For many years, I have been saying that the math will not lie to you. By this I mean, if you conduct trend analysis with your data, the patterns in you donor’s behavior will come forward. This analysis is important to help you manage resources, target messaging and even budget for the future in terms of operation expenses and expected results. I would suggest that you review your gift history and identify donors that were not cultivated through major gifts as way to create a strategy for raising unrestricted funds. Figure out how that “average” donor has performed in the past and target that donor with future messaging.

Here are some ideas on how to analyze your internal data to drive ongoing unrestricted gifting:

  1. Review and segment your gift history by donors that required cultivation by a gift officer and those that came from other sources. If you are not tracking the source, it would be a good idea to start so that you can leverage off this data in the future.  
  2. Remove the outliers. These are the outcomes where either you received a huge donation or a very small donation. To help reduce the impact of these occurrences, I would suggest removing the largest and the smallest donations. You can do this by removing 5% of your sample size, sorting the largest donation to smallest, and then removing 5% of your sample size by sorting the smallest donation to largest donation. For example, if you have 1,000 records to analyze, remove the top 50 largest donations and remove the smallest 50 donations from your dataset.
  3. Once you have refined the data, look at certain measurements such as the mean and the median of your gifts. The mean is the average and the median is the middle value of a data set. This helps you create a profile for your “average” donor within a gift type. Also, this will help you identify the “sweet spot” for a donation amount within the “average” donor or prospect.
  4. Target your campaigns to move the mean for the median (whichever you chose to benchmark).  For example, if the mean gift in this class is $120, target your next round of messaging for $150 (or a 25% improvement to your benchmark). This is a subtle way to let these prospects know that your ask is reasonable and realistic for them.

This analysis is a good way to look at your history of donations to see what might be effective for outreach strategies outside of your major gifts. This type of outreach is an ideal way to educate your prospects on your work and how that benefits their community. These analytics can become more complex the deeper you get into your sample with regards to statistical tools to help you set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This simple analysis might be your pathway to the start of something more robust and fruitful for your outreach efforts. Brightway Data provides analytics and predictive modeling to help predict capacity and affinity. Contact us to learn more about our services.