THE PAC SERIES: Conclusion



Here we are at the end of the Propensity-Affinity-Capacity Series.  If you’ve been following this blog series, hopefully you’ve learned something new about prospect ratings.  If you’re just joining us, get started here.

What did we learn?


Simply knowing a donor prefers a specific cause and has lots of money to give away is not enough.  Propensity informs our understanding of affinity and capacity.  This rating frames the major gift “ask” with insight into the donor’s personality learned by analyzing giving history.  The true value of a propensity rating is understanding how a prospect approaches philanthropy.


Affinity is the most important element of the PAC scorecard.  Consider the case of Bill Gates.  He is one of the richest men in the world, so there is no question about his capacity to give.  We also understand his propensity to give.  His philanthropic history is wide and varied, but tends to revolve around eradicating diseases across the world.  Bill is passionate about finding cures or treatments for malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS.  So while Bill has the capacity and propensity to give, he may not be very inclined to give his wealth to an animal shelter or a law school.  Why?  There’s no connection, no chemistry, no interest.


Capacity is a broad topic with a lot of perspectives and a lot of customization per organization.  Remember it’s not only about the data.  The use of these ratings are also depends on strong communication with gift officers.  Determine what information the gift officer needs and what they have.  They may know of other indicators of a more qualitative nature.  This strong communication really comes into play in the verified and strategic capacity ratings as deeper researcher is required.



To wrap up, let’s consider the Venn diagram from the beginning of the series.  David Lawson of Working Philanthropy suggests “…someone with money who is a giver to others can still not be into your mission.  Another might love everything you do, but has no discretionary dollars to share.”  Two ratings may overlap, but the sweet spot in the middle is when all three ratings are known and support each other.  That is when you really know you have a great prospect.


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