clip_image002Data. Database spreadsheets, donor lists, research files, plans and actions. You know all this information will help you in achieving your donor relations and financial goals, but you feel way overloaded. Where do you begin? When does it end? How are you going to find time to study all this? And get all of your other work done? Help is here, my friend.

Prioritize and Funnel Your Data

1. Prioritize those who already love your organization and invest in you consistently.

We usually want to take the top person with the most giving capacity and move them to the top of our relationship-cultivation list. But, sometimes these folks would not necessarily give you a major gift. Look for the person, couple, or family that love your organization.

They may volunteer as a family. He may come to your event. She may talk about your organization to her church members as if she works for you. These supporters are loving the results of what you do. Accordingly, you want to investigate to see if these supporters also faithfully give financially. This means they are putting their money where their service is.

When you have these two dynamics—volunteering and giving—then you have a special person or family that may even sacrifice to sow into your vision.

2. Identify the “second date”.

Getting a first date is a big deal. But, really the second date shows that you made it through the awkward part of learning about each other—and want to meet again. They show interest in getting to know you better. This is the same with your data.

When searching through potential major donors in your data, the first glance at the data feels like the awkward part of getting to know someone. Who are they? What do they give to? Where do they live? Who are their friends? So many entry-level questions to ask. Then something special happens. They respond to a thank you note you sent, they answer the phone when you call, they give more than once a year. Whatever clue you have identified—they just moved to a second date.

Each organization is unique, so you need to discover what that second date response is. When a person responds in that way, they are “asking” for a second date and should move up on your cultivation list.

3. Use wealth screening as a tool, not the rule.

Wealth screening tools are just that—a tool. One of many in your data identification and cultivation tool belt. Wealth screening, like Advocace’s DonorCompassSM, is a great way to sift through the thousands of names in your database. This helps you identify those with the most giving capacity—while getting clues into who this person is and if they would be a good candidate for a major gift.

But just using this tool to build your top list so you can ask for a major gift is not the best use of this information. Nor does it guarantee that they would even give more to you. Arm yourself with a wealth screening tool as well the tool of “probing questions”. Ask questions like these:

· Who on this list volunteers or holds a board member position (for us or another non-profit)?

· Is there a champion (a person who has given you a major gift) and can ask others to join in your vision?

· Does a donor’s business or church actively give?

· Is there a staff member who knows any of these people personally?

Having several tools gives you a way to prioritize your data and list the most appropriate donors for cultivation.

I know I promise 5 ways to conquer data and the other two will come in my next blog—look for it next week! Until then, I would love to hear how you conquer data overload. Please, comment below or send me an email.