Finding Major Gift Prospects Using Prospect Scores

Do you search for major gift prospects within your donor database, or do you use external sources to find them? Why not both? Here is some food for thought on combining internal and external research to identify islands of opportunity a.k.a. great major gift prospects.

*The following is an excerpt from iWave’s ebook, “The Power of Past Giving.”

Internal “Island” (RFM Score)

Some of your best prospects are likely in your database already. These donors have an established history with your organization. This history makes it easier to evaluate your relationship with these donors and identify new opportunities to further develop these relationships.

A great first step is to score existing donors using the Recency-Frequency-Monetary (RFM) method. The RFM is an internal analysis of the current relationship you have with your prospect based off of giving data to your organization. Within your donor database, compile a list of donors including the following information:

• Total Gift Count
• Total Gift Amount
• Last Gift Date

If your prospect research tool offers an RFM analysis, perhaps as part of its screening solution, then you can measure and compare one donor’s score versus others. You may find that a longtime mid-level donor is actually above your organization’s threshold for major gift prospects.

External “Island” (iWave Score)

For external charitable giving research, hold onto that list of donors. First, consider what your donors have in common. Likely, most will have an affinity to your performing arts center, and therefore arts and culture.

Now that affinity is established, you can segment your donors. Where do they live? What is the average major gift amount? What other organizations do your donors support? Are you confident you have the most recent data for all your donors? Answering these questions for each prospect in your database could take weeks or months of one-off research.

That’s where prospect screening can help by doing the heavy lifting for you.
iWave’s iWave Screening service filters your donor list against billions of wealth, biographic, and philanthropic records. Each prospect is then assigned an iWave Score, which is a three-pronged score that considers propensity, affinity, and capacity indicators. You can then dive into the donations records and validate, add and delete records as required, and refresh the iWave Score as many times as needed.

When you cross-reference both internal and external views, you will identify the best prospects and be able to act on those opportunities faster and with increased confidence. Luckily for you, iWave Screening examines your list both internally (with an RFM scoring system) and externally (iWave Score) at the same time. Developing a deeper understanding of charitable giving history has never been easier.

Islands of Opportunity

Mining your donor database in a bubble won’t help you grow the database with new prospects. And by only screening external records, you won’t get the full picture of your current prospects and donors. Rather, a holistic process is necessary to find the right major gift prospects. If you know your prospect’s giving history, you know their propensity and affinity. Combine that with wealth and biographic records found independently or with your prospect research tool, and you could be on your way to major gift success.

What’s more, by combining internal insight with external research, you will identify islands of opportunity – the diamonds in the rough that could be the major gift donors of your dreams. And you’ll find these donors using less time and fewer resources.

We call that intelligent fundraising.

Want to read more on this topic? Download our ebook, “The Power of Past Giving” today.

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