Fundraising Software Best Practices: Like Attracts Like. Finding Likely Donors

fundraising softwareUse Fundraising Software and Predictive Modeling Techniques to Find Your Best Potential Donors

You’ve probably heard the expression “like attracts like.”  Most of the time it’s said in relation to friends, but it can also be used as a guiding theory behind finding new donors. The idea is called predictive modeling, and the goal is to identify your current best donors to help you find new donors who fit the same profile.

Data, Data Everywhere

Chances are good that your nonprofit has tracked an enormous amount of information on your existing donors. Data on each donation, including the donor, time since last donation, amount, frequency of giving and so forth can all be used to create models to identify likely potential future donors. These models can then be used when you select and rent mailing and email lists or choose your fundraising campaigns. When you know who to target, the where, when and how become a lot easier.

Past Actions Predict Future Behavior

Another truism from the world of direct and online marketing that can be applied to fundraising is that past actions predict future behavior. In other words, a past donor’s giving pattern can be used to predict future gifts.

Donation and Gift Data

The data that you can use to predict future behavior, and create models upon which to base future marketing campaigns, includes much of your donors’ gift-giving history and patterns.

Some of the data points that you should track and analyze include:

  • Time since last gift
  • Amount of each gift
  • Total giving for one year
  • Largest gift
  • Frequency of gifts

Additional demographic data that can be used to develop an ideal donor profile for future marketing includes:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location by city, state and zip code

Many email marketing and other marketing lists can be sorted according to these variables.

A Simple Survey Can Reveal a Lot

An additional, simple survey can also help you collect just enough data to flesh out your customer profiles so that they are even more accurate. When creating donation forms, ask donors about their interests. Offer check boxes with interests and hobbies, some related to your cause and others unrelated.

When donors check these boxes, you can tabulate the responses and determine where you may possibly find additional donors. If all of the donors to your environmental nonprofit indicate an interest in gardening and cooking, you may wish to look for future marketing lists from among cooking and gardening magazines and websites. Similarly, such interests can help you create new and exciting fund raising events such as a “farm to table” weekend, inviting chefs to cook meals from farm produce.

Once you know your donors, you’ll have the information that you need to attract new donors or create innovative fundraisers that will help you achieve your campaign goals.

Creating Your Own Predictive Model: Accounting and Fundraising Software

Many types of accounting and fundraising software for nonprofits track this data. After identifying the variables, track them and compare them over time. You may find that some patterns within the data are better at predicting future giving than others.

One example may be frequency. If a giver donates a little bit, but donates frequently, they have a good likelihood of continuing giving in the future. Identifying such frequent donors can help you find key demographic characteristics that will lead you to additional potential donors.

With the right software at hand, you’ll find this task a lot easier. Sure you can manually compute it in a spreadsheet program, but one mistake may be like finding a needle in a haystack, and the manual input can be difficult. Instead, look for nonprofit accounting software that can tackle this task for you.

Abila Fundraising 50 can help you track campaign progress and fundraising efforts, all the while keeping tabs on important data that can be used for future campaigns. Tailored messages based on donor interests and demographics can help boost retention rates, while streamlined giving information makes gift giving a breeze.

For more information on Abila Fundraising 50 and other fundraising and accounting software for nonprofits, contact RBP Methods at 503-648-9051.