How to Use Wealth Screening in Your Fundraising Appeal

Think about going on a first date with someone. Before heading out, if you want to hit it off right, you’ll need to thoroughly read through their Facebook profile, learn as much as you can about them and then appeal to those things during the date. Alright, I say that in jest, but the point is: the more information you have about this person, the better prepared you are to cultivate a relationship with them.

The same goes for using target analytics and wealth screening or target analytics in your fundraising appeal, as they relate to your donors.

What is donor wealth screening?

Wealth screening definition: a way that organizations assess their donors’ assets to learn how much they can give. This information informs how much your organization should request when making an ask.

The more you know about someone, the more personalized your ask can be.

Wealth screening for nonprofits helps you target the donors from which you can solicit for major gifts, and which donors will require a humbler approach. For example, the way I communicate with an individual with $100,000 a year in assets will be different from the approach I take with someone who makes $5 million a year. And my ask string amounts may be different for someone with higher wealth than lower wealth (or other donor data):

·      Higher wealth capacity: $500, $750, $1,000, Other ____.

·      Lower wealth capacity: $10, $25, $50, Other ____.

If you take the time ask personalized amounts, not only will you raise more money, you’ll improve your donor relationships as well.

What data points are used in wealth screening?

Wealth markers are signs of someone’s financial capacity to give. Common data points used in calculating this include: real estate ownership, stock ownership (both in private and public companies), and business involvement. For example, those who own multiple properties and invest heavily in stocks are much more likely to have the financial ability to make a large gift.

There is fundraising software and wealth screening tools available (DonorSearch, Giveffect, Raiser’s Edge wealth screening to name a few) that will examine your active donors, as well as prospective donors. With this information, you can gain a better understanding of your donor’s individual financial standing. This comes with analysis on their capacity to give to your nonprofit. Essentially, anything that is available for public record can be aggregated as wealth research, helping you select more personal, targeted fundraising strategies.

With all this information, you can better determine how and where to focus your fundraising energies.

How to segment donors

You can then use donor segments based on your prospect research and wealth research to determine how to best cultivate relationships with your donors. Effective donor segmentations allows nonprofits to send more personalized communication (appeal letters, reminders, etc.). Simply using a donor’s preferred name shows the donor that you truly care about them.

How should you segment your donors? A simple way to get started is based on if they have a high-capacity to give or a low-capacity to give.

For high-capacity donors, you’ll want to invite them to attend the more exclusive fundraising events—such as black-tie social galas or exclusive meet and greets that would come with white-glove treatment.

For donors who do not rank as high (low-capacity donors), you might want to invite them to a different type of fundraising outing, such as a golf event or donor appreciation dinners.

If you haven’t used wealth screening in your previous fundraising campaigns, you should strongly consider giving it a try as it could lead to more donations. More importantly, it could lead to your mission reaching more people!

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