Donations Data – What’s the Deal?

Have you been hearing a lot about donations data lately?  We have.  But what does donations data really mean and why is it useful?  Here’s the ‘CliffNotes’ version.

What's the deal with donations data?Firstly, what’s in it for you?  Well, past giving can be a great indicator of future giving.  Think about it.  It doesn’t matter how much wealth someone has if they don’t have a history of giving it away.  But by past giving, we don’t just mean looking at gifts given to your nonprofit.

When we think about donations data here at iWave, we think about charitable gifts to nonprofits, affiliations with foundations and public charities, and political contributions.  It’s useful to include each of these aspects when you think about your prospect’s giving history so that you can get a complete picture.

3 Aspects of Donations Data

Past charitable donations are the most obvious and arguably the most useful.  They tell you who your prospect gives to and how much they give.  In this case, think of ‘who they give to’ in terms of their affiliation with certain causes.  Do they typically give to educational institutions and healthcare causes?  Or maybe they have a strong affinity to the arts and tend to give to museums or ballets.  Whatever the case may be, if you use their past charitable giving history as an indicator, you can quickly start to see what causes your prospect has a passion for. Identify how much they tend to give, and how often they give. This will help you make a more educated ask.

Foundation and public charity information often gets overlooked, but can actually serve as a great source of information about your prospect.  By identifying the organizations that your prospect is affiliated with (i.e. board member, trustee, or officer), you will also see which causes they have an affinity for.  If you’re looking for the gift of time, then they may also be willing to give a monetary gift to a similar cause.

Finally, political giving.  Many people disregard the power of political giving when researching a prospect.  But, did you know that past political giving can also be a great indicator of potential charitable giving? The record of the political gift will list the person’s employment and address, gift amount, year, and recipient. This information can be useful to keep your profile up-to-date and hint at your prospect’s interests and capacity to spend.

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About the author: Jill McCarville is iWave’s VP of Marketing.  Jill joined iWave in 2015 to lead the marketing and communication efforts. Prior to joining iWave Jill worked as a Director at an Innovation and Marketing consulting firm where she led new product ideation sessions, created campaigns, completed market research, and helped clients from Fortune 500’s to small businesses accelerate new products to market.

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