Why Match Rate is Critical When Selecting a Wealth Screening Platform

Why Match Rate is Critical When Selecting a Wealth Screening Platform

October 8, 2020
Raj Khera

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.