How to Track Down High Potential Donors in a Mountain of Data

How to Track Down High Potential Donors in a Mountain of Data

December 28, 2020
Raj Khera

Understanding how to efficiently use data to identify top-performing prospects is important to all aspects of nonprofit fundraising. Michelle Tilton, VP of Marketing at Infutor, discusses constantly evolving data collection methods and the importance of data accuracy for finding prospects who will be receptive to a donation request.

Infutor, a partner of WealthEngine, is a company at the forefront of consumer identity data management and identity resolution. Their mission is to help clients instantly know what they need to understand about consumers.

Increase and Advancement in Data Collection Methods

Each day, data is collected from millions of consumers across multiple channels. This information ranges from donor profiles to website engagement. While data collection has steadily increased as data collection methods have advanced over the years, 2020 has seen a huge influx of new activity.

The pandemic has driven almost all demographics and businesses online. Because of this, new people, like the boomer generation, are beginning to navigate the digital world. Shopping, business meetings, and social events have begun to take place in virtual settings.

Nonprofits are directly impacted because of these shifts. There has been a permanent change in the way people engage with digital content. Now, organizations are competing with more commercial companies for consumer attention. 

Data Breakage

This term defines what occurs when your donor profile doesn’t line up with the true information about a person. Michelle explains, “We’re seeing about 30% of data breakage within a donor database over a 12-month period.”

Many factors contribute to data breakage. Michelle observes that it’s common for data to be entered incorrectly during the first capture of donor information. 

Michelle notes another contributing factor is that consumers often try to be purposefully elusive. To support this contention, Michelle points out that surveys demonstrate that up to “60% of consumers intentionally provide wrong information.”

Data is always evolving. Personal information like addresses, phone numbers, and emails, are dynamic. To illustrate this fact, Michelle notes: “One in three consumers change

email addresses, 50 million phone numbers change annually.” When these components change, your database becomes full of obsolete profiles. 

The main problem with data breakage is its impact on your return-on-investment (ROI). Impressions and engagement rates fall when data leads your marketing to the wrong destination.

Data Cleansing Ensures Data Accuracy

Infograph of the process of data cleansing

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Letting data go unrefreshed for a long period of time can cost your organization in the short-term by causing you to lose out on donations. In the long-term, the time staff must take away from vital fundraising efforts to manually cleanse and restore your donor profile data is detrimental to overall campaign success. 

Customer relationship management (CRM) maintenance is a major factor involved in data cleansing. Regularly working with a system that provides data enrichment will keep your information up-to-date. 

Referential data plays a key role in ensuring data accuracy. It provides context for time-sensitive data and helps to provide key identifiers for each profile in your system.

Activation Improvements

After gathering and refreshing data, organizations need to activate the information against an audience. This plays out as successful targeted messaging across multiple channels of communication. 

For example, Infutor works with a highly recognizable nonprofit healthcare organization that is primarily funded through public donations. 

They receive information across multiple platforms including inbound forms, call centers, direct mail, and social media. Infutor identified the organization’s need to bring together all of the data their channels collect into one database.

As a solution, Infutor implemented a single-point entry master database. They took all of the donor information, added intelligence from Infutor’s data, cleansed at all points in the process, and made this database accessible to key members.

Through this process, Infutor was able to identify 42,000 donors who were incorrectly marked as deceased in the organization’s records. Taking the time to have quality data allowed this group to add 42,000 new names to their list of prospects.

Building First Party Data

Bar graph showing the ROI on first, second, and third party data

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The importance of first party data emerges in three overarching patterns: cookies, walled gardens, and privacy.

Third party cookies are becoming obsolete. They expire quickly, are easy for consumers to opt-out of, and cannot be used cross-device. 

Walled gardens refer to sites working with a company that has a closed data ecosystem, like Google and Facebook. You can use the technology on these sites, as well as access the audience, but you cannot export this data to other channels.

Privacy is one of the most influential factors when building first party data. Understanding privacy implications is more than knowing laws and regulations. Michelle stresses it is crucial to have a deep empathy toward a consumer’s right to opt-out of marketing communications.

Utilizing Your Data Collection

The first step in producing high potential donors is to find the key indicators of your top customer base. WealthEngine’s WE Screen feature is a great way to discover insight into a person’s lifestyle. 

This information allows you to build out profiles on each of your highest performing donors. Using these indicators will make it easy to analyze the information.

WealthEngine’s WE Analyze feature automates this process for you. With a couple of clicks, WealthEngine provides specific segmented lists, like major donor profiles or annual gift donors. With this access, it’s possible to personalize marketing efforts for higher engagement rates. 

Look-alike Modeling

After figuring out who your top donors and prospects are, the goal is to multiply your contact list by finding other people with similar profiles. Look-alike clients share the same attributes, such as similar lifestyles and wealth scores, as your highest performing donors.

With WealthEngine’s prospect tool, there are 300 million Americans that WealthEngine can search through to generate your look-alike list. 

Understanding Channels and Deep Data Analytics

Looking at channels helps organizations understand how and where consumers spend their time. This information guides marketing dollars to personalize messaging, which allows for targeted engagement during fundraising campaigns.

Although this insight into consumer activity is important, it’s just as crucial to remember that it is always changing. Constantly analyzing data for data accuracy and new trends can help maximize your ROI. 

For example, Infutor was able to help a client conduct an in-depth segmentation analysis to identify five clusters out of their 130 that were producing 3-4 times the results of the median. Conducting deep analysis helps to make sure you are optimizing all of your data. 

Want to know more about how the WealthEngine comprehensive platform can assist your organization in making the most of its data? Request a free WealthEngine demo today!