What We Learned From $100 Million in Software Sales to Nonprofits

Software Sales

Adam Tiberian, Senior Vice President of Sales at WealthEngine, recently spoke at the third annual WE Prosper Summit. Covering the topic of software sales to nonprofits, Adam was able to provide insightful takeaways gleaned from his six years of experience at WealthEngine.

Changes in Software Use Among Nonprofits

As the industry continues to evolve, fundraising for nonprofits has advanced. Phrases like artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis dominate the conversation, yet they were infrequently mentioned just five years ago. 

Analytics has become the driving force behind fundraising efforts. These changes call for a push in automation. Organizations must do more with fewer resources, which opens the door for software to shoulder some of these responsibilities.

The Evolution of Data Analysis

Line graph showing the evolution of data analysis

 

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Tiberian describes the effect of automated analytics on companies like WealthEngine: “As you’re looking at analytics, the analytics has really changed the way organizations are looking at us and they’re using wealth data and wealth intelligence system across so much more than just the fundraising space, but throughout the whole fundraising organization, not just in major gifts. Those are probably the two biggest changes I’ve seen.”

WealthEngine’s technology has become more sophisticated over the years, including improved wealth screening and data analysis. With these features, WealthEngine gives its partners and fundraising organizations the ability to use software to perform data analytics. This information encourages targeted messaging based on propensity to give (P2G), mutual personal interests, and potential donor shares.

Using Personalized Data for Targeted Marketing

These innovations provide insight into who you should engage with, along with how to best engage. This information provides crucial pathways for successful targeted marketing campaigns. 

Nonprofits are able to start meaningful conversations with prospects to create connections over common interests.

Understanding Donors’ Propensity to Give

Personalized data, such as a wealth score, P2G, and donor segmentation, drives engagement to create lasting relationships with donors. Rather than simply knowing a prospect’s P2G, organizations can nurture these relationships through targeted marketing based on data analysis.

Understanding the P2G relies on a wealth score as well as having a clear idea of the donor or potential donor’s motivations for charitable giving. This information allows organizations to segment donor contact lists based on income, interests, and engagement patterns. 

WealthEngine’s Partnership with Salesforce

As stated previously, technology has undergone significant changes in the past five years. To keep up with an evolving industry, WealthEngine has stayed on top of software integrations.

For example, the partnership between WealthEngine and Salesforce means organizations don’t have to change platforms to access information. In keeping with the ‘less is more’ approach, this integration streamlines the process of receiving and using data.

  • Fundraising Initiatives During Unprecedented Times

Traditionally, fundraising plans were developed on an annual basis and implemented throughout the year. In the wake of continued uncertainty, organizations are now adjusting their strategies.

  • Planning in the Era of a 24/7 News Cycle

With constant access to content, things seem to be happening in a matter of seconds rather than over a period of days. This means quick access to updated data is crucial. Flexibility and timely reactions have become fundamentals in fundraising strategy.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Nonprofit Fundraising 

Infographic explaining uncertainty among nonprofits during COVID-19

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Many organizations are seeing a decrease in donations during the pandemic. With economic uncertainty, donor fatigue is a huge challenge many nonprofits are being forced to confront. 

By using tactful, targeted messaging, and properly utilizing data, organizations like the CDC Foundation and Fidelity Charitable have reported high donation numbers despite the pandemic. While COVID-19 continues to disrupt business as usual, adapting marketing tactics and reaching the right prospects will play a crucial role in combating donor fatigue.

WealthEngine’s Latest Security Feature

WealthEngine recently rolled out a new security featuremulti-factor authentication. As Tiberian observes, “there’s a new data world out there…security is a major driver of how they move forward.”

The multi-factor authentication tool helps protect data on your phone by requiring an access code. This feature greatly reduces the risk of an unauthorized party gaining unlawful access to clients’ accounts.

Protecting Your Organization’s Data

Security is an ongoing conversation. With constant technological advancement, protecting data is necessary for any organization. 

Damage happens when data leaks. So, it’s always important for an organization to be prepared and for the software company to ensure information protection.

The Evolution of Fundraising Software

Several years ago, the WealthEngine platform was just a screen and search. This static piece of information contributed to fundraising planning every 2-3 years when organizations chose to run a screening.

Now, the technology has developed. Screening is simply the foundation of WE9

With a constant stream of content, information needs to be available instantaneously. Rather than capturing and reporting donors’ actions after they happen, WealthEngine can provide the data in a matter of moments.

For example, when a new user visits an organization’s website, WealthEngine’s software can screen and provide an immediate wealth rating. By running this captured information through analytics, WealthEngine is able to provide a full profile of the visitor.

The Importance of Match Rates

A match rate means the software has actually found the individual. From there, it is able to provide ratings, scores, and information about the person. WealthEngine has a 90% match rate compared to an average 60% match rate from its competitors. 

This is attributed to the 45 data points the software utilizes to identify online visitors. In a database of 1 million records, WealthEngine can identify 900,000 individuals, whereas a competitor may identify 600,000.

By providing an extra 30% of profiles, WealthEngine’s match rate helps organizations reach out more effectively to potential donors. Nonprofits can see profiles on all of these prospects, which helps formulate a plan to reach out and cultivate new relationships.

These numbers come into play when evaluating a donor’s potential as well. Rather than just alerting you that someone has shown interest in your organization, WealthEngine can help optimize donation amounts. Using data helps you know how much to ask for, and how frequently to reach out. 

 

3 Non-Obvious Trends for Nonprofit Fundraising

Non-obvious trends

How can nonprofits stand out from an overproliferation of information and connect with their ideal donors? According to international best-selling author Rohit Bhargava, the answer is understanding and leveraging three non-obvious trends. In his keynote address for WE Prosper Summit 2020, Bhargava discusses these three trends and how nonprofit fundraisers can use them to their advantage. 

Click here for a replay of WE Prosper Summit 2020, a virtual conference exploring trends and best practices for finding high-potential donors in the COVID economy. 

Why Nonprofit Fundraising is More Difficult Than Ever

Take a look at these three headlines. Can you identify whether each story is real or fake?

  • Chemical in McDonald’s Fries Could Cure Baldness
  • Bumblebee Vomit: Scientists Are No Longer Ignoring It
  • Sassy Seal Accidentally Slaps Man Across Face With an Octopus

The answer, according to Bhargava, is that all of these headlines are real. “My point with doing this exercise was to share with you that we live in a world where we don’t know what’s true,” he explains. “When we don’t know what’s true, we lose a little bit of faith in the idea that anything’s true.”

This makes it increasingly challenging for organizations to appeal to prospects. Fortunately, Bhargava’s research for his book, Non Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future, can help organizations stand out and reach donors who would otherwise remain skeptical.

3 Non-Obvious Trends for Nonprofit Fundraising

  • Human Mode

“A human mode is the idea that when we have more and more technology surrounding us, we greatly value the human interaction,” explains Bhargava. 

Nonprofit fundraisers know the value of face-to-face interactions and in-person galas. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations need to foster donor relationships digitally. 

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A quick way to implement our first non-obvious trend and keep communication authentic is to use a real background when meeting prospects on Zoom. The initial urge to conceal a cluttered home office with a virtual background is understandable. However, giving people a peek into your unscripted life is better for cultivating connections.

  • Instant Knowledge

“Instant knowledge is the idea that because we have all of these tools at our fingertips, we expect to be able to learn anything and get smarter, faster,” notes Bhargava. 

To take advantage of this non-obvious trend, Bhargava advises nonprofits to try to “connect people with the knowledge to inspire their beliefs.” When your marketing or donor cultivation efforts provide massive value to prospects, they’re more likely to buy into your mission and vision. 

  • Revivalism

“Revivalism is a trend that is about bringing the past back,” explains Bhargava, “because when we don’t know what to trust, we turn the clock backward so we start to listen to analog, like music on vinyl.” 

Nonprofits should consider ways to implement this non-obvious trend and how they can appeal to this kind of nostalgia when engaging with donors. This could include explaining how your organization honors the past or giving your gala a vintage theme. 

Actionable Tasks for Non-Obvious Trends

  • Be Opportunistic

Nonprofits should always have their finger on the pulse and be ready to jump into the conversation as it’s happening. 

For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, people began hoarding toilet paper and paper towels. “Then they realized, ‘Oh, I don’t actually need this much toilet paper,’ and they tried to return it and they couldn’t,” notes Bhargava. “There’s an opportunity if your nonprofit provides items to people who really need them for you to step in and say, ‘Look, you bought all this stuff. Now you can’t return it, donate it to us.’”

  • Engage the Unreachable

With COVID-19 canceling productions, actors are recording custom videos for people through Cameo. “They’re open to doing stuff like this that perhaps they wouldn’t have been otherwise,” notes Bhargava. “That might be an opportunity for your nonprofit as well.”

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Consider that when donors hear a message about your nonprofit from a figure they know, like, and trust, they’re more likely to be receptive to your ultimate ask. 

  • Go Behind the Scenes

At the end of every film Jackie Chan does, he shows outtakes of his stunts. This humanizes him and shows audiences how much hard work goes into his craft. Organizations can borrow this technique to better connect with prospects.

“We have to take people behind the scenes of our work,” explains Bhargava. “[We] show them the amazing things we’re doing, show them what their money is going towards because the more we can do that, the more people are likely to give more, [and] they’re likely to feel good about what they have given.”

  • Master Technology

The pandemic has increased our reliance on technology to do business. As such, you either need to improve your tech skills or prepare to get overtaken by the competition.

“We do not live in a world anymore where you can just give up and say, ‘Oh, I’m no good at this technology stuff, I can’t figure it out’ or you just wait for the IT person to show up,” explains Bhargava. “Guess what? We’re at home doing this stuff. We are our own IT people.”

  • Pivot Fast

Flexibility and creativity are the lifeblood of any organization during a crisis. Those who can quickly adjust their strategy are more likely to survive.

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“There was a bookstore in Texas that when the pandemic hit, [they] immediately pivoted and [turned] their bookstore into a travel agency,” notes Bhargava. “When you went to book a trip, essentially what you were booking were books about the place that you wanted to go.”

  • Don’t Panic

No one is sure when things will go back to the way they were or if they will at all. In the meantime, organizations can’t give up or try waiting things out. Instead, you need to think carefully about your strategy for reaching new donors and consider the non-obvious trends.

WealthEngine can help. With tools that zero in on the prospects most likely to give, your team can spend time connecting with the people who most want to hear from you. Get in touch today for a free demo. 

Copywriting Best Practices During COVID-19

Copywriting has become an increasingly effective tool for reaching and engaging a target audience. However, many organizations struggle to create and publish content that truly resonates with readers. 

Research shows online readers heavily scan material, with only an estimated 20% of page content being consumed. With this in mind, organizations must focus on how to get their key messages across clearly and concisely.  Luckily, there are many experts experienced in how to craft compelling copy that leads to action.

In October 2020, the third annual WE Prosper Summit was held virtually due to the pandemic. The event featured in-depth discussions on timely topics including copywriting, marketing, fundraising, and more. 

Designed for clients and partners, the summit is designed to provide knowledgeable insights for identifying and cultivating high-potential donors in any economy. Obviously, this year’s event featured a strong focus on how to adapt and plan fundraising initiatives in light of the repercussions COVID-19 has had on the world financial climate.

The 2020 WE Prosper Summit features keynote addresses with expert analysis and tips from authorities and peers from across the fundraising industry. One of those professionals is Tom Ahern, President of Ahern Communications, Inc. Tom sat down with Raj Khera, Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer of WealthEngine, to discuss some copywriting best practices for COVID-19.

‘When You Like Your Donors, They Like You Back’

Tom describes his copywriting best practices as #Principles of Donor Communications. As principle number one, he believes: “When you like your donors, they like you back.” This finding is based on research conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy.

Easy, Consistent, Cohesive Messaging

When crafting content, it’s vital to make your messaging clear. “That’s, of course, what you always want to do, is to make communications easy for the target audience,” Tom advises.

 

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The Power of Word Clouds

Demonstrating the power of word clouds, Tom points to a survey conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy, in which donors were asked just two questions:

  • How would you describe yourself using five or fewer adjectives?
  • When you think about your support of a cause, what five or fewer adjectives come to mind?

In this example, there may be some repeat answers from donors. “You get two word clouds, and where those two word clouds overlap is where your sweet spot is, where the best language is for you to use,” Tom adds.

  • What Are Word Clouds?

Word clouds are groups of words that are placed together. The more frequently a word appears, the bigger and bolder the word looks in the cloud.

The word cloud depicted above illustrates the power of this visual tool. Using the example of the survey mentioned earlier, each adjective given in response to the questions asked were placed in a word cloud. Each time a word was repeated, its appearance became larger and bolder.

Once all answers are compiled, you’re left with a word cloud that looks similar to the graphic shown. These visuals can help you succinctly communicate with your target audience.

Reaching Your Target Audience

For your sales copywriting efforts to be persuasive, you must have a firm understanding of your target audience and engage with them. In this context, a target audience is a demographic of people, or donors, who are most likely to be interested in your cause.

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As the graphic above illustrates, a target audience consists of individuals who share similar traits. These groups of people are assessed using information such as:

  • Behaviors
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Age group
  • And much more

By accurately deciphering who your target audience is, you can gain valuable insights into how this group operates and what it prioritizes most.

Dave from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Dave is a volunteer for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. As COVID-19 hit his organization hard, Dave shares how he created the effective messaging seen on the institute’s website. 

A message featured on the site’s homepage reads: “You’re a part of our crew and crew members look out for each other. Watch a special message for you.” Following this text is a video that incorporates inclusive language to ensure donors that everyone is part of the crew and all contributions make a lasting impact. 

The organization found these words based on the same two-question survey originally developed by the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy.

Jen Shang’s Philosophy of Giving Behavior

Jen Shang is a psychologist specializing in the behavior of giving. “She’s saying, right now, your donors, because of COVID, feel paralyzed, confined, victimized, disarmed, powerless,” Tom notes.

Depending on the focus of your communications, Jen asserts your audience could feel “connected to a bigger world, cared for, listened to, part of something.” She also mentions they could feel capable, which is important for human well-being. “We need to feel like we’re doing something, and doing good for others is a wonderful thing you can do right now,” Jen adds.

Feelings Lead to Action

When Raj and Tom spoke for the first time, Raj asked a few very important questions: “Are major donors different? Do they speak a different language?” Tom’s simple answer was, “Not so much.”

“We are a social species. That urge to cooperate, all of that, is actually chemical. It’s in your brain and it’s there,” he observes.

Tom also discusses what inspires action for donors. He talks about an important discovery made by Dr. Donald Calne, a Canadian neurologist specializing in Parkinson’s disease research. In his findings, the doctor concluded that feelings lead to action. 

Tom summarizes, “Not reason leads to action, feelings lead to action. Reason leads to more thinking. Feelings lead to action.” 

Another important piece of information comes from neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Viktor Frankl. After conducting psychological research, he concluded that humans need purpose. According to Dr. Frankl, “That’s what a charity can bring to me, through its communications, a sense of purpose over and over and over.”

WealthEngine’s WE9 comprehensive platform offers a variety of proprietary tools including Wealth Search, WE Analyze, and its Donor Pyramid Modeler for unmatched donor list segmentation solutions. To experience how WealthEngine can assist your organization, request a free demo.

Donor Retention: What to do to Finish 2020 Strong

At WE Prosper Summit: 2020, nonprofit leaders discussed the latest trends and best practices including donor retention for finding donors during COVID-19. Two of these experts were Baily Benzle and Stu Manewith of Omatic Software. Their company has been around for 20 years and has more than 3,000 nonprofit clients worldwide.

Omatic uses data to strengthen relationships between nonprofits and their donors through correct messaging. Delivering the right message to the right donor at the right time is possible with data integration.

What is Data Integration?

Data integration is the consolidation of information from many sources. With centralized data, nonprofit organizations can better analyze information and make decisions. This data can help your organization target and engage donors.  

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The 90-Day Window

Baily and Stu mentioned the 90-day donor window: Donors who make a second gift within 90 days of their first, are more likely to repeat their giving. To keep supporters, nonprofits need to communicate with them shortly after their initial gifts.

A new donor who doesn’t make a second gift in 90 days is unlikely to renew their support. If they do donate again, their support will likely continue. This is why donor retention is so important.

The retention rate for new donors is 20% and 61.3% for existing supporters. It’s harder to turn a new donor into a repeat supporter. To avoid donor fatigue, it’s crucial to begin relationship building with donors immediately and keep it up.

New donors who aren’t engaged, thanked and informed of where their gifts go are less likely to give. By integrating data to learn about your donors and how to best engage them, you’ll likely stay at top of mind. When donors feel appreciated and are engaged, it’s easier to compel them to give repeatedly.

 

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When you retain donors, your organization saves money through lower attrition (the loss of donors) and raises more money. It costs more time, effort, and resources to attract new donors than it does to retain current ones. 

For a nonprofit organization to finish the year strong, you need to improve your retention rate. One very effective way of engaging donors is through storytelling for fundraising, sharing individual narratives showcasing the good that’s been accomplished thanks to your donors’ generosity. This approach appeals to donors’ sense of empathy and emotion while providing demonstrable proof of how their support is making an impact.

Why Donor Retention Rate is So Important

The key to building donor retention is actively cultivating relationships with supporters. A major component of successful donor retention is donor stewardship, which is based on frequent communication with your supporters to nurture their interest in your organization and its initiatives.

Your retention rate demonstrates how well your fundraising endeavors performed over the previous year. It also acts as a quantifiable metric of how your donors and supporters are re-engaged. If your donors are continually interacting with and engaging with your organization, they are considerably more likely to renew their support.

Donor retention rate is measured with a basic calculation: Divide the number of donors who gave during the current year by the number of donors who gave the previous year. The current year’s donors are the numerator and the previous year’s donors are the denominator. 

Calculate your denominator first and use it as the baseline by which everything is measured. The denominator is the number of donors who gave in the past year. The goal is to achieve a high retention rate.

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The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) created the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (EFP) in 2006. The Fundraising Effectiveness Project helps nonprofits be more successful in their fundraising. The organization conducts research and publishes industry-recognized reports each year.

In 2019, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project mentioned that the donor retention rate for U.S. nonprofits was 45%. The retention rate for repeat donors in 2018 was 61%. For first-time givers, the retention rate was 20% or roughly one out of five new supporters.

The statistics of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project reveal how difficult it is to capture new donors. They show how important it is to stay on top of donors’ minds so they will give multiple times. It is possible to improve upon the low 20% average retention rate, thereby boosting the probability of donors giving.

Engaging your donors with a relevant message at the right time can improve retention rates. Instilling an urgent “the time to act is now” call-to-action is a successful strategy. For example, if you want to capitalize on Giving Tuesday and December year-end giving, you need to start in October.

Baily and Stu provide a great example of this successful retention strategy with a Wisconsin dance organization. The development director mentioned, “We are strong with donor retention at 75% for returning donors and 30% for new donors.” Compared to the 2019 fundraising average, that’s a 25% higher rate for returning donors and 50% higher for new ones.

For illustration, there were two grids: Grid A and Grid B. Grid A shows a donor retention rate of 41% and Grid B documents a donor retention rate of 51%. Grid A’s donors raised $675,000 and Grid B’s donors raised over $1 million.

Grid B’s retention rate of 51% resulted in donors giving for an extra five years before dissipating. With a better retention rate, these donors gave more than those in Grid A whose retention rate was 41%. Even the slightest improvement of donor retention can boost giving amounts.

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The grid example illustrates the findings of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s research. These results show that the dollar amounts from retained donors increase by 3% a year. With a strong retention rate, an organization can raise significantly more funds. 

How to Boost Donor Retention Rate

How do you retain donors in the crucial 90-day window? It has to do with correct messaging. Here are three tips to try:

  • Provide timely acknowledgment and appreciation. 
  • Show the impact of the gift and how that aligns with the donor’s intent.
  • Repeat the solicitation method that resulted in the first donation. 

2020 has been a challenging year, but you can finish strong with a high donor retention rate. When you communicate with donors within 90 days of their first gift, you increase the probability of receiving a second one. Reaching ideal donors with a relevant message at the appropriate time will likely compel donors to renew their support. 

 

Demystifying Predictive Analytics and Modeling for Fundraising

When it comes to fundraising, your most valuable asset is your time. Predictive analytics and modeling help determine which prospective donors to focus on so you can secure more gifts faster. However, the initial complexity of the process can seem overwhelming for those unfamiliar with it. 

This guide describes what predictive modeling is, why it’s important, and how to get started. It’s based on a workshop led by Eric White, a Senior Principal Consultant with WealthEngine, during the recent WE Prosper Summit. 

Click here for a replay of WE Prosper Summit, a virtual conference exploring trends and best practices for finding high-potential donors in the COVID economy. 

What is Predictive Modeling?

“Predictive modeling is [the] analysis that allows organizations to evolve from a subjective approach to fundraising to a data-driven approach,” explains White. Instead of ringing up every prospective donor and seeing who bites, modeling offers fundraisers a clearer picture of who has the highest probability of making a major gift.

“Modeling gives a numeric value to categorical data,” White notes. “The formula delivers a score for your constituents based on the desired behavior, such as making a major gift….A raw score is a number between 100 and 1000 with those near 1000 having the highest probability of, in this example, making a major gift.”

The 3 Things Needed for Predictive Modeling

  • Refine Your Question

“The first thing you need to recognize is a model can only answer one question,” observes White. “Are you interested in who’s most likely to give you a gift of $25,000 or more? Are you interested in someone making a monthly gift of at least $25 or more? Are you interested in finding individuals that will include you in their estate plan? You want to refine the question.”

  • Clean Your Data

Improperly selected or entered data can derail your entire model. Just ask the crew of Emirates Flight 407. In 2009, during a flight from Melbourne to Dubai, they accidentally entered the weight of the plane and 270 passengers as 262 metric tons. 

“Its actual calculated weight was 362 metric tons,” notes White. “This is the equivalent of not calculating the weight of 20 African elephants stored in the belly of the plane.”

While the plane eventually got off the ground, it was almost the worst civil air disaster in Australia’s history. The moral of the story: you have to be meticulous with your data to get the desired results.

  • Choose the Right Variables

Predictive modeling involves plugging data into a formula. Each part of the formula is known as an independent variable, or the unique traits of the individuals being screened.

“For predictive models in the fundraising space, you need eight donation variables,” advises White. Those include:

  • First gift date
  • First gift amount
  • Largest gift date
  • Largest gift amount
  • Last gift date
  • Last gift amount
  • Total number of gifts
  • Total amount given

Depending on the type of giving you’re focusing on, you may need to include additional variables. For example, the age of donors is important to know when modeling planned giving over several years. You also need the data of at least 200 individuals in order to have a stable model. 

The 5 Steps of the Modeling Process

  • Model Design

White and his team spend time discussing what the client wants to achieve with predictive modeling. Knowing the end goal allows them to design a more accurate model.

  • Data Preparation

This is the process of gathering, cleaning, and inputting all the data into the model. “Paying the price on the front end and cleaning the data positions us on the kinds of returns on investment we’re all looking for,” advises White.

  • Model Building

“That’s when the data scientists come in and they start reviewing and working with the data,” explains White. During this step, they determine which of the included variables are most important for the model.

  • Performance Analysis

White’s team carefully checks that the model is accurate and effective. “We want to make sure that it’s a good fit, that it’s a robust and viable model,” notes White.

  • Modeling Scores

At the end of the process, White explains, “You get two things, a raw score and a major gift decile, along with best practices and continuing consulting issues around the best way to implement the scores and ratings.” A raw score is a number between 100 and 1000, while a decile places prospects into groups. 

“Let’s say you give us 100,000 records,” explains White. “We’ll score everyone from the first person to person 100,000 with a raw score and then we’ll rank order them and divide them up into 10 equal deciles. The individuals in decile one are the ones that scored in the 90th percentile or the highest level of the model.” 

Predictive Modeling Drives Results

To cap off the talk, White shared a case study of a university his team worked with.

“They gave us over 100,000 records for us to screen,” he recalls, “and we built them [a model] that predicted individuals most likely to give at least $100,000.” 

The result was a list of 220 individuals that were likely to give at least $100,000 to the organization. The major gift officers selected 10 random people from the list who had never given to the university and called them. 

“All 10 took the call,” notes White. “Out of those 10, three said, “Let’s talk.” Out of those three when they met with them, one of them said, “What took you so long to call?” They ended up working with this individual who had never given to the university.”

The story doesn’t end there. The organization put together a proposal asking for $150,000. The donor ended up giving even more than that. The university’s partnership with WealthEngine paid for itself several times over. 

Want to learn more about how WealthEngine can help you achieve similar results with predictive modeling? Get in touch at info@wealthengine.com or click here to schedule a free demo. 

CDC Foundation’s New Technology Strategy Raises Millions

As organizations continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, foundations like the CDC Foundation are creating new technology strategies to raise millions.

Cloud for Good, a WealthEngine partner, is the largest Salesforce.org consulting partner dedicated to nonprofits and higher education institutions. 

Cloud for Good’s Marketing Director, Jenn Tate, spoke for a webinar to explain how the CDC Foundation continues fundraising during the pandemic via its new technology strategy.

As partners, WealthEngine and Cloud for Good share the common goal of helping nonprofits create transformational value in their platforms. 

Tate says it best, “The WealthEngine platform is powered by half-trillion, yes, you heard that right, half-trillion data points, and uses proprietary learning science to create unique profiles for more than 180 million households and 250 million people in the US.”

This webinar also features Raj Khera, Executive VP and CMO of WealthEngine, Monique Patrick, C.O.O. of the CDC Foundation, Laura Croft, VP of Advancement with the CDC Foundation, and Laura Maker, Director of Professional Services with Cloud of Good. 

The CDC Foundation

The CDC Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit established by Congress 25 years ago. 

By using private funds, the CDC Foundation has reached lives across the world and mobilized millions of dollars in COVID-19 donations.

As the COVID-19 threat emerged in January, the CDC Foundation activated its Emergency Response Fund to mobilize private sector support to
address needs where government support was not available or available rapidly enough to meet the need. Donors facilitated
the rapid deployment of emergency resources to fill in the gaps to support CDC and State and local health departments on the ground.

  • Helping Under-Resourced Communities

The CDC Foundation focuses on supporting these groups throughout the pandemic crisis. As communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the virus, the foundation is working with partners to better understand and address health inequity issues brought forward by COVID-19, as well as provide on-the-ground support to meet crucial needs such as housing, clean water, handwashing stations, food and medical necessities.

The CDC Foundation’s Technology Strategy

Modernizing the CDC Foundation’s technology strategy has been an important undertaking, particularly as the organization transitioned from paper-based work to Salesforce.

Switching platforms allowed for communication between the team members and safe data storage. This proved to be a tremendous help when COVID-19 hit and the foundation shifted to virtual work.

Utilizing New Technology and Data

Salesforce allows the CDC Foundation to improve its workflow. New technology facilitates data analytics, data feeding through Netsuite, and even simple tasks like signing documents using DocuSign.

As for donor outreach and streamlining contributions, WealthEngine contributes to positive growth through targeted wealth screening. Within a couple of months, the CDC Foundation’s CRM grew from 42,000 to over 150,000. 

Data analytics have been instrumental in providing the CDC Foundation with background information on first-time donors, which leads to a targeted communication plan.

  • Cloud for Good’s Aid in Transition

Laura Maker discusses Raiser’s Edge Migration Accelerator and how the feature facilitates a smooth transition to Salesforce. This is implemented to work with the standard fields of Salesforce and Raiser’s Edge for common usage. It provides a starting point while acknowledging how data is mapped by both systems to ensure the information is used properly. 

Positive Impact on the Organization

Chart of how nonprofits have been affected by COVID

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As Monique Patrick describes, “You can see in the middle, we’ve grown the organization…We’ve saved time with our reconciliations and our financial systems…It’s real-time, it’s quick, it’s at our fingertips, and we see that on a daily basis.”

With increased remote work, having this technology is pertinent. The CDC Foundation watched in real-time as this unfolded. These tools have successfully given us access to real-time information to inform strategy and increased our speed and flexibility to deploy emergency response funding to the area of greatest need.

Before COVID-19, the group on average raised approximately $70 million per year. To date, the foundation has raised over $260 million, with $160 million of this raised specifically to fight COVID-19.

The data found by WealthEngine’s Wealth Screening feature helps the CDC Foundation adapt during this time. With groundbreaking donation numbers, it’s clear to see how effective these advancements have been.

  • Giving Back to the CDC Foundation

As the group embarks on a second phase to tackle COVID-19, Laura Croft gives the reminder, “The next seven months are going to be more challenging than the last seven months.” 

Communities are suffering due to the pandemic, and the CDC Foundation continues to help. Its “Crush COVID-19” campaign aims to directly support immediate public health needs during this time. 

Innovative Event Fundraising

While the CDC Foundation is seeing a wave of interest during this crisis, Croft points out, “Again, going back to how we operated pre-COVID and then COVID hit…we needed to meet our donors where they were and talk to them in the way they wanted to be communicated with.” 

The foundation’s focus is on connecting with donors while providing support during the pandemic. Innovation in its strategy continues to lead to higher donations.

  • What is Cross-marketing?

Traditionally speaking, cross-marketing is the process of using partnerships to market philanthropic causes across different channels. With this strategy, the CDC Foundation raised more than $7 million dollars. 

The group also embarked on employee giving. This plan includes setting up micro-sites through the platform and online events for promotion. Cloud for Good also participated by partnering with the foundation through their own employee microsite to encourage employee donations.

  • Navigating Donor Fatigue

What is donor fatigue? Simply put, it is the slowing down of donations from past donors. With so much happening, donor fatigue is a serious problem that must be addressed.

Speaking for the CDC Foundation, Croft notes, “We have experienced a drop-off in donations…However, it’s understandable. As you were talking about earlier, people are tired of this pandemic. It’s been very difficult.” 

The foundation continues to strive to listen to and understand donors’ priorities. Effectively identifying the correct target audience and tuning its messaging accordingly is crucial for combating donor fatigue.

Cloud-based Organizations

The benefits and reality of virtual work

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The CDC Foundation’s technology switch came when a need for cloud-based operations was essential. The implementation of user-friendly technology and an efficient workflow were driving forces for the transition. 

The CDC Foundation’s new technology strategy with Salesforce allows for an integration of all systems. This encourages the dissemination of transparent information for all staff to see, promoting better communication.

Analyzing New Data

A realistic understanding of high donations levels experienced by the CDC Foundation is crucial to sustaining these numbers. To wade through this data, the foundation relies on WealthEngine for wealth screening and additional donor information. 

Additionally, the foundation has focused on a massive data clean-up to keep information up-to-date. This is important for dealing with duplicate records because it helps maintain high-quality data.

  • Importance of Data Analytics

Prior to the foundation’s technology upgrade, data would remain stagnant for periods of time. Now, with software integration, this data is analyzed and put to use quickly. 

As Patrick states, “We wanted to be able to see where they are, are we reaching the health disparate populations without funding? Now we’re starting to see all that to make really crisp-clear decisions going forward. We’ve had to do this overnight, but it’s been amazing work.”

Data analysis breaks down the best strategy for targeted communication. This information helps you decide when to reach out and which messages to convey. 

Role of Wealth Screening and Donor Matching

With a surge of new donors, hitting the correct next steps is crucial to cultivating relationships. WealthEngine’s WE9 platform facilitates this process, enabling organizations to make informed decisions in cultivating fundraising strategies.

Using the donor matching tool during wealth screening, WealthEngine gives you a 90% match rate to your list of clients. What does this mean exactly? If you have 10,000 contacts, WealthEngine is able to find a 90% match, or 9,000 names, from your list.

Up-to-date Analytics and Accessible Dashboards

Clean data helps your contact list stay fresh. Knowing the most recent financial activity of your donors makes it easy to maintain personalized relationships. 

Combining WealthEngine with Salesforce creates constant data refreshment. These platforms understand that money is always in motion. They utilize predictive models and analytics to give you the best donor outreach strategy.

Customization of these platforms is great for companies to help with personalization. WealthEngine tailors these predictive models to your donor base. Salesforce has adaptable dashboards that can be customized for any occasion, which increases efficiency.

  • Continue Moving Forward

The surge in new donors requires personalized messages to nurture relationships. This strategy helps overcome donor fatigue and motivates donors to give at their capacity. 

With WealthEngine’s platform, you can identify a donor of $25, while helping them reach their wealth potential of $2,000. It is all about cultivating these relations to increase potential.

Automating Processes and Staying Flexible

With the sudden shift to remote work and the increased reliance on technology, automation of daily processes has been imperative.

Salesforce allows the timeline of daily work, like signing folders, to shorten. Moving these tasks to a virtual-based platform frees up time and allows for distanced work.

  • Embrace Flexible Solutions

When asked about lessons learned from the pandemic, Patrick shares her thoughts, “Stay nimble and flexible and be creative of how you can be even more efficient.”

Tough experiences from COVID-19 can be used to benefit your organization. Learn from these times and embrace virtual adaptations to excel in your brand’s mission. 

Budgeting for a Technology Overhaul

While switching completely to new technology can be beneficial, it does require budgeting to get things done.

Start with a plan, like the CDC Foundation did, and work your way through each department. The foundation started with its Human Resources platform and continued through its financial and fundraising teams.

Raising funds to support the core mission can be helpful as well. If your core mission requires advanced technology, allocating and fundraising for these overhauls can be to your organization’s advantage.

Data Migration Strategy 

The flow of data migration

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Having a clear strategy is key to a seamless transition. Start with the discovery phase. Assess how each aspect of your organization works to understand the best steps to take and continue from there.

Before going live, try a mock data conversion. Migrate the data exactly as planned but into a test environment. Once in this setting, final tweaks can be made for the true switch.

Adaptability and Leveraging Relationships

Leveraging your client, vendor, donor, and influencer relationships can help spread your mission and increase visibility during this time.

For example, the CDC Foundation was approached by an online gamer, Jack, after the death of his grandma due to COVID-19. He reached out to donate his annual birthday fundraiser earnings and was able to raise $500,000 for the cause.

Messaging in the Time of Virtual Meetings

Industries are facing unprecedented times and most organizations have quickly shifted to virtual workspaces. Effective communication between employees, as well as other organizations, puts an emphasis on appropriate messaging.

Newsletters are spreading awareness about the nonprofit’s impact. Brief virtual meetings cover these efforts as well. 

Virtual meetings allow the CDC Foundation to listen to donor’s needs. This allows the foundation to hear donor concerns and share ideas for improvement.

Trying out virtual events and continuing a strong online presence helps ease the transition to remote fundraising. Follow the lead of successful brands, as your organization finds the best way to navigate virtual galas.

Embrace new resources, and continue learning through this time. WealthEngine is here to help you. Events like the WE Prosper 2020 Summit can help you navigate the new normal.

Cloud for Good’s Success Stories

Like the CDC Foundation’s technology strategy, other organizations have seen positive impacts from the implementation of these technologies. 

The National Aquarium has used technology to recreate the experience of its facility, even when visitors were restricted from touring. This includes live feeds of exhibit loops on their website, Facebook live sessions of aquarium tours, and Q&A sessions with staff.

The LGBTQ+ Community Center saw a 40% increase in demand for services during the pandemic. This required rapid response and technology has allowed for new avenues to open for quick connection and support. 

 

WealthEngine Held Its Third Annual WE Prosper Summit To Discuss The Latest Trends And Best Practices In Finding High-Potential Donors In Today’s COVID Economy

BETHESDA, MD, October 20, 2020 — WealthEngine held its third annual WE Prosper Summit, a two-day event held virtually on Wednesday, October 14 and Thursday, October 15, 2020. 

The WE Prosper Summit is a gathering of thought leaders from global causes and international brands. Participants come together for a two-day conference of rich keynote speeches, how-tos, roundtable discussions and presentations from 10 thought leaders among our clients and partners.

The theme of this year’s WE Prosper Summit was Growing the Pyramid. Thought leaders, experts, partners and clients will discuss the latest trends they’re seeing and best practices in raising more, while spending less considering the current climate. 

The 2020 WE Prosper Summit featured key industry speakers including: Rohit Bhargava, Founder & Chief Trend Curator of Non-Obvious Company, Amir Pasic, Dean of the IUPUI Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, David Raab, Founder of CDP Institute, Eliza Mountcastle Shah, Chief Executive Officer, Lifter Leadership, Jill L Barrett, CEO, Evolve and Executive Director, The Lever Fund, Michelle Tilton, VP of Marketing, Infutor, Tom Ahern, President of Ahern Communications, Ink, Rob Gleave, Senior Manager, Solution Architecture for Nonprofits, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Jarrett OBrien, Non Profit Cloud Product Marketing Director at Salesforce, and many others.

WealthEngine also took the opportunity to hold their third annual WealthEngine Prosper Awards ceremony. The WE Prosper Awards honor leading brands and nonprofits that are delivering outstanding business and social impact using WealthEngine’s prospect engagement capabilities to deploy highly effective, personalized, wealth-aware campaigns.

“We are proud to recognize the recipients of our 2020 WE Prosper Awards and appreciate their support and their commitment to the communities they serve,” said Holt Truitt, Strategic Account Executive. “We look forward to continuing our partnerships, learning from their work to generate positive momentum, and helping them increase the impact they are able to have.”

The 2020 WealthEngine Prosper Award recipients were:

The University of Kentucky Healthcare

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Amnesty International

About WealthEngine

WealthEngine is the industry’s premier wealth intelligence software-as-a-service provider.  The company has been supporting more than 3,000 marquee customers for over two decades. The company enables industry-leading higher education, healthcare systems, advocacy, financial services, and high-end luxury brands and hospitality organizations in capturing and retaining tens of billions of dollars. Fueled by its proprietary wealth and lifestyle signals, WealthEngine customers measurably improve their personalization and effectiveness across fundraising, capital campaigns, marketing, segmentation and overall engagement with their audience.

Rooted in machine learning, with a cloud-native architecture, the WealthEngine 9.x platform boasts an entirely new user experience to provide wealth, demographic and lifestyle signals that come together to formulate powerful scores, WealthScores™ available in real-time. Underpinned by the company’s SmartAction™ technology, it pinpoints, predicts and helps personalize engagement with potential  prospects. WealthEngine’s platform is the most convenient way to continually sense and respond to changing motivations for their audience to connect, invest, buy or donate.

WealthEngine is an active participant in Pledge 1%, regularly giving back to the community it serves through time, product and donations. Based in Bethesda, Maryland, the company has sales offices throughout the US and a wealth research and analytics team in India. Learn more at www.wealthengine.com.

 

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Why Match Rate is Critical When Selecting a Wealth Screening Platform

Don’t purchase a wealth screening tool without first considering the match rate. Often, organizations opt for platforms with lower match rates in an effort to save money. While at first glance this may seem like a financially savvy decision, this error could cost you tens of thousands or even millions of dollars. 

If you’re shopping for prospect research software and this is the first you’ve heard of match rates, don’t worry. This guide covers what a match rate is, how it works, and why it’s crucial to consider when selecting a platform. In just a few minutes, you’ll learn how to avoid an expensive mistake and guarantee thousands in new capital for your organization. 

What Is a Match Rate? 

From wealth and income to lifestyle and affinity, you need to understand everything you can about the people in your donor database. This kind of data tells you who is ready to make a donation and what amount they’re likely to give. In short, in-depth information helps your fundraising team bring in more money, more easily.

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Of course, you can’t research each person individually. You also can’t analyze the data yourself to determine which prospects you should prioritize cultivating. This would simply take too long. You either need a massive team—which usually isn’t realistic—or you need wealth screening software to automate the process.

Prospect research tools work by supplementing your contact list with information collected from the software company’s database, which is gathered from the internet. The percentage of records in your list that can be found in the tool’s database is known as the match rate.

The biggest difference between software options boils down to their match rates. This can vary significantly between wealth screening companies. 

Typically, tools with a lower match rate are less expensive. However, opting to go with a cheaper product can end up costing you exponentially in the long run.

Why is Match Rate Important?

Imagine that your list of current or potential donors includes 10,000 contacts. That’s a lot of people who could support your mission. 

Perhaps you opt to use a cheaper donor research software, one with a 60% match rate. With this rate, you can expect to find insights on 6,000 people within your list. That means you still don’t know anything about the wealth, income, or other details of the remaining 4,000 contacts. 

In any given population, expect about 10% to be major donors. So, if your wealth screening platform fails to find information on 4,000 contacts, you’re missing 400 qualified, major gift donors. If your average major gift is $5,000, then you’re overlooking an extra $2 million because the budget-friendly software can’t match more names.

At a close rate of one person for every five asks, that’s $400,000 in new gifts left on the table from a list of just 10,000. This sum is far less than what you’d invest in a wealth screening service with a higher average match rate.

A tool with a 90% match rate might be more expensive than the first option, but it delivers information on 9,000 people. Again, assuming an average major gift of $5000 and a close rate of 1:5, that’s an additional $300,000 your organization can raise. 

Even with smaller lists, like one with 2,000 contacts, a higher match rate can raise an additional $60,000 more than a lower-quality tool. For bigger lists, such as one with 100,000 contacts, software with a 60% match rate could cost you $3 million. However you look at it, lower quality software ends up being more expensive than a tool with a 90% rate.

Consider the case of the Houston Grand Opera. The organization’s fundraising team used WealthEngine—which has around a 90% match rate—to conduct their prospect research. Over a three year period, their return on investment (ROI) from WealthEngine was a staggering 2,766%.

The University of Pennsylvania also used WealthEngine for its Making History campaign. The program added over 14,000 new prospects to the university’s list, 9,000 of which became campaign donors. Those 9,000 contacts made commitments totaling $600 million. 

How to Increase Match Rate

A high match rate relies on something called identity resolution, which is the process of matching information from multiple sources with one contact.

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For example, perhaps there’s a Steven Brown on your donor list. One source in your screening platform indicates Steven Brown has a net worth of $10 million. If there’s more than one person named Steven Brown in your contact list, identity resolution seeks to determine which of them has the $10 million net worth. 

One way of resolving the data is to standardize the format of names and addresses. You can do this by making sure contacts are listed under formal names instead of nicknames. 

Removing punctuation from names, such as the suffix Jr., is also recommended. Finally, addresses should always match deliverable USPS addresses.

Another way to facilitate identity resolution is to account for misspellings. For example, if a data source omits one letter from a contact’s name, screening software like WealthEngine could recognize the mistake and correct it. 

While the math that makes identity resolution possible is difficult, WealthEngine has spent 20 years fine-tuning its algorithms. As a result, WealthEngine has one of the highest match rates in the industry at 90%.

Don’t Miss Out on Big Opportunities

If you’re considering an inexpensive wealth screening solution that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Software with a lower match rate ends up costing you more money because you miss a significant amount of qualified prospects. The gifts those donors will bring in more than justifies investing in a higher quality tool. 

WealthEngine has an average match rate of 90%. This can mean an extra $25,000, $100,000, $1 million, or more in capital raised for your organization. Schedule a demo today and see how well WealthEngine matches your list. 

 

The Digital Wave and Values-based Business

The digital wave has caused an evolution in business norms. Organizations are now more focused on values-based business and services geared toward maximizing the client experience. In this new era of cloud-based technology, the impact of the digital wave has intensified.

The world has changed as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which proved to be a major factor in spurring the digital wave. Organizations are constantly evolving based on how their services and products personally impact their clients. 

What is Salesforce.org? 

Pat McQueen is the Senior Vice President of Partner Enablement at Salesforce.org. Pat is the person responsible for driving Salesforce.org to focus more on clients while bringing about social impact through digital technology. The organization provides services to nonprofit and educational initiatives to affect positive change in the world.

Salesforce has partnered with WealthEngine, a global marketing leader specializing in technology that assists businesses and nonprofits in targeted, comprehensive data analysis. The WealthEngine9 (WE9) platform aids marketers and fundraisers within Salesforce.org in their search for investors most capable and interested in helping the organization achieve its goals.

This partnership is an essential component of Salesforce.org’s long-term strategy for providing cloud-based and customer relationship management (CRM) services. Salesforce.org also works to empower students across the globe by increasing access to online learning and driving graduation rates.

The Core Objectives of Salesforce

Salesforce.com and Salesforce.org differ in terms of their target service areas. The former provides cloud-based services to businesses and caters to their marketing and sales-related needs. 

In contrast, Salesforce.org provides free technology to organizations and community initiatives dedicated to educational endeavors and philanthropy. Salesforce.org offers a platform that enables these entities to identify and prioritize investors and donors who can provide the resources necessary to fulfill their respective missions.

Salesforce.org is active in the following segments:

Through these channels, Salesforce.org facilitates positive societal transformation. It also plays a significant role in the effort to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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SDGs encompass the 17 global goals determined by the United Nations (UN) as necessary for the elevation of the standard of living across the world. These initiatives center on implementing efficient solutions to problems such as poverty, hunger, social injustice, and climate change.

For higher education, Salesforce.org’s Education Cloud integrates recruitment, student experience, alumni engagement, and marketing in one place. The Education Cloud also simplifies the processes of student admission and enrollment and facilitates communication with student families. 

For five years in a row, Salesforce has been noted as the world’s number one CRM service provider. The organization continues to focus on digital changes most likely to drive global endeavors. 

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The World Economic Forum has discussed the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which encompasses all of the biological, physical, and digital systems functioning around us. Technologies used in devices like Apple and Fitbit smartwatches are not just utilities, they are digital integrations able to sync with human movements.

These digital advancements provide us biological data regarding heart rate, blood pressure, and even footstep count in daily life. This is a part of The Fourth Industrial Revolutiona change in everyday life. The Fifth Industrial Revolution envisions not just change but also the capacity to reveal possibilities for influencing and controlling the change surrounding us. 

Data Creation and Statistics  

As the digital wave continues to progress, an abundance of data is being generated. This information is analyzed, processed, modified, and stored each day. 

In May 2019, WealthEngine launched the Salesforce Connector app to facilitate the effective use of the large data pool available. Through this app, WealthEngine and Salesforce are able to effectively streamline prospecting and update approximately 100,000 donor records at once using WE Direct Access API

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Collaborative efforts exemplified by the Salesforce Connector app can play a significant role in utilizing data at its best. Below are some interesting facts demonstrating the power of data in the modern world:

  1. On average, more than 490 million tweets are sent daily.
  2. 290 billion emails are sent each day.
  3. 65 billion messages are exchanged on Whatsapp every 24 hours.

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Data traffic generated from wearable devices such as Apple Watch, Google Glass, and Fitbit devices are on track to increase to an estimated 335PB per month in 2020. This is a marked increase from 2015 when approximate monthly usage was 15PB per month.  

The Impact of Salesforce’s Digital Revolution

The Fifth Industrial Revolution is an impact revolution. The challenge for Salesforce.org and other organizations is to correctly understand and respond to this fundamental transformation. 

A lasting impact can’t be centered on the needs of a single person. It must revolve around what is best for the collective good. That’s why Sustainable Development Goals are demonstrated as different segments of the same wheel, designed to affect a substantial impact on society. 

Corporate philanthropy is about helping and cooperating with others to encourage further growth and development within society. Cultural change, understanding of social responsibility, and alignment of work with technology are all important elements of a values-based business. 

Employees’ Expectations and UN SDGs 

Employees’ expectations are also changing. Millennials are looking for more than just consistent promotions, they also seek to understand the purpose of their work. Knowledge of values-based services is essential to making a positive impact on the next industrial revolution. 

Pat also emphasizes that a sense of purpose among Millennials is important for the emergence of values-based business. It can help in facilitating quality services and delivering impact in the next industrial revolution.

The aim of the UN’s SDGs is the creation of a better society and future for all. The world faces multiple challenges including poverty, inequality, climate change, health-related issues, etc.  Values-based businesses have a key role to play in developing effective strategies and technologies that will make these reforms possible.

Salesforce.org makes it possible for students from under-developed areas to access better learning through the internet. The Salesforce.org cloud-based education platform encourages increased student engagement and provides access to future career opportunities. 

Contribution of Worldwide Firms

According to Pat, organizations across the US are coming to the realization that an impact revolution is indeed coming and they must adapt to prepare for the inevitable digital wave. As proof of this widespread awareness, Pat points out, “38% of the largest companies in the US, two-thirds of the FTSE 100 all have a public statement of how they’re committed to the SDGs.” 

Together, Salesforce and WealthEngine have demonstrated that a commitment to making a social impact can align with a balanced business strategy. 

 

How to Ensure Customer Excellence with Big Data and a Human Touch

The lifeblood of any business or nonprofit is happy clients or donors. The challenge is in knowing how to create experiences they’ll enjoy, remember, and keep coming back for. Luckily, innovative analytics has made it easier than ever to ensure customer excellence. This guide covers why you should use big data to guide client interactions and the best strategies to use. It’ll also touch on some tools that automate the process and save you money.

This article is based on a presentation by Chady AlAhmar, Head of Strategy and Finance for U.S. Bank. 

Why You Should Leverage Big Data and Analytics

Customer excellence is when someone will choose your business or organization over anyone else in your industry. However, it hinges on the individual. What delights one person isn’t necessarily going to work on another.

That’s where client data comes in. With the right info, you can take a prospect on a unique journey that has a high probability of converting them. As AlAhmar found out, there are also customer trends that encourage data usage, including desires for experiences that are:

  • Simple – People want it to be easy to do business with you, e.g. no complicated forms
  • Personalized – Clients want to feel like you understand exactly who they are
  • Cheap – People need to know that you’re efficient with their money
  • Responsible – It’s important to customers that the product or organization has a higher social good or purpose

People are also becoming more comfortable with algorithm-based technologies. It doesn’t bother them when Alexa predicts their thoughts or grocery lists. They value this convenience. 

For the same reason, they anticipate you have and will use data about them to improve their interactions with your organization. However, as AlAhmar points out, customers are still thinking, “If I’m doing business with you, I still expect you to really, really take care of my data.” As such, make sure you’re following General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines

Five Top Tips for Customer Experience Strategy

AlAhmar’s team at U.S. Bank uses and recommends this strategy for cultivating customer excellence:

1. Know Your Client

AlAhmar notes, “The client is saying, “I’m a client of the bank. You have my social security, you have all the information on me. So, I expect you to know me.”

And know them you should. It’s easy to gather data about customers. Use that info to create a seamless, VIP experience that makes their life easier. 

2. Reach Out at the Right Time

This doesn’t mean don’t call a prospect at dinner time—although you shouldn’t do that either. Rather, get a big picture view of what’s going on in a client’s life before getting in touch.

“Do not reach out with every single product every day,” advises AlAhmar. “Try to figure out how to use all that data and prioritize it, so that you can figure out [when the client is most likely] going to engage with you.”

This practice, also known as prospect research, can tell you if someone just had a major life change. For example, if a potential donor recently moved or changed jobs, you likely don’t want to approach them for major gift fundraising. On the other hand, someone who has sold their business might be a great candidate. 

3. Use the Right Channel

Some people don’t want to be contacted by phone or would prefer to talk via email. Always learn your clients’ communication boundaries and stick to them.

“Every person has a different way to engage,” instructs AlAhmar. “If you have a client or a donor, you’d better know how to connect with them. [What are] their preferences? That’s going to be key.”

4. Offer Advice, Not a Sale

The best way to engage with your clients? Try to provide advice or a solution before offering a product or making a donation request.

Of course, you can connect this advice or service to your eventual ask. For example, AlAhmar wouldn’t prod a client to roll over her 401(k). Instead, he would start by giving her advice about the new tax bill and what kind of implications it has for her.

5. Incorporate Machine Learning

It’s vital to know which of the previous four strategies are converting your prospects and what needs tweaking. All your client interactions should be connected to a program that can record and analyze them to optimize the process.

AlAhmar describes how his team uses this kind of feedback loop when engaging with their customers: “We have WealthEngine in front of our advisors using Salesforce where any client, any prospect, you have the score right away.”

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This Propensity to Give (P2G) score indicates how likely a prospect is to buy or donate. WealthEngine calculates the score by analyzing factors like assets, a person’s history of giving, and more.

“I know that client before I even connect with them,” notes AlAhmar, “and based on whether they agree to meet with me or not, the machine is going to learn. It’s going to tell me this specific trigger is working better than the other trigger.”

Final Thoughts: Leveraging Big Data Helps Care for Clients

AlAhmar was once friends with an elderly man in his congregation named John. Although he was initially hesitant about leaving $7 million to the church, he trusted AlAhmar to allocate the money wisely based on their existing relationship. 

The foundation for his trust was simple. “Whenever [my wife and her mom] cook [John’s favorite meal], they send some to John, because he’s in his 80s and he loves that food,” recalls AlAhmar. This humble act between friends imbued John with the confidence that his gift was in good hands. 

The exchange summarizes AlAhmar’s approach to data-driven customer experiences. The right info at the right time backed up by a positive, pre-existing relationship helps clients feel valued and secure in your partnership. A tool like WealthEngine makes it automatic. Get in touch today for a demo.