Prospect Research Produces Positive ROI

prospect research

Prospect research creates a foundation for all fundraising programs.  Essentially, an active prospect research program produces a pipeline of qualified new donors.  So, these qualified prospects and donors are the most likely to give or increase their current giving. As a prospect researcher taking full advantage of metrics cannot be emphasized enough, using data can save you both time and money. Let’s explore how prospect research can produce positive ROI and how Prospect, in WealthEngine, can help you during this process.

Beyond the money

Although dollar returns are the bottom line,  there is more to the picture that fundraisers need to evaluate.  Consider your donors’ quantity and amount, new donors, gift increases, and the percentage of prospects becoming donors.  These numbers give you new insight into where your efforts are leading and how you can better focus your time.

Importance of Prospect Research

Not only does prospecting help you build and target a qualified donor pipeline, but it also allows you to focus your efforts, time, and money on qualified prospects and donors.  So, instead of wasting time and resources on people who are not going to give, you can focus on those who will.  Driving your costs – research, staff, time – down and bringing your revenues up, will drive a higher rate of return.

Essentially, prospecting can aid all fundraising operations – regardless of size and type.  If you are trying to raise money, you should have a comprehensive prospect research plan.  Prospect research enables organizations to raise more money, more effectively.

How Prospect Research Will Maximize My ROI

Prospect research influences multiple projects.  When managing your qualified leads, you can segment your audience for each project.  The research is done once but allows you to direct it to multiple sources, like annual giving, planned giving, and major gifts.  This research will lower your costs, drive your revenue and increase your ROI.

When calculating your ROI, prospect research will be considered an expense.  This will allow your organization to take a meaningful look at the impact the research is having on your pipeline and revenue.  You may worry that the additional expense will reflect negatively on your ROI.  Actually, the opposite is true.  With a substantial prospect research program in place, you will find that prospecting will increase your organization’s effectiveness and fundraising efforts, generating positive results.

Using Prospect in WealthEngine’s Platform

Prospect, in WealthEngine, uses data to remove the guesswork from sales, marketing, and fundraising. You can engage with individuals who are the most likely to buy, invest, or donate.

So, Prospect helps you create ultra-targeted audiences from distinct demographics. You can generate lists based on a person’s income, buying history, where they live and work, and more. Once you plug those qualities into Prospect, you’ll be able to view a list of individuals who fall within the parameters you’ve set. This all comes with their updated contact information, so you can reach out to them easily.

For example, let’s say you’re looking to find prospects who have kids and like dogs, because these individuals, specifically, are the target demographic you’re looking to engage. You can select different qualities (sifting through different bits of demographic information), as you search for prospects, narrowing your focus and the number of profiles you will sift through. This will help you hone in on individuals you would most like to engage. Then, all the profiles you see listed will be of individuals (from our database), who match the description you set.

Not only are you better able to find and contact your wealthy prospects, but you are also able to gain a greater understanding of them on an individual level through prospect research.

Uncover Your Best Prospective Donors

Do you know what qualities make your best donors unique? Discover how you can leverage modeling to find the prospects you have yet to connect with, that look just like your best.

Major Donor Cultivation: Why Modeling Is Critical to Fundraising Success

major donor cultivation

Nonprofits rely heavily on contributions made by donors, to realize their intentions (or mission) in actionable ways. Fundraising, in that sense, helps secure the future impact of an organization. This all starts with donors, and how invested they are in your cause and its activities. The question is: how can you replicate past donor success to secure more gifts, not just now, but in the future? The answer is modeling. Let’s explore some insights into modeling and why it’s critical to successful major donor cultivation and your fundraising success. 

The Changing Landscape of Fundraising

Thanks to major developments made in tech and social networks, nonprofit fundraising is rapidly evolving. With the rise of AI and ML, for example, more nonprofits are adopting these technologies to strengthen their major donor cultivation. They have the tools to gather data quickly so they can be more efficient in creating positive change. These technologies also assist organizations in understanding and appealing to their existing and prospective donors now and in the future.

In that sense, the need for hyper-personalized engagement is now a necessity rather than a benefit. Since Millennials and Gen Zs are consuming tons of information at a time, it’s imperative to capture their attention. Especially in ways that are personally applicable, so they feel valued as your donors. Millennials’ median annual giving is twice as much as Boomers and Gen Xers at $13,654. Gen Z will also account for 40% of all consumers as of 2020. With their increased influence and giving capacity, it’s important to understand how they give and how to connect with them. 

Importance of Modeling

The core of successful fundraising lies in the relationships you’ve cultivated and nurtured with your donors. By enhancing your major donor cultivation strategies, you’re likely to receive substantial gifts that will push you towards your goal. But, what if you’ve exhausted your efforts? Let’s say you’ve reached out to every donor in your database. Those who have contributed major gifts and small, one-off gifts. You’ve solicited contributions from the individuals you know have the capacity and propensity to give. But, now you are left guessing who to reach out to next. That’s where modeling comes in.

Models help you understand past donor successes and identify prospects with characteristics in common with your best donors. With predictive analytics and modeling, not only can you find high net worth prospects, but you can also find those who closely resemble your best existing donors. You can evaluate their giving history and project their estimated giving capacity. In short: you can see how much they currently give and how much they’re likely to give in the future. 

How to Get Started With Modeling

Predictive analytics and modeling, when combined, allow you to gain key insights about donors and improve your fundraising efforts and major donor cultivation. Not only are you able to find prospects who have the greatest propensity and capacity to give, but you can also use models to predict when they’ll give and how much. In short: predictive modeling can help you find more donors, predict giving levels, retain your donor base, grow donor commitment, and more. 

1. Screen your donors

This is to help you understand your existing donors on a deeper level and uncover hidden potential in your database. Through wealth screening, you can attribute wealth ratings and scores and merge them with your contact data, so you get a clearer picture of your donors’ lifestyle, demographic, and affinity data. These scores help you identify and categorize (or segment) donors and prospects with the right attributes. So, not only are you gaining a general impression of an individual’s characteristics, but you are also understanding their wealth. This includes their total assets, net worth, cash on hand, their propensity to give, charitable giving, and more. 

2. Analyze your donor data

Remember: forecasting fundraising income accurately helps you reach your major gift fundraising goals. So, before you predict who will give to your organization, it’s important to understand what makes your audience unique. What, specifically, about them and their interests do they share, that inspires them to give? Using WE Analyze, you can analyze your screening data and gain a 360-view of your donor base. This gives you a clearer picture of commonalities among your donors, and allows you to tailor your communication with them in ways that are more engaging and personal. 

3. Create and use a predictive model

 After uploading your screening file, you can then create a unique, custom algorithm. This will help predict who will be most likely to give to your organization. So, in the case of fundraising, the model created will be built on strong indicators of gift-giving. These indicators may include: number of events attended, gift capacity, the existence of a family foundation, board affiliations, or other attributes. So, once your information has been analyzed, you’ll receive an API response indicating whether or not each of your prospects is likely to give. Your prospects are also prioritized in order of gift capacity and propensity. These rankings and indicators will help you target your fundraising efforts; hone in on donors who have the greatest willingness to give; and approach each of your prospects with highly personalized, tailored messaging.

3 Reasons Modeling Is Critical to Successful Major Donor Cultivation & Fundraising 

Not only does modeling help you identify and focus on the donors who have the greatest propensity and capacity to give to your organization, but it also gives you major insights into 3 key areas: 

1. Modeling allows you to gain a greater understanding of donor motivations

Since models allow you to identify and evaluate the commonalities among your existing and future donors, you gain a greater understanding of their motivations and behaviors. Which demographic of people give to your organization? Is it women over the age of 50 who own dogs? Or, is it men in their 40s who like to go camping? By analyzing your donors and prospects, and creating a donor persona, you can identify the ways prospects will want to interact with your organization. This will help you bring in more gifts as time goes on, instead of waiting idly by to see if your donors will give. 

2. Modeling drives personalized campaigns

Fundraising success comes down to well-timed and optimized asks. The best way to do this is by cultivating and nurturing personal connections with your donors. If some part of their narrative or their experiences are being addressed by your organization, they’ll feel more inclined to give. Why wouldn’t you give to an organization that understands and acts upon your values? Refined donor segmentation, in that sense, helps you tailor your messaging and communication. You can divide your donors and prospects into smaller groups based on their interests or giving ability, and subsequently generate personalized messages that resonate. Not only does this enable you to tailor your messaging, but it also helps you notify donors about experiences that match their interests. This presents them with added incentives to give. 

3. Modeling helps you uncover hidden gems

Not only can modeling help you understand which types of donors are most inclined to give to your organization, but you can also identify prospects you may have never thought to approach. This is especially helpful when it comes to major donor cultivation.

Let’s say you’ve based your model on your top 100 donors, but have a list of 5,000 constituents. These constituents represent individuals who have contributed small gifts. Although it’s important to learn about the top hundred donors, it’s even more important to compare your model to the 4,900. This will help you uncover hidden gems. So, when sifting through those constituents, you can identify which of them closely resemble your best supporters, but who aren’t making major gifts. Even though they have the propensity and capacity to. You can then determine which donors to cultivate and nurture further. This allows you to deepen relationships with donors who may want to contribute more, but haven’t been inclined to give because they were not presented with the right ask. 

Leverage Modeling to Boost Your Major Donor Cultivation

Do you know which of your donors & prospects have the greatest propensity and capacity to give? Discover the ways modeling can help you unearth hidden gems and discover new donors with major gift potential.

Not only can modeling help you target donors and prospects who have the greatest propensity and capacity to give to your organization, but it also enables you to tailor your fundraising efforts and outreach to appeal to them best. This will help you develop a loyal community of donors who will give now and in the future.

Software Industry Leader Edward Hughes Joins WealthEngine as President

The company prepares for rapid growth in 2020 and releases the next version of its flagship machine learning-based prospect intelligence platform – WE9.2.  

January 21, 2020 – Bethesda, MD – WealthEngine, the leading machine learning-based prospect intelligence platform, has appointed Edward Hughes as the company’s new President and member of its board of directors. Hughes will work with WealthEngine’s leadership team to expand deeper into existing markets and enter new ones. 

“We are excited to have an instrumental leader like Edward take on the role of our President as we enter our next phase of growth,” said PV Boccasam, CEO of WealthEngine. “Edward brings an amazing track record of successfully scaling multiple Software as a Service (SaaS) companies from the early stages of evolution to going public. His thoughtful and disciplined approach will play a critical role in growing WealthEngine while executing on our customer’s mission.” 

Prior to joining WealthEngine, Hughes spent 9 years as the Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Operations at Appian Corp. In this leadership capacity, he integrated strategic processes which enabled the company to boast well over $250M in sales and a $3B+ valuation. In his new role as President, Hughes intends to build and support WealthEngine in similar ways. 

“WealthEngine provides organizations with deep insights into their customers and donors, allowing them to know clients in highly-personalized, actionable ways”, said Hughes, WealthEngine’s newly appointed President.  “I am excited to work with the WealthEngine team and to drive growth as we deliver exceptional wealth intelligence to the for-profit and non-profit market.”   

About WealthEngine

WealthEngine empowers more than 3000 higher education, healthcare, advocacy, financial services, and high-end luxury brands to capture tens of billions of dollars of money-in-motion™. Fueled by our proprietary WealthSignal™, derived from a trillion data points, our customers measurably improve their campaign lift across fundraising, marketing, and digital engagement with their target audience.

Rooted in machine learning, our WealthEngine 9 cloud-based platform boasts an entirely new user experience to provide wealth, demographic and lifestyle indicators that come together to formulate powerful scores available via API in real-time. The company’s Engagement Science™ platform embeds predictive models, identifies and prioritizes segments, and activates digital audiences so customers know what motivates individuals to save, invest, spend, donate, or bequeath.

WealthEngine is an active participant in Pledge 1%, regularly giving back to the community it serves through time, product and donations. Based in Bethesda, Maryland, the company has offices throughout the US. Learn more at


Wall Street Bonus Schedule 2019: How Nonprofits Benefit

wall street bonus schedule 2019

In the first quarter of each year, the financial industry celebrates Wall Street bonus season. That’s when the previous year’s bonuses are paid to Wall Street workers.  Depending on the firm, Wall Street bonuses may be paid anytime from late December through the end of February. The 2018 bonus pool, paid in early 2019, was $27.5 billion, which amounted to roughly $153,000 per worker. Although down 9% from the previous year, the Wall Street bonus is twice the average salary of a New York City worker. This year, however, the 2019 Wall Street bonus schedule, based on last year’s performance, is expected to be lower overall. Yet some Wall Street workers will see a slight increase in their bonus. 

Some fixed income traders could see 5% less and corporate management could see 10% less. The Wall Street bonus for commercial bankers looks to be about the same. But investment banking advisors and hedge fund managers may see a 5% higher bonus. Let’s explore the impact of these payouts in the 2019 Wall Street bonus schedule and how your organization, and your donors, can benefit from them.

Wall Street Executives Bonuses: Impact of Payouts

Regardless of whether Wall Street bonuses are up or down slightly, a lot of money will flow into New York. The financial sector represents 5% of New York City’s private workforce, according to Moira Boyle, Director of WealthEngine’s Luxury Sales Strategy. “Those large year-end paychecks have a disproportionate effect on the local and regional economy.”

Wall Street bonus time has been described as inciting a type of “March madness” in terms of its exhilaration.  Part of that elation is tied to some big spending. “People are going to spend most of that money where they live,” commented New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a article. Not only New York City, but Long Island, the northern suburbs and the entire state profit. Wall Street bonuses also contribute a significant amount of tax revenue to the city and state.

The Nonprofit Share of the Wall Street Bonus Market

The question for nonprofits becomes, how will Wall Street bonus recipients spend that money? And even more importantly, how much of their Wall Street bonus may be donated to charitable organizations?

Including salary and bonus, the average compensation of Wall Street workers was $399,000 in 2018. As Boyle pointed out, the more senior executives receive the largest payouts, several times larger than their salary. “That’s enough to finance a high-priced investment,” she said. “Approximately 177,000 individuals will be buying real estate, cars, watches, bags, trips, and donating to their favorite charity.” 

If you’re a nonprofit, this is your opportunity to get a share of that Wall Street bonus spending.  ”We know from human nature that their attention will gravitate to what caught their attention most recently,” said Boyle, “so marketing and visibility are key. Charities should also take note of the time of year—this is a time when a major gift campaign can have a large impact on an organization.”

Getting Donors to Respond Positively

When it comes to major donor fundraising, you want to be able to pinpoint which potential donors are worth pursuing and build relationships with them. Your existing donor data is your starting point. Here are some questions that can help you target Wall Street bonus donors:

1. Who are your current donors?

Use your donor data to create profiles. Conduct a wealth screening. Screenings will help you determine key attributes, like income, lifestyle and interests. In doing so, you can identify common traits, along with each type of individual’s tendency and ability to donate. Build statistical wealth models of your best donors. You can segment top prospects and create personalized offers.

2. What type of donor fits the Wall Street bonus category?

To bring in new donors, you have to know as much about them as you can. Once you know what your major donors look like, you will gain a clearer picture of whom to target. WealthEngine data, combined with your database, can help determine who would most likely contribute to your organization.

3. How do they prefer to communicate?

How are you engaging your donors, based on what you know about their donation influencers? To encourage a positive response, always consider donor communication preferences. Then send your donors and prospects personalized messages that highlight their interests and align with their values.

4. Are you following up and keeping in touch?

Thank donors for their contributions and show them how their gift will be used. Continue communicating with your qualified prospects who have not yet donated. And keep in mind the “quality over quantity” motto. Besides standard donations, some donors may make choose to make a legacy gift through a will. 

A Look At Millennial Wealth

Download WealthEngine and Coldwell Banker’s A Look at Wealth 2019 to understand the motivations, behaviors, and trends of millennial millionaires.

Understanding your current donors will help you determine who are your best prospects and how to engage them. The above steps are more complex, but have been simplified here. WealthEngine can assist your organization in targeting the most likely Wall Street bonus donors. Then it’s up to you to keep them donating. 

Wall Street Bonus Schedule: Leveraging Luxury Spending

wall street bonus schedule

The first quarter of the new year is when financial industry workers in New York City receive their Wall Street bonuses. This Wall Street bonus schedule, or these payouts, represents the performance of workers and the market in the previous year. Wall Street bonuses tend to be higher in years when the market does well. 

Depending on the firm, employee bonus distributions may be paid anytime from late December through the end of February. This Wall Street bonus schedule time has been described as creating a sort of “March Madness” in terms of its euphoria and spending. After all, who wouldn’t want to celebrate such a financial reward? The 2018 bonus pool, paid in early 2019, was $27.5 billion. That amounted to roughly $153,000 per worker. Although down 9% from the previous year, that bonus is twice the average salary of a New York City worker. Let’s explore the impacts of these bonuses on the luxury market and how they can benefit your business. 

Impact of Wall Street Bonuses on the Local Economy

This year’s Wall Street bonus schedule, based on market performance in 2019, is expected to be a bit lower for some Wall Street workers. However, for others, they may experience a slight increase. That’s according to Bloomberg. For example, investment banking advisors and hedge fund managers may see a 5% higher bonus. The Wall Street bonus for commercial bankers looks to be about the same. Fixed income traders could see 5% less, corporate management 10% less. And the Wall Street bonus for equity traders could dip as much a 15%.  

Still, even if bonuses are down slightly, that’s a lot of money to be pumped into the area. The financial sector represents 5% of New York city’s private work force, according to Moira Boyle, Director of WealthEngine’s Luxury Sales Strategy. “Those large year-end paychecks have a disproportionate effect on the local and regional economy.”

It’s easy to see how Wall Street bonuses boost the economy of New York City. “People are going to spend most of that money where they live,” commented New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a article. But Long Island, the northern suburbs and the entire state profit, he pointed out. Wall Street bonuses contribute a significant amount of tax revenue to the city and state.

Wall Street Bonus Purchasing Power

Spend it, save it, or donate it? Just what are the recipients of those Wall Street bonuses likely to do with that extra cash? “A prudent employee would treat it as salary,” replied Boyle.  “However, history has shown that non-discretionary spending and real estate transactions increase during the first quarter of the year. “r

As Boyle pointed out, the more senior executives receive the largest payouts, several times larger than their salary. That’s enough to finance a high-priced investment. The average compensation, including salary and bonus, of Wall Street workers, was $399,000 in 2018. “Approximately 177,000 individuals will be buying real estate, cars, watches, bags, trips, and donating to their favorite charity,” said Boyle. 

DiNapoli concurred. Wall Street bonus income is often spent on vacation homes in the Hamptons and on the North Fork. Or for luxury items such as boats and jewelry. East End restaurants and tourist attractions also benefit from stockbrokers’ spending.

The Luxury Market Is Growing

The luxury market grew 5% worldwide in 2018. That growth represents the sales of three major items: luxury cars, luxury experiences and personal luxury goods. Luxury experiences grew by 20% in two areas, high-end food and wine and luxury cruises.

Luxury product marketing targets consumers who have both the propensity and capacity to buy your luxury product or service. It may be apparent Wall Street bonus recipients have the capacity for a luxury purchase. But what about their interest? Are your targeted consumers interested in what you have to offer? It’s not enough to know that your prospect can afford it.

How well do you really know your customers and prospects? Consumers expect more from luxury brands. They want to do business with companies that know enough about them to provide a relevant and personal shopping experience. Luxury marketers must respond to consumer desires for those customers to take them seriously.

Getting Your Share of the Wall Street Bonus Market

If you’re a luxury marketer, this is your opportunity to get your share of Wall Street bonus spending. How are you engaging your customers, based on what you know about their purchasing influencers? ”We know from human nature that their attention will gravitate to what caught their attention most recently,” said Boyle, “so marketing and product visibility is key.”

To bring in new luxury customers you have to know as much about them as you can. And your existing customer data is your starting point. Understanding your current customers will help you determine who you want to reach and how to engage them. Here are some steps you can take to best identify your luxury buyers:

  1. Gain knowledge and insight on your customers. Segment them through analytics such as profiling and cluster analysis.
  2. Make evidence-based decisions on where to allocate your resources and the strategies to use to target prospects.
  3. Identify the data that supports your initiative. Determine the data you need to further understand your customer and create compelling offers.
  4. Approach prospects who have both the financial ability and behavioral characteristics to join your exclusive circle of customers.

A Look At Millennial Wealth

Download WealthEngine and Coldwell Banker’s A Look at Wealth 2019 to understand the motivations, behaviors, and trends of millennial millionaires.

Leverage wealth data to reach luxury consumers. And Wealth Engine can help you build a customer profile to target Wall Street bonus recipients.

8 Phases of A Successful Annual Giving Campaign

what is an annual giving campaign

What is an Annual Giving Campaign?

In the previous piece in our annual giving series, we explored the function and value of annual gifts. An annual gift is a contribution made to a nonprofit organization or higher education institution, provided on any given annual basis with unrestricted purposes. By extension, an annual giving campaign is an organized effort, established by your organization or institution, to solicit yearly gifts to support your general operations. The question is: what all is involved in an annual giving campaign? And how best do you structure your fundraising efforts to meet your goal? Let’s explore the 8 phases involved in a successful annual giving campaign.

Annual Giving Campaign Phases

1. Form a Steering Committee

Before creating an annual giving campaign plan, it’s important to round up a group of people to help you oversee your campaign at large. The first step in your annual giving campaign is to form a steering committee. This is a group of 6 to 8 board members who will help you plan your campaign before you assemble your full staff. Essentially, the annual fund steering committee decides on the priorities and order of business an organization manages. So, they help give your organization strategic direction and support. If anything, they have a vested interest in the delivery and outcome of a project.

2. Plan Campaign: Outline Your Campaign Goal and Budget

Now it’s time to begin planning your annual giving campaign. During this time, it’s necessary to set a goal for your annual fundraising campaign. So, it’s important to make your goal as measurable as possible. Remember, at the very least, the basic goal for your annual fund is to secure funds for your operational expenses. So, it’s necessary to evaluate what your basic needs are. Revisit the mission of your organization and work backward. Ask yourself: what is our organization’s reason for operation? And what do we need, regularly, to make our mission a reality? You may also harbor more general goals that need to be quantified. This may include: cultivating and nurturing deeper connections with your donors, improving donor retention, increasing engagement, and identifying prospects.

So, once you begin planning your goal, begin mapping out a budget for annual fundraising efforts. This funding will help cover the costs of fundraising events, making solicitations to prospects, and investing in fundraising software.

3. Establish an Annual Giving Campaign team

Once you have a clearer impression of your annual giving campaign goals, it’s time to begin assembling your team. Since annual giving campaigns are ongoing, it’s easy for them to take a back seat when your staff is addressing efforts that require immediate attention. So, to prevent your campaign from falling by the wayside, it’s important to create a designated annual fund team. They will ensure that your organization is on track to meeting your annual giving campaign goal, and will work tirelessly to pursue it.

You may be wondering: who all do I involve in my staff? Since annual giving campaigns are so broad, you need to employ a cross-functional team to manage your campaign. For example, it’s necessary to hire a major gift officer since 60% of your annual fund will be made up of major gifts. Additionally, volunteers can help your organization broaden its reach and inspire more individuals to give. If anything, their presence creates the perception that your annual giving campaign is a community-based fundraising effort (not just another fundraiser). It’s also important for you to involve board members and key stakeholders so they can track your campaign’s progress and see where best to redirect your efforts.

4. Analyze your donor base

Now, before you begin developing a marketing strategy for your annual giving campaign, it’s important to figure out who your target audience is. By narrowing your focus, and determining who all would be most likely and most inclined to give, you can tailor your marketing strategy to appeal to those donors who are already interested in donating. This cuts your work in half. The question is: how do you figure out who has the propensity and capacity to give to your organization?

With a wealth screening, you can see which donors have the greatest propensity and capacity to give. Not only can you segment your audience based on basic demographic information such as age, but you can also append your database with wealth attributes. So, you can easily understand an individual’s giving history (what/how much they’ve donated in the past) and estimated giving capacity (what/how much they’re likely to give in the future). This will help you understand how to spark their interest and, as a result, expand your reach to donors just like them.

It’s also important to create an annual fund model. Now that you understand the commonalities among your planned giving donors, you have a clearer impression of who to target. By using predictive modeling, our data scientists employ WealthEngine data along with your data to create a unique, custom algorithm. Using this algorithm, WealthEngine can predict who in your database is most likely to donate to your organization on an annual basis (via online channels or direct response channels).

5. Develop a marketing strategy

Now that you’ve formed your annual giving campaign team, it’s time to develop your marketing strategy. Remember: communicating the mission and message of your campaign is your first priority. Who does your organization seek to serve? And how will it address the needs of that community? How will your organization leave a lasting impact? To develop an effective marketing strategy for your campaign, you should create a case statement, campaign theme, collateral material, media, and at least two campaign kickoffs (one internal and one external).

During this time, it’s also incredibly important to develop your stewardship strategy. It’s paramount to focus on engaging your donors in ways where you can form deeper relationships with them. This will help you increase the number of recurring donors in your base, who are incredibly valuable to your organization. So, in order to cultivate and nurture your donors effectively, it’s necessary to hyper personalize your outreach. By articulating or displaying a grasp of their individual contributions or interests, you can forge connections with your donors that highlight their values in relation to your overall goal. This can be done through different channels such as direct mail, online campaigns, or planned events.

6. Launch your campaign

Now that you’ve done all of your annual giving campaign prep work, it’s time to launch your campaign! Before you open your campaign to the public, you should first conduct a Board (or Internal) Campaign, soliciting internal gifts. Once all of your board members have made contributions, you can then go to the community for support. Remember: the Internal campaign lays the foundation for your annual giving campaign, so public support can only be gained after you’ve received complete participation from your Board.

Once you’ve opened your campaign to your community, it’s important to solicit gifts in sequential order. This fundraising strategy, of sequential solicitation, is a guide outlining the order in which you should receive gifts to meet your fundraising goal. That being said, it’s important to secure your major gifts first, and then receive smaller gifts toward the end of your campaign. That way, once you secure the bulk of your goal through larger donations, the smaller gifts you receive are just meant to help you reach the end of your goal.

During this period of gift solicitation, it’s also important to create opportunities for your donors to interact with your organization beyond donating. This could be through the creation of special events, volunteering opportunities, peer-to-peer fundraisers and other nonprofit fundraising ideas.

7. Thank your donors

As your annual giving campaign efforts wind down once you’ve met your goal, be sure to express thanks for their participation. Without their efforts and commitment to your cause, you wouldn’t be able to transform your mission into a reality. Your donors, and their generous contributions, are what make that possible.

So, before following up with another ask, be sure to express your gratitude by sending them a personalized thank you message! When donors feel acknowledged for their actions, they feel like change agents, and are inspired to do more to create a positive impact.

8. Track Your Progress

Now that you’ve reached the end of your annual giving campaign, it’s beneficial to reflect on your campaign process. Ask yourself: what worked? What extraneous factors did we not account for? How could we transform our campaign moving forward? Answers to these questions will help you address and reframe your fundraising goals.

It’s also necessary to assess your stewardship goals and restrategize if needed. Did your donor retention rate increase? By how much? Are there donors in your database who have the propensity or capacity to give more?  Which donors upgraded their gifts? Evaluating your campaign from this lens helps you adjust your fundraising strategy. It also helps you identify effective ways to deepen donor engagement for future campaigns.

A Look At Millennial Wealth

Discover the best prospects you can target for your annual giving campaign. Download WealthEngine and Coldwell Banker’s A Look at Wealth 2019 to get inside the minds of millennial millionaires.

Other Articles in Our Annual Giving Series

This is the second article in our Annual Giving series. You can read more about Annual Giving best practices in our first article on What is an Annual Gift? and strategies you can implement to boost your fundraising in our third article on Top 5 Annual Giving Campaign Ideas.

Trends in Millennial Spending: 9 Areas Millennials Invest In

trends in millennial spending

Millennials are part of a generation that has become recognized for their unique characteristics, especially in terms of their interests, preferences, and spending habits. Wealthy millennials may share many of the traits of their peers. However, affluent millennials see things a bit differently when it comes to money. If anything, their luxury spending behavior is more distinctive. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are on the brink of surpassing Baby Boomers as the largest living adult generation. That gives them tremendous economic power. So, businesses wanting to capture a share of this market must pay attention to the following trends in millennial spending.

Top 9 Trends in Millennial Spending

It may not be possible to predict exactly where millennial millionaires will direct their purchasing power in the new year. But, previous trends in millennial spending should give us clues about how affluent millennials may spend their money in 2020.

Here are some areas where we can see patterns or trends in millennial spending habits:

1. Technology

The first big trend in millennial spending is in tech. Having grown up with technology, millennials are very comfortable with it. They prefer managing their money online and they mostly shop on the net. Online flash sales, for example, have served as their entry point into luxury brands. Wealthy millennials also enjoy using social media to share their unique experiences, such as going to an exotic location on their private jet or yacht. 

2. Investing

Millennials, in general, are more risk-averse with their investments, since they entered the workforce following the Great Recession. But, affluent millennials are more open to investing. They are apt to invest outside the U.S. They like investing in technology and their most popular stock investments are in tech companies. They’re also drawn to exciting or trendy investments, such as cryptocurrency. According to an Edelman report, 25% of millennials surveyed use or hold cryptocurrency and 31% are interested in it. Furthermore, 75% of them believe tech innovations like blockchain make the global financial system more secure. 

3. Real estate

Millennials also believe real estate is key to wealth creation. Based on our research, more than 90% of millennial millionaires are homeowners and they are more likely to be married. Most millennial millionaires live in California, followed by New York, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas. But they prefer to live in places that are more affordable, like the suburbs or second-tier cities.

Affluent millennials may also choose nontraditional luxury neighborhoods over more prestigious ones. They prefer new construction, open floor plans, and want to be closer to “the action.” Home improvement? Younger millennials are typically not keen on big renovation projects. But, as they get older, wealthy millennials are gaining interest in larger homes in great locations, even if they need updating.

4. Health and wellness

Health and wellness is another emerging trend in millennial spending. More than 60% of millennial millionaires say they are interested in health. So, they are spending more money on a healthy lifestyle. This includes spas and weeklong retreats. Many of them also like the idea of being able to walk to fitness centers and healthy dining options. So these preferences may influence real estate trends.

5. Brands

Millennials, in general, are less likely to be loyal to a single brand, compared to older generations. They’re also more socially minded. Based on our research, 70% of millennial millionaires say they are willing to spend more with brands that support causes they care about.  Wealthy millennials will even seek them out. These trends in millennial spending may change the game for luxury brands and luxury industry professionals.

6. Fashion

Another trend in millennial spending is focused on fashion. Wealthy millennials are creating new fashion trends and status symbols, according to Business Insider.  While millennials may dress more casually, they like to buy pricier sneakers and streetwear. Young, tech CEOs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have helped popularize the look.

7. Cars

Many millennials are choosing rideshare services and public transit over owning cars. Interestingly, when they do buy, millennials prefer Sedans to SUVs. Besides vehicle cost, millennials want to account for rising gas prices and lack of available parking in many cities. These factors inform their purchases. But even millennial millionaires rank the BMW 3 Series as their top choice, followed by the Honda Accord and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

8. VIP treatment

Similar to other millennials, affluent millennials favor experiences instead of things. This is especially reflective of where they choose to spend their money. They’re more willing to pay extra for VIP treatment and customization. This is so they can gain greater comfort or better service. Think special sections in clubs or luxury hotels that will enhance their experience.

9. Charities

Charitable giving is also a big trend in millennial spending. Millennials are also very generous donors. 35% of millennials report they have donated to charities, according to our Millennial Wealth Report.  And, for millennial millionaires, about 56% donate. Affluent millennials want to use their wealth with purpose, to make a difference and improve the world.

Want to Know How to Reach Millennial Millionaires?

Millennials are surpassing baby boomers as the largest, living adult population. They stand to inherit $60 billion in the great wealth transfer. Read our report, in collaboration with Coldwell Banker Global Luxury, to understand how you can reach them.

7 Tips for Building Stronger Major Donor Relationships

7 Tips for Building Stronger Major Donor Relationships

A major gift means something different for every organization. Whether it’s $500, $5,000, or $50,000, there’s one factor that stays the same across any major giving context: organizations need to engage their most critical donors to build long-lasting relationships with them.

Many nonprofits think that major gift fundraising is tricky to master, and they aren’t wrong. There’s a simple rule that your organization should always keep in mind, thoughit’s all about the quality of prospects, not the quantity. In other words, don’t disqualify a lead just because you don’t think they can’t donate as much as others can. 

After all, that individual may be substantially more committed to your cause (affinity) than someone who has a higher wealth capacity but less of a connection. We’ve all heard the stories of individuals who leave their entire estate to an organization (totaling millions of dollars), and they would have never shown up on a capacity screen.

Looking for those who genuinely care for your nonprofit is the way to go. For the strongest long-term results and the health of your nonprofit, your major donors should be in it for the long haul. Chances are you won’t encounter someone who makes a major gift out of the blue and then disappears. They gave to your cause because they care and want to see the impact they can make with your organization. Capturing donors’ attention to build a meaningful relationship with them is a series of complicated steps, several of which we will go over.

Even before a donor makes a gift, though, you need to be proactive in retaining that generous donor’s attention. Otherwise, you’ll lose it (along with your shot at turning their attention into an emotional connection). To develop stronger relationships with major donors, follow these best practices:

  1. Ask for supporters’ feedback.
  2. Learn what motivates donors to give.
  3. Track and review behavioral data.
  4. Maintain an open line of communication.
  5. Show donors the impact they’re making.
  6. Look at wealth indicators.
  7. Focus on donor stewardship.

Major donations aren’t something your nonprofit should ever overlook. While they make up less than 1% of all individual donations, major donors are responsible for over 70% of all donation revenue. Remember, they care about your cause, so you should care about them, too. Ready to improve your relationships with major donors? Let’s get started!

1. Ask for supporters’ feedback.

There’s no better way to develop relationships with supporters than by asking for their input. Why do we gather donors’ feedback in the first place? Well, for one, it makes them feel valued, engaged, and like they have a say in your organization’s efforts. Surveying donors is all about relationship building. When you understand donors’ expectations, you can act on their feedback, strengthening their emotional connection with your cause as an important part of their lives.

If you’re worried that supporters won’t respond to your questions, don’t be. Supporters like surveys; they really do. It gives them a chance to enter a two-way conversation, tell their stories, express the changes they’d like to see, and myriad other things. 

Think of it this way: if someone is already emotionally (and financially) invested in your work, it’ll mean a lot to them that you reach out and genuinely want to know their opinions. 

Gathering feedback (including self-reported data like donors’ communication preferences) is an important part of engagement fundraising, the most effective way to build major donor relationships. As a brief overview, engagement fundraising revolves around making donors feel like the “hero” of their own life story. By looking at the right data and leveraging it in your communications, you can fully engage prospects and develop stronger relationships. To dive deeper, visit MarketSmart’s engagement fundraising guide.

How to collect feedback

Now that you know why we gather donor feedback, you need to learn how to collect feedback. There are three main methods for doing this:

  1. Surveys. As previously touched on, this is the most powerful and direct way to gather feedback. Encourage donors to give guided feedback on specific ideas, programs, and so on. We recently wrote a comprehensive guide to conducting donor surveys that you can read here
  2. Reviews. Donors can give unstructured feedback on specific ideas, programs, and so on.
  3. Polls. These provide quick insight into one question. Think general questions on ways to improve a program by asking how much they care about it.

While polls and reviews can give you quick answers, surveys are the best way to capture feedback. The whole premise behind donor surveying is to gather input and make changes based on individual donor perspectives. This is a great retention strategy, because you can leverage the information you gather to better communicate with donors in the ways that they’ve outright told you they prefer.

2. Learn what motivates donors to give.

It’s not enough to look at wealth indicators and call it a day. Sure, wealth data gives you an estimate as to how much donors can potentially give, but this doesn’t give you any insight into who they are and why they give in the first place (affinity). It’s all about figuring out each supporter’s “why.” There are a few common reasons donors give (to start, it makes them feel good), but motivations vary from prospect to prospect.

While there are several ways to collect this information, there’s one tried and true method for getting these answers. Just ask.

Surveys are great for more than collecting feedback; they help you learn about your prospects, too! Make sure to ask the right questions and don’t overload them with too many though. Better yet, don’t overload them with bad questions. No matter how many good questions your survey asks, it can be ruined by just one bad one.

To find out a donor’s “why,” ask questions centered around the following:

  • What their involvement and personal stories are;
  • What they’re passionate about;
  • What other organizations they support;
  • Which programs they care about;
  • How they might consider giving to your organization; and
  • What they do in their free time (e.g. hobbies, interests, etc.).

We understand that it can be difficult crafting the “right” questions. As a general rule of thumb, get to the point and gather the essential information (like we indicated above). While you do want demographic data, that doesn’t capture a prospect’s motivations or personality. Save those questions for the end and instead engage users more deeply from the start by asking them about why they support your organization. Once you’ve reviewed the survey results, use this information in communications to further engage prospects. 

3. Track and review behavioral data.

Staying ahead of evolving major donor relationships is all about using your resources to learn more about your prospects. Sure, surveys are great for getting a better understanding of who your donors are, but what about getting one step ahead and finding out what interests them without a survey response?

Well, it turns out you can learn a lot by taking a thorough look at prospects’ interactions on your website. This is what we call their “digital body language,” and it can be really useful in developing relationships with major donors. For instance, are they interested in a specific program within your organization? Chances are, they’ve visited the specific page about it on your website several times and maybe even downloaded a brochure on it.

It’s of the utmost importance that you track the following:

  • What pages your prospects visit;
  • Which videos they watch;
  • What resources they’ve downloaded;
  • Which emails they’ve opened;
  • How frequently they visit; and
  • How long they stay on the site.

The recency of their engagement is important, too. Just because someone visits your website often doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a better major donor prospect than someone else. On the other hand, if someone visits your website for the first time in a few months and specifically heads towards the “how to support the future of this college” page, that’s a big indicator for your major gift officer that the individual is showing interest. 

In addition to capacity and affinity, raising major gifts requires the right timing, and looking at behavioral data can help you get a better sense of when the “right” time is.

What they click on can also make a difference. If you can see they recently downloaded a program brochure and you have their past survey response to see what their interests are, then there you go! You have a good prospect to pick up the phone and call. Plus, you can use the self-reported data you gathered with the survey to take personalized outreach one step further.

4. Maintain an open line of communication.

Growing your major donor relationships means consistent, respectful, and authentic communication. From here, one of the (if not the) most important part of an open line of communication is making sure interactions are wanted. You have to maintain contact with major donors in a respectful, authentic, and mutual way. Otherwise, you’ll lose their attention and support. Remember, when it comes to donor-nonprofit relationships, the saying “trust is hard to gain and easy to lose” proves true.

Forcing interaction doesn’t get your nonprofit anywhere, especially when it comes to major donors. It will completely throw your efforts off course, pushing major donors away. 

When conducting outreach, always make sure that it’s two-way communication, not just “look at us and how great we’re doing” type of messaging. Invite donors to interact and give their feedback, encouraging them to express their opinions, ask questions, tell their story, and voice any concerns.

To encourage positive reactions, always take their communication preferences into account. If you don’t, donors will think you’re just doing what’s easiest for you, not caring about them or working harder than you have to. Then, they won’t feel compelled to put in any more effort than they think you did.

Once you have the art of outreach under your belt, experiment with automation. Automated communication takes a lot of grunt work out of major donor retention and allows gift officers to focus their precious time on those that want to meet with them right now. After all, there’s nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting with a major donor that wants to meet with you to build stronger relationships.

5. Show donors the impact they’re making.

Human beings are visual creatures. We like to see the difference we’re making, no matter how small. Your donors—your major donors, in particular—are no exception. If you don’t consistently provide them with value, in this case the emotional payoff from their generous gifts, they won’t feel like a priority for your organization.

Remember, donors want to feel like the “hero” in their own life story. At the end of the day, all you can do is give them an outlet to express themselves and let them know the impact they’re making. While this may seem like a heavy task, it’s actually not all that hard.

First, you’ll need to identify which aspect of your organization they’re most aligned with. Leverage this when crafting your approach for each supporter. From here, focus on targeting communications and marketing toward the specific interests and areas they find valuable. Then, deepen engagement using storytelling methods that speak to their values. Consider which programs they care about (maybe they designated this in their survey), and direct their donations to support something they’ll be most likely to appreciate. 

After showing supporters the impact they’ve made, consider the overall differences that major donors have made on your organization’s work. For instance, dedicate a portion of your website to your major donors (or even consider creating a separate VIP microsite for major and legacy donors), express your appreciation, and share images with them. Create targeted newsletters with pictures of the work your organization is doing thanks to major gifts. The list goes on. 

The only limit is your imagination! It’s all about creating a welcoming environment where prospects feel wanted and impactful.

6. Look at wealth indicators.

While wealth indicators don’t tell a donor’s whole story, they are important to consider. For a quick look into your prospects’ abilities to give, check into the following wealth indicators:

  • Previous donations to your nonprofit
  • Previous donations to other nonprofits
  • Profession and education history
  • Real estate ownership
  • SEC transactions

Remember, though, that just because someone doesn’t have the financial capacity to donate doesn’t mean they’re not a valuable prospect. Wealth indicators are only one small part of the equation (capacity, affinity, timing). For instance, if a supporter has the passion to give but can’t donate financially, they may make a great volunteer or lower-tier donor, or legacy prospect. 

Just keep in mind that not everything is always as it seems and that people are more than just their numbers and demographics. We all have heard stories of individuals like Sylvia Bloom, where someone may not seem wealthy on paper but have nonetheless quietly amassed a fortune.

Also, standard donations aren’t the only ways donors can give. For instance, a legacy gift (i.e. a donation through a will) is just one way a donor makes a major gift that they couldn’t have otherwise made during their lifetime. 

On the other hand, someone who is financially stable may not be willing to donate. You can’t turn someone into a major donor. They have to make the decision to make that kind of  philanthropic impact on their own. The sooner you realize this, the quicker you’ll start locating and engaging promising prospects instead of those who have no interest in supporting you.

Leveraging wealth indicators can be a “first defense” for prioritizing your time. However, the other indicators we mentioned above should carry more weight (even if they may be more challenging to collect and analyze).

7. Focus on donor stewardship.

All of this talk of data may have you wondering, “How do I actually use this information?” Well, in short, it depends. Specifically, it depends on the donor, their preferences, and a whole host of other things. The point is, you need to get to know your major donors and cultivate relationships with them.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all option for donor stewardship, there are some common methods that regularly produce results for nonprofits. To start, processing gifts quickly and saying thank you should be the first step any nonprofit takes. For your convenience, here’s a brief summary of how the stewardship process works when boiled down to the essentials:

  1. The donor gives to your organization. 
  2. You thank the donor for their gift.
  3. Confirm the donor’s expectations and intentions.
  4. Recognize the donor accordingly.
  5. Let them know the impact the gift made.

Use giving tendencies to determine your stewardship strategy. For example, a frequent or recurring donor requires different strategies than a volunteer who’s never given financially to your organization before. Just make sure to keep the donor’s perspective in mind.

Remember to always survey, survey, survey! Capturing this valuable supporter information gives you insight into how you can grow donor relationships. For instance, ask: “Why are you connected to our mission?” “Which influential person brought you to us?” Etc. The sooner you learn this stuff, the sooner you’re able to engage these individuals on a more personal and authentic level.

While surveys and face-to-face interaction are the top ways to get to know your donors, there are other ways to ensure mutually-beneficial, long-term relationships. To learn more about engaging major donors, check out Qgiv’s donor retention guide.

At its core, building donor relationships, and major donor relationships, especially, is about getting to know supporters and providing them with an outlet for expressing themselves. Otherwise, they won’t stick around or truly feel compelled to do what they can to help you succeed.

Although this list is by no means comprehensive, we hope that you learned something about building stronger major donor relationships. To recap, use surveys to ask for donor feedback, learn what motivates them, review digital body language, look at wealth indicators, and put special care into stewardship. Also, ensure that you maintain an open line of communication where you show donors the impact they’re making. Best of all, put “value” first and instill that culture throughout your organization.

Now that you know the best strategies for building stronger major donor relationships, get to work and make your organization the best it can possibly be!

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About the Author

Over the past 6 years, in his role as Senior Solutions Advisor at MarketSmart, Jeff Giannotto has advised organizations of all sizes on Engagement Fundraising. Leveraging integrated technology and marketing, MarketSmart helps nonprofits generate, qualify, cultivate and prioritize potential donors. Over the years, Jeff has consulted with Salvation Army, City of Hope, Food For The Poor, ASPCA, Girl Scouts of the USA, Special Olympics, and more.

Annual Gift Definition: What Is an Annual Gift?

what is an annual gift

What is an annual gift, and how do these types of gifts support your nonprofit? In this article, we’ll discuss the key components of annual gifts. In this article, we’ll discuss the key components of annual gifts; the importance of these contributions; how best to set gift levels; and finally, the types of annual giving programs that can fuel your fund. Let’s begin with a definition of an annual gift.

What Is an Annual Gift?

So, what is an annual gift? An annual gift can be a contribution made to a nonprofit organization or higher education institution, provided on any given annual basis (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) with unrestricted purposes. In short, these gifts are contributions raised on an ongoing basis for a variety of uses.

Your organization’s purpose and overall goal are at the center of annual giving. So, all the funds you raise help you continue to serve your mission. As a result, most organizations primarily use annual gifts to cover their operational expenses. By raising money for the operational needs of your organization, you are able to keep your nonprofit up and running.  This allows you to continue making a difference in the ways you’ve set out to. Annual giving, in that sense, is the backbone of any healthy fundraising program.

Importance of Annual Gifts

Besides covering the operational expenses of an organization, annual gifts serve multiple purposes:

1. They Garner Unrestricted Funding for Your Organization.

Unlike a planned gift or donations made for a capital campaign, annual gifts raise awareness for your cause. These donations fund your regular and ongoing expenses, so they support your broader goals and serve to remind your donors of the values of your cause. Annual funds are a good way of reinforcing your goals and identifying ways to amplify and expand them.

Although annual gifts can be used to offset an operational deficit, they can be used for anything. Since annual gifts are an organization’s source of unrestricted contributed income, they should be the central component of an organization’s fundraising efforts. Annual gifts can also be used to supplement other campaigns or events. If anything, annual gifts strengthen your chances to reach your overall organizational goals.

2.  It Helps Broaden Your Donor Base.

The majority of individual donors who donate to an organization for the first time usually do so through its annual campaign. So, for many organizations and higher education institutions, the collection of annual gifts is an opportunity to broaden their donor base and increase retention.

It’s simpler and advantageous for nonprofits to focus on cultivating relationships with donors who have already given. If you’ve already received a donation from a donor, it takes fewer resources to persuade them to give again. So, as you make direct asks, you can emphasize recurring giving to your donors.

One way to do this is by forming a membership program. Membership programs reward donors who join by providing them with special perks in exchange for contributions or “membership fees”. These perks can range from exclusive fundraising event invites or merchandise from your cause. This method of cultivation incentivizes donors to give and gives your organization control over the gifts you receive.

3. It Can Serve As Your Pipeline for Major Gifts and Planned Giving Gifts.

Annual gifts can also serve as your pipeline for major gifts and planned gifts. The question is: how do you determine which donors (who have previously given) have the inclination or ability to give more?

By conducting a wealth screening, you can determine which donors have the greatest propensity and capacity to give. This is a good indication of which donors you should cultivate and nurture further. You can also use a wealth screening to see what or how much your donors have given in the past. These insights into your donors’ giving history can help you determine how inclined they are to give to your other programs. You can create conversations with interested donors about additional ways they can create lasting change.

This is an opportunity to direct donors to your major gift programs or (depending on their age and giving history) your planned giving program. So, if a donor already gives to your cause, and can give more, it’s important to continue developing your relationship with them.

Setting Annual Gift Levels

Although annual gifts don’t fund targeted projects, it’s necessary to remember to plan out your gifts and how best to acquire them. So, be sure to set gift amounts that are reflective of your donors’ giving habits. In order to do that, it’s important to consider the following factors:

1. Your Campaign

What goal have you set for your campaign? How much do you need to raise to meet the needs of your organization this year? By assessing a specific amount to raise, you can feasibly create a solid foundation for your most basic needs.

2. Giving History

How much has your donor given in the past? Do they donate sporadically? Or do they give in regular intervals? By understanding your donor’s habits, you can get a true sense of their propensity for general philanthropic giving. It also allows you to estimate how much they could give in the future based on their current giving habits.

3. Average Annual Gift Size

Similar to evaluating your donors’ giving history, you can set gift amounts based on their giving habits. This can help you secure gifts more easily, since the amounts you set are within the range in which your donors give.  For example, the low to mid-level gifts collected should make up about 15-25% of your campaign goal. Over time, you can begin increasing this set amount, and ease donors into giving a bit more.

Types of Annual Fund Programs

So, when it comes to supporting and fueling your fund, there are a number of different fundraising programs you can implement to raise annual gifts:

Year-End Fundraising

Year-end fundraising is the process of engaging and following up with prospective and existing donors towards your end-of-year giving season. Donations collected in this type of program support specific projects and your annual fund. So, when deciding upon your year-end goal, it’s important to pick a broad theme that fits with your organization’s mission at large. The goal should serve as a reminder to your audience of what your purpose and values are as an organization and why your cause is worthy of your donor’s support. Show your donors how their contributions create the foundation off of which your organization can thrive.

Sustainer Programs

For those donors who’ve committed their support to your organization at any frequency and through any method (also known as sustainer donors), it’s important to increase their retention. This is becoming easier through the emergence of automatic giving. Donors can now make regular, automated contributions to organizations. Not only is this option convenient for donors, but they also provide nonprofits with a more predictable revenue stream.  These small, recurring gifts fall well within the structure of an annual fund. Donations received within this automated structure are made for general use, so they’re relatively unrestricted.

Viral Fundraising Initiatives

As we become increasingly connected across social platforms, we are constantly sharing content with each other. Now, nonprofits are leveraging these channels to create initiatives where the public has a chance to donate to their cause at large. This is usually done by engaging your donors in an activity or conversation where they can show and share their support via social media. For example, the ALS ice bucket challenge (a viral fundraising initiative intended to raise money for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) was a viral video sensation in 2014. Every video posted of people participating in the challenge raised an incredible amount of awareness for ALS. Supporters ended up raising $115M for the ALS Association.

In that sense, social media-based fundraising initiatives grab the attention of individuals and help nonprofits collect a high volume of one-off gifts in a short amount of time, due to the viral nature of the fundraiser.

A Look At Millennial Wealth

Discover the best prospects you can target for your annual giving campaign. Download WealthEngine and Coldwell Banker’s A Look at Wealth 2019 to get inside the minds of millennial millionaires.

Other Articles in Our Annual Giving Series

This is the first article in our Annual Giving series. You can read more about the structure of annual giving campaigns in our second article on the 8 Phases of a Successful Annual Giving Campaign and strategies you can implement during your campaign in our third article on the Top 5 Annual Giving Campaign Ideas.

Share of Wallet, Wealth, and the Multi-Modality of Individuals

share of wallet

Author: Prag Shah

Companies spend a lot of time and money trying to manage customer satisfaction. However, increased satisfaction doesn’t necessarily mean that customers are less inclined to spend on other brands. Although customers may be satisfied with your brand, if they like your competitors just as much, you’re losing sales. The question is: how will customers divide their money among your brand and others? And how do you hold their attention? Let’s explore the concept of share of wallet and how you can leverage wealth insights to engage your consumers.

What is Share of Wallet?

Nonprofits and for-profits alike benefit from a core concept in consumer marketing: share of wallet.  In its simplest form, this is how much of an individual’s (or household’s) spend goes to one particular firm, company, or brand versus to others. Does the individual spend more with Company A or Company B? And if I am the head of marketing at Company A, how do I continue to garner more and more spend with my company? However, customer satisfaction or loyalty does not necessarily mean an increase in share of wallet.

Because share of wallet is anchored to the individual [or household], it is essential to think through the various modes that the one individual is operating within their daily life.  Think about your own week or month. In one moment, you may focus on saving for a down payment on a house; your 401k; working with your financial advisor; or, like me as a father of a high schooler, your child’s college fund; and so on.

In another part of your life, you may be buying a new car;  a costly but dream vacation; a high-end luxury watch as an anniversary gift; and so on.  And in another moment,  you may focus on giving by donating to a  cause that is near & dear to you; giving to your college alma mater; deciding where to grant funds from the family foundation your grandparents set up (as is often the case for families with cross-generational transfer of wealth); and so on.

This dynamic of saving-buying-giving is ever-present. This dynamic is apparent with different degrees of spend across the three arenas, depending on complex financial, lifestyle & personality attributes. All of it then drives your wallet and how and where you’ll distribute your dollars.

Engaging Customers Based on Their Spending Habits

The job of a wealth advisor is to tap and grow the wallet in saving mode.  This can then cross into giving and spending mode depending on your goals. The job of a CMO at a luxury retailer or automotive company is to tap your wallet in buying mode. The job of the VP of Advancement at your alma mater or the VP of Development at ‘’, is to tap your wallet for more and continued giving of charitable donations.

So, whether you’re a luxury or nonprofit marketer, it’s important to engage your prospects or consumers effectively to tap into their share of wallet. Ask yourself: based on what you know about their purchasing or giving history, how best are you engaging them? Remember: marketing visibility is key. Each person’s attention will gravitate toward what has caught their attention.To bring in new prospects, it’s necessary to understand your existing consumers or donors as much as you possibly can. This all starts with using consumer data to deepen your understanding of your base.

3 Ways to Leverage Wealth Insights when Competing for Share of Wallet

Given the multi-modality of individuals, wealth intelligence can sharpen the prospecting and outreach of those nonprofits seeking the individual in giving mode, of those wealth advisory firms seeking the individual in saving mode, and of those luxury retailers, luxury service providers, and luxury real estate brokers of those individuals in buying mode. You can capture your consumer’s share of wallet using wealth insights such as:

1. Screening

By conducting a wealth screening, you can see which consumers have the greatest propensity and capacity to spend. Not only can you segment your audience based on basic demographic information such as age, but you can also append your database with wealth attributes. So, you can easily understand an individual’s giving or spending history (what/how much they’ve spent in the past) and estimated giving capacity (what/how much they’re likely to spend in the future). This will help you understand which consumers specifically, spend on your brand’s products. So, in terms of share of wallet, a screening will help provide you with insights on how to appeal to your consumers best and reach individuals just like them.

2. Modeling

Once you’ve gained a clearer impression of the commonalities among your consumers, you have a clearer impression of who to target.  For example, you may find that consumers who spend substantially on your brand’s products are men over the age of 40 who have cats. These are what your best customers look like. So, what if you want to reach prospective customers who will be just as likely as your existing customers to spend? Using predictive modeling, WealthEngine data scientists can use WealthEngine data, along with yours, to create a custom algorithm. With this algorithm, we can predict who’s most likely to purchase your products. More specifically, you can find potential customers who look most like your existing ones that spend exclusively or significantly on your brand’s products.

3. Segmenting

Customer segmentation will help you divide and evaluate your customers into categories based on their interests. Essentially, this type of analysis will help you find macro patterns in your database. So, you’ll be able to more easily understand what makes your customer base unique. These macro segments can be made based on geography, age-range, wealth scores, and other attributes. Demographic details about your base, in that sense, allow you to understand what makes your consumers unique. So, customer segmentation allows your business to reach a consumer based on their specific wants and needs, making it easier for you to compete for your customer’s share of wallet.

With money and life always on the move, modern technology platforms enable this data-driven outreach in powerful and efficient ways. These rich data sets and insights feed across platforms via standard API integrations. Custom predictive models can be built & enabled to feed the CRM & marketing platforms for CMOs & VPs of Advancement/Development. This allows CMOs and VPs to quickly activate and reach individuals in streamlined, targeted, and measurable ways.

A Closer Look at Millennial Wealth

Download WealthEngine and Coldwell Banker’s A Look at Wealth 2019 to understand the motivations, behaviors, and trends of millennial millionaires.

Ultimately all roads lead to the individual. In this case to his or her wallet and your firm’s ability to tap a disproportionate share of it, continuously.