Screening Vs. Analytics

In our last post, we discussed why automated prospect screening hasn’t been available for Canadian prospects until May 2016.

screening vs. analyticsWait.  Screening?  You’re actually talking about analytics, right?”

There is some confusion in the industry about the differences between screening and analytics.  As it turns out, the two processes provide insight on different aspects of the prospect development cycle.

Unlike automated wealth/prospect screening, analytics has been available on Canadian based prospects.  But what’s the difference in the two?

It comes down to analytics using primarily internal data and screening primarily matching against external wealth, biographical, and philanthropic data.

Analytics involves studying the information within an organization’s donor database to find new prospects, and it’s the best place to start when looking for new prospects.  It can vary in complexity, but the goal is usually to learn about the people within the database and identify groups of individuals who fit certain criteria, such as giving history or gift size.  In some cases analytics can involve appending external data to the donor file exported from the database.  These external indicators (such as family income) are used within the analytics process and reporting, but it is not considered wealth/prospect screening.

The term analytics is sometimes referred to as data mining, predictive modeling, and donor modeling.   This doesn’t mean they are all exactly the same thing.  Predictive modeling involves an analysis of your past donors to identify your ideal donor type.

As Kevin MacDonell explains in his book, Score!: Data-Driven Success for Your Advancement Team, “Predictive modeling does not pick sure winners, it only identifies subpopulations of your constituency with elevated probabilities of doing whatever it is you’re hoping for, including stepping up to make a major gift.”

This is also the case with automated wealth and prospect screening.  Analytics and screening tools provide a starting point, but information should be validated and expanded upon with more in-depth research.


To read more about the background of screening in Canada, and to learn about the exciting opportunity of PROscreen, click below:

canadian screening

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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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