Fundraising through Modeling: Animal Rights Group Closes 7-Figure Donation

WealthEngine’s client is a global animal rights organization with 6.5 million members. About 13% of their member base actually consists of active donors. They found that while other members were aligned to their cause, there was hesitation to make actual donations.

Therefore, the organization made it their goal is to close the morality gap. This meant that they wanted a plan to convert their aspirational donors into actual donors.

Their consequent approach to development and advancement can be termed as Engagement Fundraising.

Engagement Fundraising includes assigning engagement scores to their member base and segmenting their base using ROI. They also conduct Donor Voice surveys where data from primary research is combined with screening data from WealthEngine. Screening data helps paint a holistic picture of their member base.

As part of their on-going engagement drive, the nonprofit conducts quarterly town halls. They report that these town halls have been great for conversion. Using a custom data model created by WealthEngine, the organization was able to efficiently move high net-worth prospects along on the donor journey model.

They could then create specific events for their list in cities where there is a high concentration of prospects.

The nonprofit’s prospect marketing automation is triggered by donor activity on its website. Automation categorizes their member base into new donors and legacy donors. New donors are batch screened so that their development team can understand their capacity, propensity, and intent.

Batch screening also helps the team understand the next best step. This step might not always be donation but generating awareness depending on where the donor is in their journey.

In four instances, WealthEngine was able to help convert donors or increase giving amounts.

1. Planned Giving

A survey revealed that a set of legacy donors would put the organization in their will. WealthEngine helped reveal that these donors were donating at the $500 level. Through WealthEngine solutions, the organization was able to identify 2500 such members who became prospects for planned giving.

2. Major Gifts

In another instance, WealthEngine’s custom major gift model helped the nonprofit close the morality gap. The model helped scan the organization’s donor base for major gift potential. As a result, 800 members with P2G 1 scores were converted into Vanguard Donors. 

3. 7-Figure, Multi-year Donation

The nonprofit was able to leverage WealthEngine’s P2G score to achieve a 7 figure major gift! They had a legacy donor by the name in their donor base who gave regularly gifts that ranged between $1000 and $5000 over the years. WealthEngine was able to identify her as a high-quality prospect for Major Gifts. The nonprofit then cultivated the relationship through personalization and was able to convert her into a multi-year donor at a 7-figure level.

4. Actionable Donor Segmentation

Understanding their customers led the nonprofit to have better segmentation and a more targeted strategy for each segment.

For instance, they found that millennials and Gen-Xers were social media savvy. This led them to encourage members from these segments to run birthday fundraisers on Facebook. The campaign was enabled by WealthEngine data that is granular enough to include details such as birth month. As a result of this insight, the organization was able to raise $250,000 through Facebook birthday fundraisers. Therefore, they were able to leverage its members’ networks to fundraise effectively within these segments. 

WealthEngine Customers: Get a Free Modeling Sample Using Your Data. Start now. 

After Giving Tuesday Has Come and Gone

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Giving Tuesday (or your Local Giving Day) has come and gone. While your “heavy lifting” is done and you’ve raised some money, what can you do to leverage these efforts? 

WealthEngine can help. WE have put together a great resource to help you in the wake of Giving Tuesday.

Download our free tip sheet, After Giving Tuesday Checklist, and get started on maximizing your year end fundraising efforts. 

Giving Tuesday Tips: Thinking outside the box

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Giving Tuesday. Colorado Gives Day. One Island Giving Day.  Arizona Gives Day. New York Gives Day. Illinois Day of Giving. Giving to the Max Day. All – and there are many more —  are founded with a single goal of bringing awareness to the importance of philanthropy and giving back to the local community.

The Giving Tuesday idea is simple, piggybacking on the post-Thanksgiving sales cycle of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”. The other state-wide giving days simply pick a date – ranging from sometime in October to early December – and are generally championed by a community foundation which provides an online portal and often, an incentive fund.

So what can you do to make the most of this? After all, many nonprofits rely on year-end giving for a large portion of their philanthropic budget. 

Some simple ideas:

  1.  Plan ahead. It’s just about impossible to mount a successful giving day effort without beginning to plan as early as spring or early summer. 
  2. Pick a financial goal. Do you want to raise $10,000 or $50,000? More?? Make sure the goal is feasible and not pulled out of thin air.
  3. Create a communications plan using all possible channels: your newsletter, social media, your website, your blog and email blasts.
  4. Do you have an online giving portal on your website? It’s essential.
  5. Segment your donors and prospects by their P2G score (lower is better) and giving history.
  6. Make it personal. Engage your board and other key volunteers to send the message to their friends and colleagues.
  7. Plan a live event and on the day, tweet out your results as they come in. Make sure it’s fun and festive. If you can get one of your corporate donors to help underwrite it or if you can secure donations of food and drinks, so much the better.
  8. Be thankful. Show your gratitude using all your communication channels and share your results. Consider a simple You Tube-type video communicating the thanks of your team and those you serve.
  9. Steward your donors, new and old. Be sure to get all gift acknowledgement forms out within 48 hours. Set aside an entire day to do so and make it a team effort.

For more tips, as well as some planning guides, visit your sponsoring community foundation’s website, https://www.givingtuesday.org/organizations#block–the-complete-toolkit , www.razoo.com/givingdays and http://givingdayplaybook.org/planning — a service of the Knight Foundation

Making a list, checking it twice

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Gearing up for the end-of-year campaigns? Let’s talk about your list.
 
As the fall season kicks into high gear, most nonprofits are also gearing up for the best time to reach out to donors for those holiday and year-end campaigns. On average, most nonprofits receive at least 40% of their annual donations during this time and for some, that percentage is nearly 70%.
 
Getting properly prepared to maximize year-end fundraising efforts and reach donors is the first step and that starts with good data. According to direct marketing experts, there are three critical elements to a direct mail or email appeal: the list, the design and the copy. The quality of a list can make or break a campaign. It is the biggest and most important investment in your campaign. Caring for a list should be a top priority when it comes to fundraising. But how do you care for a list?
 
Good question. On a regular basis, whether you choose to do it annually, quarterly or more often, audit the database to be sure data is being entered consistently and accurately. A few simple questions about the data can get you started in the right direction. Are salutation fields being populated properly? Is giving history correct and up-to-date? Are returned mail and email bounce backs noted and updated where possible? You might even consider running a spell check on the entire file. Based on the outcome, consider creating an internal “data stylebook” – for more, download our Data-Driven Annual Campaign workbook here.
 
Next, when was the last time you ran a National Change of Address (NCOA) on your mailing list? Did you know WE can help with that? With our WE Clean product, you’ll not only get information on the 10-20% of your constituents who have moved in a given year, but email addresses, phone number and a deceased append. The price is literally pennies per record – and, you’ll be saving a lot of additional money on returned mail and print overages.
 
To help get you started on getting your list ready, take our Data Readiness Challenge by downloading this free data hygiene checklist.
 
If you want more information on data appends, contact WealthEngine today.

Turn Your Event Participants into Donors

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As summer draws to an end and we prepare for fall, we are about to enter the season of “-Thons”.  Hosting a fundraising walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, dance-a-thon, swim-a-thon, read-a-thon or other fundraising –thon can be a great way to build support for your cause, identify new prospects, build a relationship with new donors, and build your base of support. Whether you work for a charity, hospital, university, theater or advocacy organization, now is the time for development offices to create a plan for how to turn event participants into donors. Turning event participants into donors can be easily done, but requires careful communication and a moves management strategy.

Here are five steps to consider when planning your event to find new event participants, identify fresh prospects, and maximize your relationship with existing event participants:

1. Promote your event via social media to find new participants.

Don’t put on the same event for the same participants who are donating year after year! Find new constituents to invite using social media. By casting a wide net you will find prospects who are interested in your cause or activity and, with the proper follow through, they can be turned into donors.

Publicize your event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Be sure to include a call to action with every post, either a way to request more information or to register directly on your website.

Have your loyal supporters and advocates publicize your event for you to ensure it is being viewed by as many eyes as possible. By asking existing event supporters and past participants to share the event via their own social networks, they are giving your event a credible voice by publicly showing their support and also finding you new participants (and new potential donors!).

2.) Build out your invitation list and find new high potential prospects to participate.

As you build out your event invitation list, consider ways to expand your universe to include more high potential prospects. Be sure to leverage board relationships, and consider tools that will inform you of who in your board’s circle of friends might participate, as you work to strategically develop this list.  Consider new avenues to pursue as you market the event broadly, such as local interest groups and clubs.

Questions to ask yourself might include:

  • How do I find new constituents with high giving potential that might be interested in my event?
  • Which are the most capable prospects to invite to our event?
  • Who do our board and other VIPs know that may respond to a personal invitation to our event and who should ask for their participation?

3.) Screen event participants before and after your event.

It is important to review your event participant list both before and after your event. This ensures that you know the financial capacity of participants and that no wealthy prospects slip through the cracks.

As you get to know your list inside and out and identify the participants with the highest giving potential, develop a plan for your high potential prospects. Consider inviting them to pre- or post- event VIP activities, such as breakfasts or post-event celebrations. If the idea of planning an event around your event is too much for you, consider sending invitations for meetings or “grabbing coffee” a week or two after the event itself. Personal follow through with each high–potential prospect is a must to create ongoing engagement and to understand the individuals’ motivations and interests.

4.) Use metrics as you wrap up your event for the year.

Applying analytics to your event list for both segmentation and tracking is crucial as you wrap up the event and before you move on to your next big challenge – the ask. Metrics to consider include:

  • Event Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Cost to Raise a Dollar (CRD)
  • Cost per person for event
  • # of gifts received from event
  • % of giving from event
  • Dollars contributed from event
  • Average event gift size
  • Event cost

Be sure to segment your event list to determine who needs immediate follow up, based on his/her wealth profile. Follow steps in our Growing Individual Gifts workbook for best practices on how to set up a meeting to build a relationship with potential donors. Strike while the iron is hot to stay in touch and build a relationship.

5.) Once you know enough, make the ask!

Before asking your prospect for a substantial gift, there are a few questions you want to be sure are already answered:

  • What is this donor’s interest or passion and where does it align with our mission?
  • What is the project they will be most interested in funding?
  • What is the correct ask amount for this donor? This should be in harmony with the project or need you are seeking funding for, as well as the donor’s capacity to give.
  • Who should be involved in the solicitation? The president or CEO? A board member? A friend or colleague?
  • Is this the right time to ask? Should we wait until after the recession is over? After their pledge to the [insert charity] building fund is over? After their children are out of college?
  • Who else may be involved in the decision to give? A spouse? Other family members? Financial or tax advisors?
  • How does s/he want to be recognized for a gift? Knowing their stewardship desires before asking for the gift ensures you handle any gift negotiations appropriately, and also that you accomplish post-giving appreciation and recognition in the most meaningful way for the donor(s).

When you know the answers to these questions in advance, you will be making a solicitation that is hard to say no to.

For more information on growing your development program, download Growing Individual Gifts: An Analytical Approach to Data-Driven Success

Consider the Whole Prospect Picture: Going Beyond P2G and Estimated Giving Capacity

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When conducting research on your prospects it’s important to work efficiently to identify who best to cultivate. If you’re using WealthEngine you more than likely use our Propensity to Give (P2G) score and Estimated Giving Capacity (EGC) to help segment and prioritize your donors and prospects. That’s fantastic! And we absolutely encourage you to use these. 

But there are many other scores and data within the prospect profile that can further enhance your knowledge of the individual. If you aren’t making use of these additional scores, you may be missing out on valuable information about your prospect.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of WealthEngine scores you should also be utilizing.

Cash on Hand:
This modeled score predicts the amount of available funds that are readily accessible for the household; such as checking, savings, and money market accounts. This score can also be used as a proxy for discretionary income.

If your fundraising program is in need of immediate funding for a particular project or initiative, your prospects with higher Cash on Hand range may be some of your best targets.

It can also be helpful when in a gift conversation with a prospect who has not yet made a major gift. For example, you know that their EGC is $1M-$4.9M, but their Cash on Hand is $50K-$99K. Iit may be more realistic to make an initial ask for $50K and build the relationship further from there.

Influence:
This score identifies an individual’s influence in the community based on how many boards (corporate or philanthropic) they are affiliated with. This is done on a scale of 1 to 4, corresponding with quartiles.

Your prospects with a high influence score of 1 or 2 are individuals who are engaged with a larger group of constituents in your community and likely have more corporate and philanthropic connections. This could be helpful if, for example, you wanted to look for some new potential board or committee members. This score could enable you to select and target more dynamic board members who are well-connected.

GuideStar Foundations-High/Medium Quality of Match:
Individuals who serve on boards of private foundations are a somewhat elite group of individuals. Whether it is their own family foundation, or they have been invited to serve on the board of a private or corporate foundation, both are equally significant in displaying that individual’s commitment to philanthropy.

GuideStar Directors-High/Medium Quality of Match:
Delving into the types of organizations where your prospects serve on boards can you give a keen insight in to the causes and charities that they are most passionate about. They have agreed to give their time to serve on a board of this organization, hence, likely displaying a deep commitment to this type of cause and mission.

WE want you to be successful in your fundraising and provide you with detailed profiles so you have a complete picture of your donors and prospects. With our wide range of ratings and scores we give you a sense of not just an individual’s propensity and capacity, but also their financial position, potential influence, and philanthropic interests. Remember to dig deeper into your profiles to learn more about your prospects, which will likely in turn, provide greater returns!

For further information on segmenting and prioritizing donors and prospects view our webinar Best Practices in Prospect Management for Year-End Fundraising Efforts.

Five Keys to Successfully Involve Volunteers in Fundraising

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Involving volunteers in nonprofit fundraising can be challenging and at times downright tricky, especially with the recent decline in the volunteer rate. This makes it all the more important to identify the right volunteers and have strategies in place to retain them. To be successful involving volunteers in fundraising, organizations should consider these key factors:

  • Select the right volunteer for the right job:  Volunteers want to participate in activities in which they are comfortable and will achieve success.  Volunteers can participate in a variety of fundraising activities, including annual campaigns, special events, major gift or capital campaigns or corporate and foundation relations.
  • Provide the volunteer with the tools and training they need for success: It is the staff person or consultant’s job to make certain the volunteer’s job is achievable by providing the needed resources.  Volunteers should be trained in the art and science of fundraising.  Consider inviting volunteer fundraisers to attend industry conferences as well as providing your own, internal training and policies.
  • Involve the volunteer in meaningful, productive activities:  No volunteer wants to do “busy work;” get an intern to do that.  Help your volunteers feel good by giving them impactful opportunities.  When volunteers see the genuine difference they can make, they will continue to be passionate ambassadors for your mission.
  • Track volunteer activities and provide assistance when needed:  Volunteers cannot be trained and forgotten.  Staff must monitor their activities and assess when they need support and when they need assistance or reassignment. 
  • Steward volunteers appropriately: Your volunteers may not want a lot of public recognition, but they do want to be thanked appropriately.  A personalized thank you, lunch with a member of the leadership team, a volunteer recognition event, and/or ongoing communications about the impact of their work will go a long way towards securing support and growing relationships.

If all of this sounds like a big investment of time and resources, you may be wondering, “Wouldn’t it be easier just to do it myself?”  The answer to that is “maybe.”  It may well be easier to do it yourself, but it will not be as effective.  Volunteers bring some special qualities to the table that we as professional staff cannot compete with. They provide:

  • Credibility for the organization just because they are unpaid “volunteers”
  • Peer networks that are all potential supporters of our organizations
  • Skills and talents from other areas of their lives, like business and professional certifications
  • Creativity and enthusiasm that can breathe new life into your operations

Below are resources to help get you started on successfully involving volunteers:

Download Growing Individual Gifts: An Analytic Approach to Data-Driven Success more information on engaging volunteers.

The Data-Driven Annual Fund Part 3: Reporting and Return on Investment

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Just as it is with a capital campaign, it’s important to track and measure your annual fund progress, allowing you to pivot and adjust as needed. Evaluate the success (or not such a success) using reports that focus on previously agreed upon metrics. 

Remember, good metrics are:

  • Relevant – they fit with the organizational and campaign goals and objectives
  • Measurable – they are quantifiable and data can be collected in order to provide reporting
  • Actionable – they allow for corrective action to be taken as needed

Tracking the right metrics can only be an asset to your organization, but what if you’re not sure which metrics to track?

We developed The Data-Driven Annual Fund to help organizations with data understanding and use; strategies for segmentation, solicitation and stewardship of donors and prospects; and measuring and analyzing fundraising ROI and other key metrics.

Part 3: Reporting and Return on Investment discusses evaluating annual fund results and measuring the return on investment. It covers, in deeper detail, metrics, ROI, and benchmarking. Examples and templates are provided so can get started right away.

Download The Data-Driven Annual Fund Part 3: Reporting and Return on Investment.

In case you missed them, download Part 1 and Part 2

Giving USA 2017 Proves Why Wealth Screening is Crucial for Your Sustainability

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Linda Garrison, CFRE, Senior Consultant, WealthEngine

Hot off the press, the newly released Giving USA 2017 draws a line in the philanthropic sand: Of the $390.5 billion given to philanthropy in 2016, nearly 88% of that came from individuals in the form of outright gifts, gifts from family foundations, and planned gifts.

The single largest factor in giving growth was an increase of $10.53 billion in giving by individuals.

That’s astounding.

And it’s exactly why your organization needs to immediately invest in – at the minimum – a wealth screening of your database.  You need to know who you have in there, and who your donors are who could afford to give you more. Without wealth intelligence, many of your best donors will fall by the wayside, perhaps wondering why you never asked them for a more significant investment.

Knowledge truly is power.

Additionally, Giving USA 2017 noted that giving to religion, education, human services, health, public-society benefit, arts/culture/humanities, international affairs and the environment or animal-related causes all experienced a significant uptick, with giving to religion showing a 32% increase. Education and human services received less than half that, with a 15% and 12% jump, respectively. Giving to foundations, including community foundations managing donor advised funds, as well as to family foundations, increased by 10%.

Each charitable subsector grew in 2016 except for giving to individuals, with growth rates ranging from 3% to 7%. Of note, environmental and animal-related causes experienced a 7.2% increase in giving, the largest gain of any philanthropic subsector.

Wealth screening is a core part of our business and now is the time to do it. Your organization can reap the rewards of growing philanthropy prior to the great wealth transfer between Boomers and Millennials.

Giving USA 2017 is produced collaboratively by the Giving USA Foundation™, a public service initiative of The Giving Institute, and The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Top 3 Missed Opportunities to Utilize Wealth Screening for Advancement

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When preparing for a campaign, colleges and university advancement teams have a large number of prospects available to them including alumni, the parents of incoming students, etc. Conducting a wealth screening provides you with data and insights on these prospects that can, and should, be used in your campaign planning. All of this data, however, can become overwhelming and underutilized, resulting in missed opportunities.

Join WealthEngine and Heller Consulting on Tuesday, July 18th at 2:00PM ET for our webinar Top 3 Missed Opportunities to Utilize Wealth Screening for Advancement. We’ll discuss strategies you may not have thought of that can only benefit you and your campaign including:

  • Using your wealth screening to its fullest potential
  • Proper campaign planning so you get started on the right track
  • Ensuring your screening information is integrated into your CRM/DMS
  • How you can quickly take action to maximize opportunities
  • And more!

Register now for Top 3 Missed Opportunities to Utilize Wealth Screening for Advancement.