Data-driven Best Practices for Year-End Fundraising in Higher Education

Data-driven Best Practices for Year-End Fundraising in Higher Education

June 19, 2018
Sharanya Venkatesh

Year-end fundraising is often taxing on Higher Education fundraisers. You may find yourself bogged down by year-end development deficits. If this is you, don’t worry! The best response to this scenario is to channel your energies into planning your next year. We have a list of data-driven best practices to strengthen your year-end fundraising and annual planning for the following year.

Fundraising efforts are often affected by the availability of resources. Three major resource challenges can be personnel, time and data. Team size and time-constraints are challenges often difficult to overcome. In instances like these, data can be the solution. Data should not be generic or ambiguous. In fact, it has to be rich, refined and effective enough to make up for the other two resources.

Wealth data is, of course, is part of the picture. However, alumni perception and motivation are equally as important to understand. This means that you need to understand their prospects in a more holistic way. Personalization is the key to year-end fundraising success. WealthEngine provides data on demographics, lifestyle, and affinity to create a 360-degree view of prospects.

Universities around the nation are utilizing WealthEngine to enhance their fundraising. In fact, the VP of Institutional Advancement at a WealthEngine client university has said:

“We’ve done screenings and have used analytics to assess wealth, assets, giving capacity and propensity, but now more than ever before we are using this data to drive our moves management strategy.”

We have leveraged our experience in the sector to recommend four best practices for year-end fundraising.

1.    Regular Wealth Screenings to set up Year-End Success

This may seem obvious, but we have found that it is often overlooked. We know from our work with high-performing institutions that regular wealth screenings generate significant ROI. Your donor database may seem robust. However, frequent screenings can help you find current donors who have both the capacity and propensity to give much more.

For instance, Northwestern University went from raising $500,000 to $1.9 million. They were able to do this by incorporating regular screenings.


Graphic showcasing ROI seen from regular wealth screenings

2.    Data Segmentation for a Targeted Approach

Regular screenings can deliver rich and actionable results. However, if you have a large database, segmentation can help you become more targeted in your approach. With year-end fundraising targets looming, a refined prospect list can help you save time and reduce pressure on small teams.

You can segment data by wealth ratings, RFM (recency, frequency, and money), or by P2G score. Anybody below the level of a major giving donor can become a prospect for annual giving.

Our Senior Consultant, Linda Garrison recommends filtering data by the highest P2G and then sorting the list by wealth bands. This method, therefore, can help push year-end fundraising.


Sort and filter the database by affinity and wealth scores

3.    Predictive Modeling & Analytics to Identify Year-End Fundraising Prospects

Predictive modeling increases the efficiency of year-end fundraising. Data models can help you find your contacts who are both of giving and likely to give. Thus, focusing on more engaged prospects identified by the model reduces the cultivation and solicitation stages of year-end fundraising. This can help you decrease costs and increase revenues over time.

Further, analytics gives you an opportunity to ensure that no money is left at the table. Analytics can help reveal the donor’s capacity, helping you determine the appropriate ‘ask’.


Photo Source: Pixabay

4.    Integrated Data for Better Year-End Fundraising Lists

Screening and analytics are effective. But to ensure that you can optimize this data, it is important to integrate it into existing DMS/CRM. Doing this improves collaboration and provides you a holistic view.

Providing a holistic view enables segmentation to become more precise and personalized. Assignment strategies can become more effective. Moreover, integration helps you identify those prospects that are already assigned but have little capacity. On the other hand, you can also find prospects that are unassigned and have significant capacity. Therefore, your year-end fundraising list becomes more efficient.


Graphic showcasing steps to integrate data

Above all, we hope our recommendations on best practices empower your year-end fundraising.

We have also created tailored offerings to kick your 2018 year-end activities and 2019 planning into high-gear. Take a look to see which offer may be right for you.  Contact us today.

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