Using Affinity to Find Donors that Love Your Cause as Much as You Do

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. A day focused on love, connection, and relationships. The language surrounding this day of love is parallel to some of the language we use in the nonprofit world. We talk a lot about finding donors who love your cause, how to assess their connection to your mission, and how to nurture relationships with your donors. So, we thought that today was timely to discuss the key to finding donors that love your cause as much as you do: Affinity. 


What is Affinity?

Along with propensity and capacity, affinity helps make up the iWave PAC (propensity, affinity, and capacity… get it?!) ratings or score. Also known as the Three Keys, these ratings help guide wealth screening and prospect research to frame major gift asks. There are many variations of names for this rating trio in the nonprofit space, but no matter what you call them, they play a big role in making the most educated gift asks. Having information about these three elements for your prospect will give you a clear understanding of whether or not they are a great prospective donor. 

While capacity asks “how much wealth can this person donate?”, and propensity asks “is this person philanthropic?”, affinity describes whether someone gives to causes similar to yours. At iWave, we understand affinity (or linkage) as the strength of a person’s connection to a cause or mission. Affinity is all about relationships and connections.


Why is Affinity so Important? 

While it is important to know about a prospect’s wealth and philanthropic history, affinity is arguably the most important element of the PAC rating or score. The likelihood that someone will give a large gift depends heavily on the connection they have with your organization. If a prospect on your list has historically donated to their alma mater and sits on the board of a private school their child attends, it’s less likely that they will donate to your local animal shelter. However, if you are an organization whose mission is to ensure every child has access to equal education, this might be a great prospect for you.


Finding a Connection 

So, how do you determine if there’s a connection or chemistry between a prospect and your nonprofit? A good place to start is analyzing your donor database. Take a look at your donor’s philanthropic history. Has a prospect been a recipient of your care or services lately? Have they recently attended or volunteered at an event you hosted? Do they engage with you on social media or subscribe to your email list? Evaluate the relationships that you already have with these donors and look for opportunities to further develop these connections. 

Another way to find opportunities within your database is to run a wealth screen. A wealth screening platform will match the prospects and donors in your database to wealth, philanthropic, and biographic information. Look for a platform that is designed to help segment and prioritize the best prospective donors based on their affinity to your organization. Better said, prioritize individuals who have a history of giving to causes similar to yours. An extremely important feature to look for when choosing a wealth screening platform is customization. Having the ability to customize your screening parameters will ensure that the results are tailored to your organization’s mission and goals. 

When it’s time to look for new prospects, a fundraising intelligence solution is a great resource to use to find new individuals that have an affinity for your cause. You can use a platform like iWave to: 

  • Find individuals who are giving to organizations similar to yours.
  • Understand a prospect’s affinity based on the foundations they are affiliated with.
  • Get a comprehensive view of donors giving to you and other nonprofit organizations, including when they gave, how much they gave, and the type of gift they gave.
  • Uncover hidden gems in your database who have a connection to your cause but are giving much more to other nonprofits than they’re giving to you.
  • And so much more!


Cultivating Affinity 

Determining affinity can take some digging, but you can be proactive to cultivate personal relationships and inspire connections to make the process easier. Talk about your goals. Share your story. Thank your supporters. These simple things can make your donors feel connected to you and your cause. 


Ready to Learn More? 

Having a fundraising intelligence platform that can prioritize affinity is key when affinity is considered the most important element of a prospect rating scorecard.  Knowing a prospect has a proven interest and passion for your cause can give you a head start in finding the major gift donor of your dreams. 

Ready to learn more about the importance of affinity ratings? Check out our upcoming webinar with Dawn Galasso: Find the Major Gift Donors of Your Dreams: The Importance of Affinity Ratings and Customization in your Wealth Screening.



About the author: Madelyn Deveau is the Acting Content Marketing Manager at iWave. She has a degree in public relations and has found her niche in the behind-the-scenes aspects of her field. A social media enthusiast and communications specialist, Madelyn uses her skillset to create engaging content and brand awareness. Madelyn is creative, curious, and constantly motivated to learn from her experiences and the people around her.



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