I couldn’t believe my own eyes. In fact, I made a mistake because I saw the number and thought:
“Oh, that can’t be right!”
The number that threw me for a loop? Sixty-three percent of gospel rescue missions said they do not use wealth screening as the foundation of their major gifts program. (This number is based on Advocace’s 2016 Rescue Mission Development Outlook study.)
Scandalously Bad Stewardship
Friend, that is outrageous because wealth screening services, like our firm’s DonorCompassSM, helps you gauge the capacity of your donors to give. The intersection of interest and capacity is where you find major donors who can fuel your mission and help you achieve your vision.
And, it turns out, rescue missions aren’t alone. I’ve researched other ministries and found that Christian K-12 schools, Christian radio, missions agencies and even bible colleges don’t seem to see the need for wealth screening. Wealth Screening serves as a very basic form of prospect research necessary to the process of raising five, six and even seven figure major gifts.
This is scandalously bad stewardship. It is a travesty to think that something so affordable and available isn’t utilized to grow funds to help more people in crisis, educate the next generation of Christian leaders and advance the Gospel. Sometimes, Christian leaders have told us they don’t like wealth screening because it seems like “spying” on their donors.
It’s Not “Spying”
I’ve been asked, “What would my donor say if they found out I ran their name through some kind of database?”
Long ago, I worried about the same thing. But having engaged in deep conversations with hundreds of major donors over many years, I can tell you that most of them fully expect you to “do your homework”. They expect you to know who they are, how they like to give and most importantly, what their capable of – in other words, their capacity.
Prospect research is venerable, reliable and established as a tool for fundraisers. Many major donors serve on boards and have fully supported—even voted to fund—wealth screening analysis of their fellow donors. This isn’t spying.
It’s smart, effective and good preparation for the work of building key relationships. Without a good understanding of capacity, you actually run the risk of insulting a major donor by not asking them for enough money!
3 Ways Wealth Screening Works
Here are three ways wealth screening can revolutionize your major gifts program:
- 1. Knowing how to focus your limited time. Chances are, you have more to do than just visit major donors. Even if you are a major gift officer and that is your sole purpose, your time is limited. The most productive MGO can see about 10-15 prospects a week. And that’s only if the donors and prospects are within a defined area. Focusing on those with the highest capacity helps you raise more money in less time.
- 2. Defining your strategy. A capacity-driven major gifts program helps you say “yes” to some ideas and “no” to others. Your time-consuming donor events, bloated mailing list and endless other activities may or may not be worth your time. You could spend donor dollars cultivating the wrong people in the wrong ways. Research helps you nail down what really works.
- 3. Energizing your team. Even board members reluctant to engage major donors have gotten excited when they saw the potential in a donor file identified by DonorCompassSM. Helping people see the possibility can make all the difference in motivating them.
Please call for a free quote on DonorCompassSM. We want to help you raise more money in less time, just as scores of our clients are doing right now.