How iWave Performance Helps Fuel Fundraising Analytics

Guess what? We have a new feature straight out of development to share with you! Building off the success of our Insights feature, iWave’s newest addition called Performance will offer a new way to understand the major gift performance of a group of prospective donors. This new feature comes at a time when the nonprofit landscape is shifting. Changes in both giving behavior and technology are putting the onus on nonprofit organization’s to work both smarter and faster to fulfill their missions. iWave’s Screening Performance aims to help ease this burden by giving nonprofit organizations more awareness into the state of their database and the performance relative to others in the industry.

This new feature works by leveraging a prospect’s recency-frequency-monetary (RFM) score which analyzes internal giving behavior, and their iWave Score which analyzes their external wealth and giving behavior. Performance is a new metric which complements the recently launched iWave Insights. Insights helps you more efficiently analyze and segment your database so you can more effectively action prospects and make major gift asks with expert precision.

Coupled with Insights, Performance enables you to better understand how constituents in your file are performing philanthropically relative to how they are performing with other organizations. It will measure how effective your organization is at capitalizing on opportunities within different lists and groups. A higher Performance value associated with a list or group, the better an organization is capitalizing on the giving potential of the prospects. Conversely, a lower Performance value means more opportunity exists to cultivate major gifts from the list or database.

This introduction of Performance allows nonprofits to act proactively rather than reactively while helping guide their organization’s direction and decision-making. As Insights helps nonprofit organizations prioritize the direction of their major gift efforts, Performance will help quantify their efforts for strategic and leadership purposes.

To help better understand how to use the new Performance feature, we included a use cases below.

Understand the Giving Potential of Your Database

Rather than looking at your database in terms of individuals, use Performance to understand the overall giving health of your prospects. For example, let’s pretend you’re a small liberal arts university. And even though you have a large database of alumni, your organization struggles to understand exactly where the giving potential lies. In order to take advantage of this large database of potential donors, your organization needs direction.

Enter the role of Performance.

To understand where the giving potential is, start by building different lists within your database based on various segments specific to your university. These lists could be based on graduating class, former varsity athletes, different degree programs, or even parents of current students. Screen each of the lists individually. Use Performance to understand the performance and potential of each group. Maybe you see the Performance of a certain graduating class is much lower than the years immediately before and after it. This may indicate they are ready to be cultivated for a major gift ask.

If you’re not a higher education organization or you don’t have a large database, this method still works. The goal with Performance is to find individuals who have potential to give more. If you need a quick refresher on a few easy-to-build lists to kick off your Performance, we have you covered.

Combining Insight Segments and Performance

Before we dive deeper, here’s a quick refresher of iWave Insights. Using Insights, you’re able to automatically sort your database into four distinct segments.

The segments are as follows:

  • Hidden Gems: Prospects which great potential to become major gift donors. They have capacity and are already giving to other nonprofits, though they are not giving to yours.
  • Distinguished Philanthropists: Great major gift donors that are interested in your organization and donate to your cause. They may also be giving to others and have could have additional capacity.
  • Not Now Prospects: Individuals that do not appear to be philanthropic with you or other nonprofits. Unless additional information is uncovered, this group should be considered your lowest priority to action.
  • Your Champions: High performers that have a proven affinity to your nonprofit and are already donating charitable gifts. They are not on the radar of other nonprofits.

The segments, which are listed below, help your organization better focus its efforts when working with prospective and current major gift donors.

Once your database is segmented and prioritized with Insights, it’s time to leverage the power of Performance. If Performance is low for a certain list, leverage Your Champions or Distinguished Philanthropists. These two segments offer the greatest upside in terms of procuring major gifts, as their past giving behaviour indicates their willingness to further donate to your organization.

On the other hand, if Performance is sky-high, turn your attention to Not Now Prospects or Hidden Gems. Though their behaviour may indicate hesitation in contributing to your organization, there may be opportunities to cater specific gift asks to their preferences. And if past gift asks have been unsuccessful, don’t fret! Potential may exist in engaging them with non-giving roles, such as a volunteer positions or board memberships.

Use Performance To Forecast Major Gifts

Imagine you had a lofty campaign goal and wanted to understand the potential for major gifts within your database to achieve this ambitious task. This is when Performance can get strategic.

Let’s pretend your organization’s campaign goal is $100 million over a ten-year period. Your current major gift revenue hovers around $2 million a year, which means there is some work to do!

Before lifting a finger with prospect profiles, check the Performance of your group. If the Performance is low, there may be potential hiding in your current database to capitalize on. Further research will be required to confidently forecast a successful campaign, but the campaign potential looks good! On the other hand, if your Performance is high and you’re only generating $2 million you may need to look externally for major gift donors outside your database.

Ready to get started?

For current iWave users, start using Performance by logging in here. For non-iWave users, click here to get a personalized demonstration.

And don’t forget, everything we do at iWave is rooted in spoken and unspoken feedback from our valued users. So when you’re trying out Performance, don’t forget to submit feedback here or to


About the author: Patrick Bryden is iWave’s Marketing Manager.  From creating pitch decks for Nike and Mattel to starting his own water bottle company, Patrick brings over five years of marketing experience to iWave. With a strong interest in creative problem solving and finding efficiencies in everyday processes, Patrick’s never met a challenge he hasn’t liked.


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