you do to collect donations. If they can see the final result or even parts of it, donors may be under the impression that their efforts are no longer needed. Although you have collected major gifts to secure the bulk of your project, there are still sections of the campaign that have yet to be paid for. These expenses are typically covered by the donations of individual donors in the form of small gifts. If it takes an unusually long amount of time to procure these payments, your project is at risk of failing. Once this happens, it takes about 10 years for an organization to recover from the losses they’ve endured, and to regain recognition in their community.

2. Staff is getting burnt out

Putting together a capital campaign is an intense effort to meet an organization’s campaign goal. This means that the staff, including paid employees and volunteers, have to work just as efficiently and effectively to realize the pending campaign goal. Although the experience of creating a campaign can be exciting, unless additional experienced staff members are hired to work on the campaign specifically, it can prove to be an exhausting venture. Not only are staff members meant to help organize and oversee the progress of the campaign, but they’re also meant to continue completing their existing assignments. By not checking in or divvying up tasks appropriately, the efforts of existing staff members and volunteers may unintentionally slow down, which can potentially spill over into how quickly the campaign goal is realized.

Common Pitfalls that Lead to Campaign Stalls

Now that you’ve understood why your campaign has stalled, it’s important to identify actions or areas that may have contributed to your grinding halt. There are three factors that may influence your ability to maintain your campaign’s success:

1. Messaging is not resonating with individual donors

While it’s important to articulate your organization’s mission, campaign goal, and hopes for the future, it’s even more important to forge a personal connection with your individual donors. If potential donors feel that their contributions only benefit your organization, and there’s no aspect of the campaign that benefits them, they may feel less inclined to provide a gift, big or small.

2. Not having enough individual donors

Although 75% of any campaign goal is taken care of by major gift leads, the remainder of any campaign is completed by individual donors. By not communicating accurately or enough with individual donors, you’re at risk of drawing out your campaign for a long period of time.

3. Ambiguous or complicated goals

When creating a campaign, your first step is to create a goal. Simple enough, right? However, if your goal isn’t clear and there are too many micro-goals, your staff and potential donors may not know how to approach and act upon your project. It’s important that they have a clear impression of your actions and intentions.

Now that you have a greater understanding of the factors that may be contributing to your campaign stall, you can begin identifying potential fundraising campaign ideas that will help put your efforts back on track.

Fundraising Campaign Ideas to Refresh Your Stalled Campaign

Just because your campaign has stalled doesn’t mean you’ve hit rock bottom, or that you have to start from scratch. If anything, it’s an opportunity to tweak the old, and refresh your efforts. Here are some fundraising campaign ideas you can implement to revamp your campaign:

1. Bring in new donors

The first fundraising campaign idea is to bring in new donors. By bringing in new donors, not only are you creating more opportunities for them to contribute to your campaign, you’re creating opportunities to form connections with people they know and people like them.

2. Refocus messaging

When communicating with existing and potential donors, it’s important to make them the heroes of the story. Yes, you created the campaign, but your efforts and your goal must support THEM. Show your donors how your campaign will uplift them. Express your investment in them individually and communally. What impact will this project have on their lives?

3. Shuffle staff members and volunteers

Another fundraising campaign idea is to shuffle your staff members and volunteers during the campaign process. If your staff and volunteers have other commitments besides the campaign, it’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. That being said, it’s important to shuffle your staff around so they can dip their toes in different areas. By doing this, you’re giving them to work with material that allows them to refocus their attention and regain energy because they’re learning something new.

4. Evaluate the strength of your campaign models

If your campaign model seems weak, it’s important to identify areas that could be more finely-tuned. When conducting screenings three to five years out, it’s important to make sure that you’ve incorporated new donors you’ve acquired, and fresh blood in your campaign to strengthen your pipeline.

5. Reach out to your Board

Our final fundraising campaign idea is to reach out to your board. If your Board still supports your campaign efforts, it’s important to see if any of them could help you to move out of your stall. By doing this, board members may feel inclined to contribute larger gifts or have one of their constituents do so.

What to Do When You Inherit a Fundraising Campaign

Getting your fundraising campaign plan approved is step one. Step two is maintaining and overseeing the campaign’s success. But, how do you go about making your campaign a success? How should you proceed if you face hurdles? Here are some tips to help you navigate through your newly inherited campaign.

What do you do when you inherit a capital campaign?

When you inherit a fundraising campaign, or capital campaign, you need to evaluate where the campaign stands, and where YOU stand within it. Now that you are part of a campaign, you must check if you have a strong case for support. Is the board still in support of your efforts? Is the community? Are key players willing to help you further? If your goal isn’t realistic and your case for aid is weakening, it’s time to fine-tune your approach.

After probing whether or not support still exists, you should evaluate giving trends. Have major gift leads been contributing as much as they can? How much more do we need in contributions? Are we on track to meeting at least 75% of our goal currently? Is the gift table filling out properly?

What are some of the common pitfalls when executing a capital campaign?

Before jumping into a capital campaign, you have to conduct a thorough, back-end analysis for your campaign. Some are keen on jumping into the campaign process immediately, but by not accounting for potential hurdles that could influence their goal, organizations are at risk of failing to complete their fundraising campaigns.

A back-end analysis involves assessing:

  • The capability in your database to understand existing donors
  • Which major gift leads you’re accessing (are you going back to the same major gift well over and over?)
  • How your donors and staff are approaching the steps they’re taking individually, and as a group, to meet the fundraising campaign goal (are people feeling burnt out?)

What do you do when your campaign starts well but begins to falter?

There are cases when you’ve received a few large gifts, and it seems like everything is smooth sailing. However, if you haven’t used a sequential solicitation model for your gift table (i.e. satisfying the largest gift first, then the second largest, etc.) or if members of your campaign team are beginning to feel burnt out, it’s important to regroup and understand where your campaign is faltering. Only then, can you keep moving in ways that are effective, not simply efficient.  

There are two key methods to refreshing your efforts:

1. See if your models are still strong

If they aren’t, identify areas that can be fine-tuned or where new donors or staff can come in to help with your efforts.

2. Be honest with your board and ask for help

When it comes to a fundraising campaign where you’ve invested a lot of time and money into efforts your intent on seeing through, you’re not above asking for help. No one is. By doing this, some board members may be willing to contribute more or have their constituents contribute more.

How do you create effective campaign messaging?

Although it may seem counterintuitive, when creating a fundraising campaign, it’s best to refrain from making the messaging about you. During the campaign process, you have to make the donor the hero of the story. Instead of articulating the goal and accomplishments of your organization, it’s more effective to create interpersonal connections by showing your audience your investment in:

  • The community
  • Individual lives
  • The project
  • The impact of your project

Once you’ve been able to express your intent and forge a connection with your community members, it’s crucial to express your gratitude. Simply put, say ‘thank you’. Thank them for their efforts in making your project a success. After all, this project, this goal, will benefit them. It’s intended to. It’s simply your responsibility to show them that their contributions have been put to good use.

Successful Grateful Patient Programs – Steps to Get a 20x ROI in 3 Years

Successful grateful patient programs can generate 20x their cost within 3 years. That’s a stellar investment.

Follow these 4 steps to set up a group from your healthcare organization. Also, listen to our podcast with Chad Gobel, CEO of the Gobel Group. Chad is an industry expert on successful grateful patient programs and shares a complete step-by-step process. 

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