Prospect Ratings: Propensity-Affinity-Capacity Conclusion


Here we are at the end of the Prospect Ratings: 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.  Bill has the capacity and propensity to give, but he isn’t 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 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.

Prospect ratings: Propensity-Affinity-Capacity


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.   The sweet spot is in the middle when all three ratings support each other.  That is when you really know you have a great prospect.

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About the author: Ryan McCarvill is iWave’s Content Manager.  He joined the iWave team in 2016. Ryan enjoys meeting and learning from nonprofit professionals, researching trends in the nonprofit community, and offering strategies for development teams to use iWave’s solutions to meet and exceed their fundraising goals.    



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