How to Create a Donor Pyramid to Raise More for Your Capital Campaign

donor pyramid

Are you starting a capital campaign? Then, missing this step could send your campaign down a rocky road. This important step is building a donor pyramid.  These structures also referred to as fundraising pyramids, are an accurate way to prioritize development efforts.

Yet, not all pyramids are created equal. Read on to see how to build one that will boost your campaign and help you exceed your goals.

What is a donor pyramid?

A fundraising pyramid is a visual that categorizes prospects by their engagement level. Further, it provides nonprofits a path to move donors from lower levels of giving to greater commitment.

fundraising pyramid

While some donors will move from one -time donations to planned giving, not everyone has the same journey.  For instance, mid-level donors are generally a reliable segment. They need a strategy that is tailored to them and they shouldn’t always be pushed up the giving ladder. However, there are still hidden gems in your donor base who can be nurtured all the way to the top of the pyramid.

Donor Pyramid Modeler

A donor pyramid, also known as a gift pyramid and as a gift table when presented in table format, gives you a clear understanding of how much you can raise. When created manually, producing a donor pyramid can be time-consuming since you have to take into account numerous data points. These include an individual’s capacity, propensity and intent to give.

WealthEngine has created the industry’s first AI-based donor pyramid modeler to empower all nonprofits, small and large, to generate a donor pyramid in minutes. This 2-minute video shows how it works:

Simply enter the amount you want to raise and you will automatically see how many prospects you need for each fundraising tier. Use built-in thresholds and conversion rates, or make adjustments using our What-If analysis. Then, instantly see how much you can raise with your current contacts, identify who to talk to in each tier, and know how many new prospects you need.

WealthEngine does all of the segmentation math and analysis for you in minutes to identify wealth strata and propensity.

Try the Donor Pyramid Modeler → 


When you are ready to find new prospects, use WealthEngine’s powerful prospecting tool to identify ideal opportunities and import them directly into your CRM/DMS like Salesforce.

Why Donor Pyramids can Make or Break Your Capital Campaign

A fundraising pyramid helps you focus your campaign dollars to the right set of prospects. When you build a data-driven pyramid, your data will automatically reveal patterns that you can use to build your campaign.

Starting a campaign that is aimed at a random sampling (or the entirety) of your database will dilute your ROI. When your entire base receives a generic message from your nonprofit, the number of people who will engage will naturally be low.

Even if you’re in the middle of a capital campaign and you realize that you’re not seeing results, a donor pyramid can help revive it. All you have to do is segment your base and prioritize those prospects who have the propensity, capacity, and intent to give.

How to Create a Data-Driven Fundraising Pyramid

Wealth screening is the first step. Screening data gives you a holistic picture of who your prospects are. In other words, you can understand your prospects’ wealth, lifestyle, interests, and affinities.  This means you now know their potential not only in terms of capacity to give but also interest and intent.

By learning more about who they are, you can really speak their language. For example, United Way of Greater Saint Louis says,

“We really like the level of granularity we can get in the data, understanding details, such as propensity to give and giving capacities helps to fill in gaps in the profiles….Finally, learning about a prospect’s interests can help us better shape the conversation to customize our asks. We are a lot more cautious about the ask now that we have more intelligence…”

Therefore, screening helps you segment your prospects into different rungs of your donor pyramid. Those with the highest capacity and engagement (for instance, those with high P2G scores) are candidates for major gifts or planned giving. Similarly, those with lower capacities but high engagement are well suited for mid-level or recurring donations.

Interested in learning more about creating data-driven campaigns? Download our Data-Driven Major Gifts Campaign Workbook!

Using Modeling to Enhance Your Donor Pyramid

Wealth Screening is the first step, which means that a wealth model can drive your capital campaigns much further.

Screening can give you a broader view of your donor base. Modeling can actually help you predict the outcome of your campaign. For example, WealthEngine’s Gift Pyramid Model can automatically build a pyramid and predict campaign success.

In that sense, modeling is predictive based on custom insights that are deep and actionable. The model builds a specific formula for your organization’s donor base. The model generates a score against which you can compare your prospects. By doing this, the model automatically splits your list into 10 equal deciles. The top decile will represent the top 10% of prospects for your campaign. The top two represent the top 20% and so on.

Going from Fundraising Pyramid to Campaign: Practical Implementation

Predictability allows you to improve your goal-setting. With your targeted campaign, you can not only set ambitious goals but also exceed them. Follow these steps after creating your data-driven donor pyramid:

1. Segment and target those donors who are apt for your campaign. Annual fund campaigns, for instance, can focus on prospects who have the highest inclination and capacity for this type of gift.

2. Evaluate your deciles to see which ones will be most effective for your campaign.

3. Set your budget based on the number of deciles you would like to include, or include deciles based on your campaign budget.

4. You can go down the list of deciles until you meet and exceed your campaign goals.

Breathe New Life into Your Capital Campaign

WealthEngine’s modeling removes the guesswork and puts you in control of your campaign, budget, and ROI. Book a demo today to learn more!

Request Demo

Related Reading

Capital Campaigns: Fundraising Strategy for Nonprofits

What to Do When You Inherit a Fundraising Campaign

Storytelling for Fundraising: Engaging Donors to Boost Year-End Fundraising

storytelling for fundraising

Over a quarter of nonprofits studied by NonProfit Hub reported that 26-50% of their fundraising success can be attributed to year-end giving. Before you start planning your year-end fundraising campaign in early fall and begin executing year-end asks in November, now is the time to begin mapping out how to approach your year-end activities. Several organizations struggle with understanding the right way to communicate their year-end ask. Once you have identified your donor or prospect list with the highest potential, it is important to communicate with them effectively. By leveraging storytelling for fundraising, you can find effective ways to galvanize your donors into giving.

Most nonprofits send two touches at the most during this season in order to avoid overwhelming their prospects. While this frequency may be enough to get their attention, you have to ensure that your message does not get lost in the clutter. So, by employing storytelling for fundraising tactics, you can more effectively get your message across and cut through the clutter. Let’s explore why and how nonprofit storytelling can boost your efforts.

Why Storytelling for Fundraising is Effective for Year-End Communication

1. Ethos

It all comes down to logic vs. emotion. An emotional appeal is more likely to be memorable. Prospects are surrounded by logic and it is easy for them to rationalize their way out of making a year-end contribution. Evoking an emotion makes them feel more compelled to make a difference to the community or animals being affected.

A story also has the power to humanize your cause. Stories about animal rescue, preservation, or community upliftment have the ability to generate empathy in your prospects. They can find themselves relating to your story, making your year-end ask much stronger.

3. Narrative Form

A story has dips and curves, a before and an after making it gripping for its readers or listeners. If you have a strong opening, you are more likely to keep your prospect engaged during your communication.

4. Imagery

Words can create strong mental images, better yet they can be supported by actual images of the cause. Images make for a more visual appeal and visuals make messages more memorable, therefore creating a lasting impact.

Now that we understand the ‘whys’ of storytelling for fundraising, we need to understand the ways in which we can ensure that your communication makes the lasting impact that can resonate with a donor even after he or she has engaged with your message.

How to Optimize Storytelling to Boost your Year-End Fundraising

People tend to be more emotional around the holidays. This means that they are also more likely to feel generous during this season. The following ways will help ensure that your communication appeals to their spirit of generosity in the right manner.

1. Showcase Communities Being Influenced By Your Work

First and foremost, focus on the communities impacted. If your sustainability efforts have impacted the health of a particular community, if your organization has provided a platform or voice for a marginalized group of people, or if your impact has changed the lives of animals for the better; tell the story from their perspective.

2. Unearth Testimonials from Community Members

Take narratives from impacted communities to the next level by including actual testimonials from community members. Tell their stories in a way that showcases their lives before and after the impact of donations. Testimonials can add to the authenticity of your message. Using video can be especially powerful here as it can increase the level of engagement with the storyteller.

3. Bring Attention to Ongoing Projects

Even if you have projects that are still in process, share this with your prospects. Show them how far you have come, how much of a difference you have made. Include them in your plans, this is a great way to make an appeal. This provides a platform for you to show your prospects how their donations can help you get closer to your goal. Work in progress can create a sense of urgency in your prospects, especially when you tie your goals to end-of-year deadlines.

4. Highlight the Real Heroes of Your Stories—Your Donors

Telling the story from the perspective of impacted communities can be very strong. However, another technique for year-end asks is making your prospect the hero of the story. This can be used to show past donors the impact of their contributions and the potential difference that a future donation could make. So, showcasing them as a central figure can prove to be inspirational. Donors gain great satisfaction from acknowledgment, this can be heightened during the holiday season, making them a hero and acknowledging their impact can help crystallize your message in an extremely effective way.

Galvanizing Donors through Personalized Outreach

Uncover more about the power of personalized storytelling from Co-Executive Director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Jay Scott—a featured keynote speaker at the 2019 WE Prosper Summit.


We hope these reasons for leveraging storytelling for fundraising help boost your efforts as the year progresses.


AI for Retail: Supercharge Every Stage of the Customer Journey

AI for Retail

Does AI sound like it’s all hype? For the retail sector, it turns out that AI can have many applications. Similarly, it can help you integrate processes across the value chain.

Why AI for Retail?

84% of customers say that experience is as important as products or services themselves. Furthermore, customer expectations are at an all-time high. Besides, these expectations are true for all touchpoints that your brand interacts with them on.

In order to deliver great customer experience, you have to be everywhere they are. Furthermore, you have to anticipate where they will be next. For instance, when retailers realized that Instagram was a great platform for sales, they improvised and found ways to sell even before the platform released its official feature.

The Future of Retail

Platforms are getting more fragmented. As a result, there are more new channels for customers to interact with you every day. This means that the competitive advantage you enjoy as a brand must translate to every touchpoint. Here are some retail statistics that give you an indication of where the future is headed:

  • 55% of all orders are now on mobile
  • There is an almost 70% increase in orders through social media
  • 26% of revenue comes from AI-driven product recommendations

Now that we understand where retail is headed in the near future, let’s look at how AI fits into the picture.

AI can help you in every step of the customer journey, right from your value chain to pre and post-purchase stages.

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!

AI for the Retail Value Chain

  1. Efficient Order Management: From the time a customer places an order, your automated system can take all the steps to ensure that the fulfillment center has all the information they need in a matter of seconds.
  2. Better Inventory Planning: AI can help you automate your inventory planning. This means it can check, fulfill and restock goods so that you save time and money.

Pre-Purchase Experience

  1. AI for Retail Marketing: Programmatic advertising can save you time and make your ad budget more efficient. The automated system can also optimize bids for your campaigns within micro-seconds.
  2. Loyalty Programs: AI can help you collect, store and analyze vast amounts of data that stems from your loyalty programs. This means that you can automate customer upgrades, reward redemptions and more.
  3. AI-Powered Email Marketing: AI can help you refine your email marketing over time. As a result, you can enjoy increased open rates and engagement on emails.

Storefront or Purchase Stage

  1. Data-Driven Personalization: Data generated through AI-powered retail systems can help you drive personalization. AI systems can hence process several data points on the fly and offer an experience that is tailored to the shopper’s interests.
  2. Real-Time Customization: Customer experience can be tailored in real-time through API. For example, as soon as a customer visits your website, you can show them products based on their browsing history. Furthermore, you can show them products in price ranges based on their wealth signals, etc.
  3. Increased Cross & Upselling: AI for retail recommendation engines can make a significant difference to the cart value of your customers. Making useful recommendations in a relevant and timely manner increases the possibility of upselling and cross-selling.

Post-Purchase Service

  1. 24/7 Customer Service: With AI for retail customer support, it is possible to take care of clients’ needs round the clock. Chatbots, automated phone, and email service take the pressure off of customer support teams. Further, they help reduce costs by answering common queries. Hence, you can only direct more complex needs to a representative.
  2. Better Insights for Continuous Improvement: With AI integrating into your CRM, your loyalty programs and customer support channels, you can get integrated data. Moreover, this data can deliver actionable insights that can help you refine the customer experience across every touchpoint.

Supercharge Your Retail Process Now

Interested in learning more about how technology can help you scale personalization?

Catch a recap of Accenture’s talk Making it Personal at WE Prosper Summit 2019.

Watch Bob Ghafouri’s Session Now–>

Financial Services Planning and Budgeting: Get in Gear for the Next Year

financial services planning and budgeting

Are you still in the middle of your planning and budgeting for next year? Don’t panic. We have pulled together top tips for financial services planning and budgeting. ‘Tis the season not only for holiday cheer but also for pressure on planning ahead for the next year. Planning will set you up in order to start the new year off strong.

Some financial services companies may begin their planning and budgeting activities as early as Q3. Others begin with a few weeks left until the holidays.

If you’re in the latter group, here are the top 5 best practice tips to guide your planning and budgeting activities:

1. Start with Your Organization’s Goals

When it comes to financial services planning and budgeting, it is easy to over-complicate the process. You may find that you are planning for several contingencies and taking several factors into consideration.

Before you do this, you have to take a step back and analyze how many of these factors actually fit with your business goals. You need to be able to pare down to the basics and focus on the big picture.

For instance, let’s say your goal is to reduce customer churn over the next year. In order to do this, your plan and budget need to enable your client engagement team to offer personalized services to those clients who are most at risk.

2. Leverage Learnings from the Previous Year

Financial services planning and budgeting can seem especially tedious in comparison to other sectors. It needn’t actually be this way. When you begin from your business goal and then apply learnings, you will find that you are already several steps ahead.

In fact, you can use your previous year’s budget as a blueprint for this one. Gather your team to analyze what worked for them and where they found deficits. In doing so, you can rebalance your budget to areas that are most in need. Further, by validating these areas against your business goal, you can ensure that your budget is being allocated in the most efficient way.

3. Use Data-Modeling to Predict Outcomes

If you had a way to predict how much each department needs, you might think that this solves a significant portion of your planning and budgeting challenges.

You can, in fact, predict allocation by predicting customer behavior. Imagine if you could understand which customers will need extra attention in the following year. Similarly, if you could identify which ones are most likely to invest more with you. You could then actually plan your activities efficiently around these predictions.

This is possible through data-modeling. Models can help you identify customers based on steps in their journey. The predictive nature of these models can provide a lot of structure to your financial services planning and budgeting activities.

Want to know more about how models can benefit the financial services sector?

4. Plan with Foresight but Leave Room for Iteration

The power of prediction gives you a fair bit of foresight into your planning and budgeting. The more certainty you can have, the better it is for your plan. Having an air-tight plan can set you up for great success in the coming year.

However, most financial services professionals may overlook the need for iteration. While predictions can give you foresight, there are always unforeseen circumstances such as macro-economic instability. Due to this, it is better to include room in your plan for alterations as you go through the year.

5. Empower Your Marketing Team

Financial marketers may find that they are at loggerheads when it comes time for financial services planning and budgeting. As someone in charge of your budget, it will help you to set aside marketing dollars for campaigns and promotions.

Marketing goals need to align clearly with business goals. When this is the case, empowering your marketing team can help you ensure that you closer to achieving your goals. Over time, more marketing efforts have become measurable. This means that the marketing team can present results from their activities in the previous year and your allocation can be driven by this data.

Kick Your Plan into High Gear

By using a collaborative approach, you can make sure that you have received input from all relevant teams. Doing this also helps you speed things up as you have more contributors to the process. Secondly, having a flexible plan reduces the pressure on you to have every detail figured out. Doing this also gives you the ability to iterate as you go.

Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas to Find Your Next Best HNW Customer

financial advisor marketing ideas

Are you a financial advisor or wealth manager who has wondered how to foray into marketing? Or maybe you have wondered if marketing is the right thing for your business. If so, we have the answer. You are looking for your next best prospects and financial advisor marketing ideas can help you find them.

As you know, the financial services industry has its own brand of challenges. Issues may stem from increasing competition. Similarly, there could be pressure from building a high degree of trust with customers. Whether you’re in retail banking or in wealth management, these issues may ring true for everyone.

What can you do to grow your customer base?

Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas

Before we begin to talk about ideas, it is first important to consider your financial services marketing strategy. Your strategy should fit with your overall business goals. For example, as a wealth manager or financial advisor, let’s say your goal is to have a personalized and niche luxury consulting business. This means that your marketing strategy will have to focus on HNWIs and UHNWIs. Your tone of voice must be personalized. Moreover, your advice must be tailored to customer needs. Your plan must take on a more concierge marketing type of approach.

Interested in learning more about marketing strategy in the financial sector?

Now, let’s talk about financial advisor marketing ideas. There is a lot you can do both online and offline.

Traditional Marketing Ideas

Here are three effective offline techniques you could use to encourage customer growth:

  1. Create curated events for customers. These events could educate them on financial topics. Alternatively, they could give your customers the opportunity to network with other business owners. Creating exclusive events that add value beyond your services will help build a lasting relationship with customers.
  2. Use direct mail in conjunction with other marketing efforts. Direct mail can have a great visual and tactile impact. Well-designed pieces of direct mail can be used as event invitations or sending thoughtful seasonal gifts. Doing this can help you remain top of mind with your customers. Further, sending them an interesting item that they can see in their everyday space could trigger conversations between them and their network about your company.
  3. Additionally, you can leverage your peer network’s inner circle to gain warm introductions to new prospects. When you receive a peer-to-peer introduction, there is a built-in sense of trust which shortens the lead time for customer acquisition.

Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors or Wealth Managers

You should complement your offline techniques with online ones. This brings us to digital marketing for financial advisors. Here are the top five digital marketing ideas for wealth managers:

  1. Leverage LinkedIn– when it comes to social media, you may choose to have a presence on channels such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. These might be good for you to widen your outreach, however, the most effective medium for you is LinkedIn. You can build professional credibility, seek recommendations from clients, grow your network and enjoy those peer-to-peer connections through this platform.
  2. Modernize your website- your website is your chance to make a digital first impression. Make sure that it is well-designed, optimized for different devices and most importantly optimized for search engines. Doing this allows you to rank highly on searches about wealth management, financial advisory and other relevant terms that could bring you leads.
  3. Feature testimonials & success stories- a proven track record inspires trust in customers and makes them more open to taking risks. Showcasing testimonials and success stories on your social media channels as well as your website helps you inspire trust among your customers.
  4. Use email marketing best practices- when it comes to reaching your customers via email, you may find that there are several different approaches. However, using email marketing best practices can make a difference. This means that your communication not only reaches your customers but also resonates with them.
  5. Leverage existing customers- most importantly, you must leverage your existing customers to help you find new ones.

How can you do this?

Follow our three-step financial advisor marketing plan.

Financial Advisor Marketing Plan- Find New Prospects Like Your Top Customers

  1. Screen your current customers- wealth screening allows you to add a breadth of information on customers. Understand their wealth, demographics, lifestyle, affinities and interests. With this, you can have more meaningful exchanges with them.
  2. Run a Look-Alike Model- Screening not only gives you rich insights but also provides a basis for analysis. Running a look-alike model helps you identify the top common traits among your best customers. These patterns can help you create more meaningful events.
  3. Find more prospects like them- You have now understood what your top customers are like. Hence, you can use these patterns as filters in your prospecting. This means that you will find new prospects who closely resemble your top customers. Thus, they are also likely to make decisions like your top customers.

You now have a much more targeted marketing plan to grow your customer base. You can now apply your financial advisor marketing ideas towards this base. In doing so you can enjoy a higher conversion rate on your campaigns while lowering your costs.

Find New Prospects Now

We can help you with every step of your financial advisor marketing plan. Request a demo today to see how you can kick off your three-step plan.

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Challenges in the Retail Banking Industry & How Data Can Address Them

retail banking customer segmentation

You may be no stranger to challenges in the retail banking industry. Here’s an alarming fact that you may have come across if you’re from this sector:

challenges in retail banking industry

This poses a huge challenge for sales & marketing professionals. Luckily, data and analytics can be their allies. With the right insights, it’s possible to solve this and more challenges that plague the sector.

Let’s take a look at the top 5 challenges in the retail banking industry. Furthermore, let’s understand how data can help you solve each one.

Challenges in the Retail Banking Industry

We will analyze each challenge, describe how it affects your strategy, and propose data-driven solutions to help you navigate these hurdles with ease.

Challenge 1: Increasing Competition

The banking industry has seen increasing competition, especially from the FinTech sector. The user-friendly and digital nature of FinTech companies offers customers the flexibility they need and the freedom to choose between different providers.

How This Affects You: Customer Retention

Retail banking customers find it easy to switch between providers. This is now possible as it is less of a hassle to open or close accounts. This means that it has become harder to keep customers. Sales & Marketing professionals thus spend more on retaining and re-acquiring customers.

Want to Know How to Reach Millennial Millionaires?

By the end of 2019, millennials will be the largest, living adult population. They stand to inherit an estimated $60 billion in the great wealth transfer. Read our report in collaboration with Coldwell Banker Global Luxury to understand how you can reach them.

How Data Can Help: Retail Banking Customer Segmentation

Retail banking customer segmentation is key to retaining customers. Similarly, it can help drive up their lifetime value (LTV). Lifecycle marketing can help you create engaging conversations in every stage of their journey. By segmenting customers this way, you can apply a marketing strategy that communicates the right message at the right time.

For instance, running a data model can help you predict which customers are most likely to churn. This way, you can reach out to them to understand their needs and provide an offering that suits their needs. By reaching out to them in a timely manner, you reduce the risk of churn.

Challenge 2: Operational Silos

You may find that different departments in your institution collect different data-points on your customers. Overall, it is possible to develop a rich picture of who your customer is. However, the challenge is that information rests in silos. As a retail banker, you may have access to transactional data. Wealth managers in your institution may have access to the estimated net worth, home loans may have information on property value, etc.

How This Affects You: Missing an Integrated View of the Customer

Since information rests in silos, it becomes difficult to see a 360-degree view of the customer. This further restricts you from being able to anticipate their needs or upsell products.

How Data Can Help: Omnichannel Marketing

When you store data in an integrated manner, you allow every relevant team member to understand the big picture. Doing this allows your institution to have better insights into your customers. When you combine your own data with third-party information, you can have a richer view of your customers. For instance, wealth screening can add a variety of insights on demographics, lifestyle, interests, and affinities.

With richer insights, you can have an omnichannel approach in your outreach. You will be able to provide consistent, personalized service. Furthermore, this can be done no matter which touch-point a customer interacts with you on. For instance, a customer may look up use your mobile banking app to information on opening another savings account. When they next come into a branch, a representative can ask them if they still have questions about this or need assistance in setting up an account.

Challenge 3: Increasing Costs

Another challenge in the retail banking industry is the ever-increasing costs. Costs are going up in every sphere ranging from marketing to compliance. Increasing competition and pressure on customer retention, when combined with increasing costs, presents a major challenge to retail banks.

How This Affects You: Reduced ROI

Greater costs result in reduced ROI. When you spend more on acquiring and retaining customers, your team will have more pressure to drive up the ROI on each account.

How Data Can Help: Predictive Prospecting

Taking retail banking customer segmentation a step further, you can focus on highly targeted prospecting when it comes to customer acquisition. In fact, your top customers today can help you find your next best prospects. You can achieve this by using a look-alike model.

A model like this can recognize patterns of traits among your top customers. These traits can then be used as filters when prospecting for new customers. Thus, by finding new prospects who match your existing customers, you are ensuring that your approach is much more targeted. This further enables you to predict customer behavior.

Challenge 4: Pressure to Improve Customer Experience

Since the retail banking industry is challenged by increased competition, institutions have greater pressure to improve the customer experience. The experience you offer should be able to set you apart from competitors. Thus, it should allow you the advantage of nurturing long-term relationships with your customers. Doing this needs an in-depth understanding of customer needs.

How This Affects You: Requires Broad Systemic Changes

Offering your customers a better experience may need sweeping, systemic changes. For instance, your brand may have to become more relatable. Your employees have to learn how to make customers feel appreciated with every interaction.

How Data Can Help: Identifying Money in Motion

One of the ways to offer the best customer experience is by offering customers exactly what they are looking for when they need it the most. Again, this goes beyond the level of retail banking customer segmentation. Data can help you identify money-in-motion. This means you can trace your customer’s life stage and offer products and services that are relevant and timely.

When customers know you are looking out for them, they enjoy a better experience with your brand. Furthermore, you increase retention with every additional product or service that you offer them.

Challenge 5: Employee Retention & Engagement

Customer retention is important, of course. But for your institution to have a good culture, it is necessary to think about employee retention as well. When you experience high employee turnover, it becomes harder to build a sense of company culture.

How This Affects You: Loss of Company Culture

For you losing employees means an erosion of company values. Additionally, this also results in gaps in knowledge transfer. These gaps, especially when they pertain to your customers can create holes in customer experience.

For instance, let’s say a senior citizen is used to coming and in and interacting with the same teller at one of your branches. This teller will know them well enough to serve them quickly or offer them solutions based on their needs. If this customer comes in and sees a new face within short intervals, it becomes harder for them to build long-term trust in your institution.

How Data Can Help: Every Employee Becomes a Marketer

When you create an integrated system of data and provide actionable insights to every relevant employee, you create a culture of ownership. Every employee feels accountable for customer satisfaction. With this becoming an organization-wide outlook, your customers will surely feel the difference in the personalized service that they receive. This can also help you address other challenges in retail banking such as low retention, high costs, and increasing competition.

Mitigating Challenges to Thrive in the Retail Banking Industry

Thus, data and analytics can help set you apart in a crowded marketplace.  Remember that innovation can come not only from you but also your clients. Learn how to how US Bank achieved success by elevating client-led innovation.

Watch the Session from WE Prosper Summit 2019 Now–>

Data Strategy Best Practices to Drive Value & Personalization

data strategy best practices

Data is everywhere. We all have to deal with it, irrespective of our industry or sector. Every customer or donor transaction generates a data point. Simply collecting these data points cannot help you achieve personalization or derive value from your data. Data strategy best practices, when tailored to the needs of your organization, can deliver great value.

Data can serve many purposes. It can deliver insights, help you personalize your outreach, increase conversion rates, and deliver greater ROI. Furthermore, people are doing great things with data. Using “Data for Good” is becoming a growing phenomenon. So, the question is how can data help you?

Tom Monahan, Founder and Managing Partner of Norton Street Capital, recently shared insights on leveraging data to drive value and personalization at WE Prosper Summit 2019.

Read on to see how you can meet your organization’s goals through applying these data strategy best practices. 

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!

We’re All in the Business of Persuasion

Think of the last time you changed your mind about something. The process usually involves learning some news or receiving new data. You’ve learned something new that has led you to reconsider what you know. This means data is persuasive.

We’re all in the business of changing people’s minds. This could mean that they need to be convinced to give to your organization or to purchase your brand’s items. Your data strategy can help you accomplish this.

Data is like Oil

Clive Humby, British mathematician said, “Data is the new oil…” This means that data cannot offer value in its raw form. Like oil, it needs to be refined to deliver value. Furthermore, like oil, more value is accrued by the users of data than the owners of it.

So, how do you refine your data to ensure that it delivers value? Applying the core principles of strategy can help you derive valuable and actionable insights.

Core Principles of Strategy

At any organization, the overall strategy needs to be:

  1. Focused- If you find something that works specifically for your organization, pay attention to it and develop it to a point of exclusion of competing elements.
  2. Distinctive- Every player in the market cannot have the same strategy.  So, by understanding where you stand out and taking advantage of your position is ideal.
  3. Authentic- The way you stand out has to be true to your organization’s story. Your position should be organic. Furthermore, aiming for fairness is not always appropriate for your strategy. It’s better to stay out of fair fights and enter markets where you have a singular, unfair advantage over your competitors.
  4. Iterative- A strategy will do you no good if it is static. As much as you want to have a core mission and vision, your organization has to be flexible enough to accommodate what is contextual and relevant.
  5. Sustainable- Competition is forever. Although your strategy needs to be iterative, it also needs to be sustainable in the long run. If your strategy becomes plateaus, your organization could be headed for trouble.
  6. Valuable- Ultimately, it comes down to offering real value to your customer or donor. You need to offer a solution that makes a difference in your customer’s life. Similarly, as a nonprofit, you need to offer a solution so that your donor can make a difference.

These core principles are universal and can be applied to your data management. Thus, here are a few data strategy best practices to help you fulfill your fundraising or marketing goals.

Top 5 Data Strategy Best Practices

1. Sourcing

Don’t simply focus on what you can do, but on areas where you can excel. Many companies can claim that they have unique data. While that may be true, does your data have broad applications?

If the data you collect is accurate and informative but very specific to your industry and even more so to your organization, it offers no value to others. This means that your data cannot be an added source in your revenue stream. Similarly, when you source data from other entities, you have to ensure that it serves the broader purpose of your organization and not just a single department.

2. Staging and Structure

Save, combine, and protect data in interesting ways. Any of these could prove to be advantageous.

For example, WealthEngine goes beyond industry standards when it comes to data protection. Our regularly audited SOC 2 Type II certification sets us apart from other wealth data analytics solutions. This certification ensures all of our users that no one can misuse or hack the data they are compiling.

3. Analytics

Your data strategy could lie in combining your unique data with other data points. By doing so, you may be able to predict something that no one else can. While your data may be proprietary and well-suited to deliver insights to your organization, you can strengthen this even further with third-party data.

For instance, you may want to run a direct mail campaign. Your team already has a list of prospects and their addresses. You can make your campaign much more effective through personalization. Your team can add demographic and lifestyle data on these contacts through a wealth screening. Now, you are working with a broader picture of who these people are and what makes them tick. It is easier for you to deliver more impactful messages to them.

4. Value Creation

Your data strategy must create unique value. It is better to avoid broad, obvious approaches if you want your approach to be sustainable. Similarly, avoiding gimmicks to provide real value to your customers and donors will increase their LTV.

You could stand out by offering convenience, unique/intuitive bundling, economic benefits, or even emotional benefits. For instance, let’s say you are a university. Typically, you will have various departments collect data for their specific purpose. Admissions has data on incoming students, while alumni relations has data on graduates. Similarly, various academic departments have data on current students. These databases can often be silos. By unifying your database and creating a cohesive picture of all students and alumni, you will identify missed opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration.

5. Value Extraction

How do you get a fair return on the value you create? You begin by defining what fair means to you.  Any value return must benefit your customers, employees, and investors. You cannot choose to please only one of these parties as they all have opposing needs. Therefore, balance is key in your data strategy.

Finally, keep customer permissions in mind. There is a thin line between valuable and creepy.

3 Key Data Strategy Takeaways

  1. Your data strategy cannot just be to collect lots of it. Volume does not equal value. Data is like oil- it has to be refined and processed correctly to be valuable.
  2. Your data can be unique, but it has to have broad applications. Moreover, you can add value by offering unique insights or predicting something that no one else can.
  3. Ensure that you get a fair return on your data. Return could mean both the price that a third party pays for your insights as well as how much your data-strategy can support your overall organizational goals.
    For example, Starbucks and McDonalds are both data-driven QSRs, they both use data differently. But it pays off for each one because it serves each of their business strategies. McDonald’s uses data to increase speed while Starbucks uses it to create a curated cafe experience with personalized offerings.

Interested in learning more about Tom’s talk on data strategy? Catch a recap of his session from WE Prosper Summit 2019.

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Delivering Innovation by Balancing Technology with the Human Touch

delivering innovation

Personalization is at the tip of every fundraiser and marketer’s tongue. Achieving personalization in your organization’s outreach requires innovation. Delivering innovation means thinking beyond convention. This out-of-the-box thinking can be driven by you or even by your donors or customers.

In the case of the latter, you need to listen to your contacts and let them tell you what suits them best.  Innovation trends across various industries are changing client expectations.  

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!

What Customers & Donors Look For

Chady AlAhmar, SVP of Strategy and Analytics, U.S. Bank Wealth Management has said that there is a  5-step process that has helped them drive innovation.

You begin with your customer or donor. Understand their expectations in order to deliver innovation. Here is what they expect based on their journey:

1. Ease, Simplicity, and Increased Control

The extent of technology in our daily lives has made people expect ease of transactions whether it comes to giving, saving, or spending. They know that they produce data with each transaction and that is okay as long as data is collected in a transparent way that gives them control over it.

The emphasis here is on data- your donors and customers are saying “I expect you to know me.”

2. Personalization and holistic communication

You cannot be everything to everyone. By the same token, not everything you send out will appeal to everyone. For instance, if you reach out with a 401K message to everyone in your database, it may not resonate. To deliver innovation here means to offer support instead of seeking a sale. In the previous instance, if you find out who has just changed jobs or moved and then reach out to them- you can offer advice and guidance on updating their 401K. Doing this would make your message resonate better.

The emphasis here is on prioritization– your donors and customers are saying, “Find me at the right time.”

3. Cost-Efficiency

Your contacts expect that you will find the most cost-effective way to reach them. Invest in innovation that meets their expectations but does not increase your costs dramatically, trickling down to increased costs for them.

What’s important here is the distribution of efficiencies. The expectation is, “Not only do I want you to find me at the right time, but I also want you to find me in the right place.”

4. Social Responsibility

This is becoming an increasingly important expectation, especially among younger generations. Your contacts are saying, “if there is no purpose behind this, I am not interested in it”. If you are a nonprofit, for you, this means that every appeal that you send them has to be something that strikes an emotional chord. Every appeal must also showcase the impact of any gift clearly.

The emphasis here is on activation. You are expected to “Offer me purpose and meaning, not sales pitches.”

5. Comfort with algorithm-based decisions

Users are becoming more and more comfortable with algorithm-based decision-making. This means that they are okay with their GPS predicting their destination in the morning as well as Alexa predicting their mood to create a playlist. Technology is being embraced by your customers and donors, which means that you can deliver innovation by using the latest tech.

Don’t fear technology. But, don’t lose sight of learning. “The more we interact, the better you will know me (and others like me).”

6. Security

The ease with technology and with the ubiquitous nature of data means that security is a growing concern. Your contacts expect you to take precautions to secure the data you have gathered about them.

Delivering innovation here means finding a way to bridge the gap between privacy and personalization.

How You Can Deliver Innovation Based on Expectations

Knowing your contacts’ expectations now empowers you to deliver innovation in a personalized manner. But, how can you meet these expectations?

The answer lies in being able to balance IQ with eQ. In fact, it is all about human capital and human potential. Delivering innovation comes down to using technology to empower humans to do great things.

PEOPLE + INNOVATION = A Winning Combination.

The balance, of course, depends on the nature of service and the complexity of client needs. For example, a museum competes not only against other museums but also for people’s time. As the museum, you need to make visitors feel a certain way when they are there. Therefore, they should be driven to return.

Innovation means realizing that your offer strikes an emotional chord as well as offers ease and convenience. You need to use data to drive customer experience. Listen to them, understand how they feel. Deliver a solution that caters to their needs.

Delivering Innovation: 3 Key Takeaways

  1. Embrace technology to enhance the donor or customer experience. Thus, you can adjust your innovation strategy to include expectations created by emerging client journeys.
  2. Improve your value proposition through data analytics. It’s important to embrace data and machine learning to deliver innovation. But, don’t lose sight of the value that the human perspective can offer. Thus, you should sense check your data-driven strategies with your instinct and experience.
  3. Think about how you make your client feel. Ultimately, the best experiences are driven by appealing to your contacts’  IQ as well as eQ.

Interested in learning more about Chady’s talk on delivering innovation? Catch a recap of his session from WE Prosper Summit 2019.

Watch Now–>

Retail Marketing: Using Technology to Drive Personalization at Scale

retail marketing

We’ve heard that personalization should be at the core of retail marketing strategy. Does this mean that you send discounts on jeans to previous customers who bought jeans? Yes, that’s a part of it, but there is so much more. Every touchpoint needs to make the customer feel like they are having a one-on-one conversation with you. However, from a business standpoint, your strategy needs to be scalable as well. The question then becomes about balancing scalability with that personal touch.

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!

Bob Ghafouri, Senior Managing Director, Founder, Bloom by Accenture recently addressed this question and others at WE Prosper Summit.

How Can You Scale Personalization?

Platforms are disrupting every industry. Retail marketing is no different. In fact, platforms can enable you to achieve personalization at scale. They are able to do this by focusing on three elements:

  1. Experience Disruption- creating a frictionless customer experience that makes everyone pivot. Eg: AirBnB made it so convenient to find the comfort of home in a new city that people started to prefer them to hotels for certain types of trips.
  2. Business Model Disruption- changing the value chain or existing business models to find an advantage. Eg: Dollar Shave Club cut out other players in the value chain and went direct to consumer. By doing this, they were able to keep costs very low and provide value and convenience to their customers.
  3. Technological Disruption- when technology enables you to take leaps, speed up innovation or benefit from convenience. Eg: Amazon’s Redshift platform- a new business could use this to launch themselves into the market in a matter of days

These disruptions all allow retail marketers to personalize their offerings. For instance, experiences can be curated to meet customer preferences. Similarly, value and/or convenience can be factored in based on what is most important to each customer segment. With the help of technology, these offerings can remain customized but can be scaled as businesses grow.

What do Retail Customers Want?

When it comes to retail, customers know what they want. They want personalization & control. This means that they don’t just want to be offered a multitude of choices. Options generated by retail marketing should cater to their preferences. Furthermore, they want to be in control of their journey and the information you hold about them. The statistics speak for themselves:

  • 45% of consumers left a website due to being overwhelmed by too many options
  • 82% of customers are willing to share data- as long as there is transparency, control, and service
  • 79% of consumers have never felt a brand was too personal or invasive
  • 81% of consumers will shop more if you recognize, remember, and make relevant recommendations
  • 75% of consumers want to control their journey

If you’re in retail marketing, the data above shows you that listening to your customers is a large part of the exercise. Let them educate you on how best to serve them.

How can Retail Marketing Address Customer Wants and Needs?

Think service design: a dynamic service experience is critical to getting 1:1 personalization. Customer experience should be designed in such a way that every touchpoint must feel personal. Focus on three elements to develop this design:


Personalized Shopping: Stalking is Not Personalization

You have several kinds of data at your organization. You don’t have to track your customer’s every move or stalk them in order to get insights. Personalized shopping can be driven by combining different types of data- both your own and that acquired from third parties.

You can use transactional or historical data + shared intent by the customer + insights from machine learning that can provide inferred intent. These three combined can provide actionable insights and be powerful to drive personalization. Further, your communication can be more proactive through these.

For example, your customer may have bought entry-level luxury handbags before. You then notice that they add a high-end luxury bag to their cart and abandon it there for some time. This shows you their intent or preparedness to spend on a big-ticket item. Using data science, you can analyze similar patterns among other customers to predict the value of their next purchase or even predict the likelihood of a big-ticket purchase on their next transaction.

When you have this kind of insight, you can send them tailored offers- maybe a personalized shopping experience in-store or a promotion offered specifically around high-end handbags.

Personalized Merchandising: Profiling is Not Personalization

Data and machine learning are powerful tools in retail marketing, of course. Data-driven segmentation can also help you refine personalization. However, even the best algorithm may not be enough to create something highly personalized. Applying human intuition on a digital platform is what will get you there.

For instance, let’s consider the previous example. Your predictive model indicated that the customer is ready for a luxury purchase in their next transaction. However, as a seasoned retail marketing professional, you may realize that the bag remaining in their cart is a sign. Your instinct can take you from prediction to anticipation. Prediction is about retailers being in control, but anticipation puts the control back in the hands of the customer.  In this case, your experience tells you that the customer is hesitant about making such a big decision.

Knowing how likely they are to make a purchase empowers you to approach them with personalized merchandising. You may send them a video about craftsmanship on the brand of handbags they are interested in. Thus, you showcase the value of the product to them. On the other hand, you may realize that they are ready to make a luxury purchase but maybe the handbag is a bigger commitment than they are ready for. In this instance, personalization could be in the form of promotions on belts, wallets or other smaller items from the same brand.

Personalized Advisor: Chatbots are Not Personalization

Retail consumers seek experts just like anybody else. They are looking for personalization in the form of advice. While chatbots are a nifty solution to interact with customers at scale, they cannot replace real advice.

In the spectrum of virtual to real experts, there are three archetypes that are typically used in retail marketing.

Retail marketers are pivoting towards 1:1 personalized orchestration engines. These are not just about sharing advice but also listening to your consumers.

For instance, when a customer is shopping online your recommendation engine may be showing them similar products. However, customers seek advice more than recommendations. You can drive personalization by showing them how to pair the item they are looking at with others or how to style it for different occasions based on their lifestyle.

You could also offer advice in the form of answering frequently asked questions about the product. This can go beyond product specs to show how the product functions in different settings, how durable it can be, etc.

Thus, you can build personalization into the entire customer journey. By listening as much as recommending, retail marketers can ensure that customers control their own journeys.

Top 4 Retail Marketing Takeaways:

Here are four top takeaways from Bob’s talk on personalization in retail marketing.

  1. Consumers don’t mind that you have data on them. In fact, they preferred to be recognized and offered relevant offers. But, they want transparency and control over the data.
  2. Combine your knowledge of your customers with data science to gain insights.
  3. Become proactive in your communications, open yourself up to listening to your customers. Go from predicting customer behavior to anticipating it.
  4. Retail experiences need to be personalized in every step of the customer journey. In order to achieve this in a meaningful way, you need to combine technology and human instinct.

Catch a Recap of Making it Personal

Watch the full recap of Making it Personal, presented at WE Prosper Summit 2019.

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Donor-Advised Funds: How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Untapped Gifts

Donor Advised Funds

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) may seem out of reach, but reports show that they are growing at a rapid rate. Furthermore, DAFs have been making a significant impact on giving. For instance, a donor recently found out that his DAF had the ability to support early education impacting 80 children. The fund that went out to support this cause was in the ballpark of $170,000. This was possible through appreciated securities and growth of the fund in their portfolio.

If your nonprofit has not been leveraging Donor-Advised Funds to supplement your fundraising strategies, following our recommended best practices can help you get started. Make sure you get a copy of our best practices guide at the end of this article.

But first, let’s start with the basics.

What is a Donor-Advised Fund?

Amy Pirozzolo, Head of Marketing, Fidelity Charitable says, “A donor advised fund is like having a set-aside investment account just for your charitable giving.”

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DAFs are a way for donors to make a charitable contribution and get their tax deduction immediately. However, funds, securities, and assets are held by a public charity. The donor can then recommend grants to go out to charities from these assets.

Three Key Benefits of Using DAFs

  1. The nature of these funds allows donors to be more thoughtful about how they allocate resources to charities. It takes the time pressure off when they have had a financial windfall. They can establish the DAF right away and receive a tax deduction. But, they still have time to think about how best to use these funds.
    In the words of a current DAF donor, these funds allow you to put 98% of the focus on giving and 2% on the implementation/technicalities of it.
  2. Assets can appreciate over time allowing charities to benefit from a higher value contribution.
  3. DAFs are also growing at an exponential rate when compared to the growth of overall giving. For example, giving overall grew 5% in 2017 vs DAFs that grew by 20% in the same period.

Profile of a Typical Donor

  1. The median age is 65. However, giving can begin as early as 55.
  2. 79% of them also volunteer their time with their money
  3. 68% have said that DAF is right for them because they have the money now but haven’t thought about how/where to give yet
  4. 76% give appreciated assets (privately held assets or publically traded stock)
  5. 76% give because it is an investment growth of charitable assets
  6. 27% give because they had a financial windfall

Before we get to our best practice recommendations, let’s understand some commonly held misconceptions about Donor-Advised Funds.

Donor-Advised Fund Myths- What is actually true?




DAF donors are typically wealthy The average DAF donor has a bank balance of $17,000
DAF contributions are always major gifts Gifts have a wide range, but the average is about $4000
Money doesn’t move when it ends up in a Donor-Advised Fund On average 37% of funds go to charities in year 1, 74% within 5 years and 88% within 10 years
DAFs are limited in number Over 1000 charities have DAF programs


5 Best Practices for Nonprofits to Get These Funds

Learn how best to fish in your own pond. Identify prospects for DAF giving from within your donor base.

Download our best practices guide here–>