How to Spot Major Gift Opportunities In Your Day of Giving Donor List

Day of Giving

Giving Day or Day of Giving is being adopted by more universities across the US every year. Day of Giving collections are also increasing. Cornell, for example, saw double the number of donors in one year. They’ve also raised over $7M in a single year, surpassing all their previous Giving Day records.

With each university starting their own version of this day, the importance of this day cannot be ignored. Let’s start with the basics and finish by analyzing how you can find Major Gift opportunities in your Day of Giving donor list.

What is Day of Giving?

Day of Giving is a specific 24-hour window in which a university accepts gifts from anyone, anywhere in the world. Gifts are given online, which means that alumni and other members of the institution’s community can lend support from anywhere.

Giving Days are becoming increasingly popular due to their viral and convenient nature.  Some universities leverage #GivingTuesday to run their Day of Giving campaigns. Yet, others have their own designated Giving Days.

These events also have an element of gamification. Each higher education institution sets up several giving challenges or goals that donors can reach. Accomplishing these goals gains them acknowledgment and recognition among the community.

For instance, the University of Chicago has various viral opportunities. They recognize their first donor, their first international donor, etc. They even have a Nobel Prize Challenge—asking donors to donate $91 to represent the number of Nobel Laureates who are part of their alumni diaspora.

Giving Day Success

Many WealthEngine clients have seen incredible success during their respective events. For instance, Boston University raised  $3.5M from 11,800 donors. Donors included alumni and other members of the BU community who donated from 50 different countries.

The time-sensitivity of these events creates a sense of urgency among donors. The viral/social conversations around them build a sense of community. Moreover, the ability to make donations online, especially to specific causes, makes it more convenient to donate.

Vanderbilt University recently raised $9.4M from less than 8500 donors. This shows that Day of Giving events are gaining traction and giving amounts are also increasing each year.

Lifetime Value of Giving Day Donors

Donor Lifetime Value is an estimate of how much you can expect a particular donor to contribute to your organization over their lifetime.

There are many factors that go into calculating what this number should be. Not only should you take into account a donor’s wealth indicators but you should also look at their propensity to give to your cause.

Giving Day donors are a unique set. They may differ from your other donors by being more spontaneous with their gifts. They may also donate sporadically over time. Furthermore, these events attract donors who may not come in through the typical fundraising pipeline.

The inconsistency or diversity of donors should not stop you from assessing their lifetime value. With the right engagement techniques, Giving Day donors can be put on the path to long-term membership. Click to learn more about calculating Donor Lifetime Value.

Hidden Major Gift Opportunity

When new donors come in through your Giving Day channel, use the opportunity to learn more about them. Wealth Screening can help you learn more about their wealth, lifestyle, interests, and affinities. Thus, screening can provide a 360-degree view of your Day of Giving donor list.

More importantly, screening your list can uncover gems you didn’t know you had. For instance, a major university that is a WealthEngine client found out that one of their low-level donors was capable of giving a Major Gift. Through screening, the university was able to determine the right ask. As a result, they have now received $5M from this donor.

In fact, Washinton & Lee University’s advancement team has said, “Our first six months of peer screening resulted in the identification of 284 completely new prospects with validated gift capacity ratings of over 100,000. We were also able to confirm and/or upgrade known prospects at equally high levels.”

Further, WealthEngine clients receive WE Insights, a free service that showcases what makes their donors unique.

average donor profile

 

Take Screening Data to the Next Level Through Modeling

Screening Data and WE Insights give you a more holistic picture of your Giving Day donors. However, you could take these insights to the next level through modeling.

A model is a specific formula created for your institution. This formula helps answer a particular question. Click to learn more about creating a model.

Modeling can identify Major Gift opportunities in your Giving Day list in three simple steps:

Step 1: Model your Past Major Gift Donors

Create a model to understand your existing Major Gift donors. The model will scan your database and divide it into 10 equal segments ranked by likelihood of Major Gift giving. You can use the top 10% or 20% of your donor base as the ideal sample.

This ideal group will have a set of common traits among them.

Step 2: Run Your Giving Day Donor List against the Major Gift model

Doing this will score each Day of Giving donor against your Major Gift formula. This will help you identify donors who resemble your Major Gift donors. Similar traits are a predictor of similar behavior.

Step 3: Prioritize Major Gift Donors from your Giving Day List

Those Giving Day donors with high match scores to your existing major gift donors should become a top priority. This means that these Giving Day donors have both the capacity and the propensity to give Major Gifts. You can then rank them based on their score and hand them off to your Major Gifts Officers for cultivation.

Get a Free “Test File” analysis of a segment of your Giving Day donors

Interested in learning more about the Major Gift potential in your Giving Day donor list? WealthEngine can provide a free test file analysis to show you what your results could look like.

WE Screen can add 50+ data points to your sample list of donors so you can understand their gift capacity range and propensity to give. Furthermore, WE Screen can add actionable information on lifestyle, demographics, interests, and affinities.  Screening data will be accompanied by a sample WE Insights report that will show you what makes your Giving Day donors respond to asks.

Simply fill out the form on the right and a WealthEngine rep will contact you about your free test file and WE Insights report.

Related Articles

University Fundraising: Use Modeling to Identify Overlooked Prospects

University sees 88% Reduction in Major Gift Donor Lead Time Through Data Modeling

University Fundraising: Use Modeling to Identify Overlooked Prospects

university fundraising

Did you know that your screening data can help you find overlooked donors? Wealth Screening is not a new concept in university fundraising. WealthEngine’s solution WE Screen has helped several higher education institutions understand their alumni base by appending a breadth of data. For instance, Northwestern University used WE Screen to enhance their development efforts.

Prior to the first parent screening, their Parents’ Fund raised approximately $500,000 annually. Within the first year of screening, they found that the Fund had doubled. Within four years, the Fund had almost quadrupled to $1.75M.

Screening is a great start. However, higher education fundraising has a little known secret that few educational institutions use. The secret is modeling. When you create a model of your past donors, you learn unique insights about your contacts. Continue reading “University Fundraising: Use Modeling to Identify Overlooked Prospects”

University sees 88% Reduction in Major Gift Donor Lead Time Through Data Modeling

One of WealthEngine’s clients is a large, private, research university in the midwest with an international student body of about 12,000 students.

The university’s fundraising team had a plan in place for fundraising at all levels. However, Major Gifts were a challenge. WealthEngine’s Client Engagement Manager (CEM) suggested that they use wealth modeling as a solution.

The development team was skeptical at first. By explaining that WealthEngine could build a custom model for the university, the CEM was able to convince the Major Gift Officers to try it as a pilot program.

The custom model included categorical and numerical data chosen by the university with guidance from the CEM. Custom data from the university was able to generate a model that automatically identified the top 10% of their donors.

These were donors with gift capacities in the $100,000 range. Over 200 members were identified as top prospects for the university’s major gifts program.

The model instilled confidence in the development team. As the next step of pilot testing, their Major Gifts Officers called a random sample of 10 members from their list. To their surprise, all 10 members answered their call and had a conversation with them. Thus, their effort resulted in a staggering response rate during the pilot stage.

From the 10 phone calls, the university was able to have in-person meetings with 3 major gift prospects. Therefore, the pilot saw a 30% engagement rate. Major Gift Officers are now in serious talks with 2 of the 3 members for gifts at the $100,000 level, resulting in a 20% overall lead conversion rate.

The exercise has made the university realize that only the top 10% of their database has a gift capacity of $20 million. Their major gifts program, therefore, received a significant boost from the custom model developed by WealthEngine. What’s more? Their Major Gifts Officers were able to go from initial phone call to a conversation about actual gift amounts within 2 months. The model was able to cut down the lead time by about 88% compared to the industry average.

 

WealthEngine Customers: Get a Free Modeling Sample of Your Data.

Secrets of High Performing Organizations

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In the education sector, a high performing organization is one that, on average, raises substantially more money per full-time student than its peers.  So, what is it about these high performing organizations that enables them to have such effective fundraising programs? It all starts with their investment in data, analytics and research.  High performing organizations (HPOs) tend have a higher number of prospect research staff (roughly twice as many) and spend more on data and analytics tools and services than do their peers (roughly twice as much).  In particular, high performing organizations use predictive modeling much more often than do their peers.

Continue reading “Secrets of High Performing Organizations”