At DonorSearch, we take our technical integration partners very seriously. We knew that we wanted to include a matching gift database in our platform, but we also knew that we had to be absolutely sure that we chose the right provider before creating an integration.
Like every other product decision we’ve made, we wanted to invest time and energy into this process so that we could rest assured knowing we had chosen the best option for our 1,000+ clients plus other integration partners.
Because most of the matching gift database providers offer part or all of their services online, we first compared the capabilities of the public resources, and then reached out to our favorite to learn more about their product and determine if they would be right for us.
In the end, we decided that Double the Donation would be the best provider to meet our needs. To learn more about the qualities we evaluated during our decision, as well as what Double the Donation is and why we picked their database, read on!
What features did we consider?
When deciding between the different matching gift databases, we took into account different attributes that would influence the conversion rate of donors.
One of the most important qualities of a matching gift database is its overall comprehensiveness. How many entries does a database have?
There are three types of entries that a database must have:
Alternate spellings of companies and brands.
Subsidiaries and alternate spellings are important when considering how donors will interact with a search tool. Consider, for example, someone who works for Disney World. They need to be able to find their company’s matching gift policy no matter if they search for:
Walt Disney World.
The Walt Disney Corporation.
The Walt Disney World Resort.
Currency and relevancy.
A database can’t just include companies and their matching gift programs: it has to be reflective of the companies’ most current policies. =&2=&
We took a handful of companies with generous matching gift programs and evaluated which had the most up-to-date forms, links, and contact information for matching gift programs.
Matching gift databases use some of the following strategies to ensure that their information is up-to-date:
Autoscanning their database for dead links and invalid email addresses.
Testing email addresses and phone numbers.
Offering avenues for employers and employees to submit updates
Here at DonorSearch, we’ve hit 100 million records! Yes, that’s right. Not 1 million, not 10 million, but 100 millionrecords in our charitable giving database.
We are incredibly excited to have reached this milestone. But what’s great for us is also great for you — because this gargantuan amount of records means that our philanthropic databases are chock full of information that your nonprofit can use.
Want to know more as we celebrate this achievement?
Below are the key insights that we’ve gathered from our charitable giving database. To start out, check out our highest categories for annual reports:
Higher Education: 21,989 annual reports
Arts, Culture, and Humanities: 13,569 annual reports
Human Services: 10,630 annual reports
Education: 9,475 annual reports
Health Care: 8,612 Annual reports
Philanthropy Voluntarism and Grantmaking: 5,753 annual reports
Environment: 4,256 annual reports
Maxing out with over 20,000 annual reports in higher education alone, you can see how thrilled we are to have not only a huge amount of annual reports, but reports that represent diverse interests in the nonprofit sector.
Want to see what major foundations have given the most? Check out our list below:
The strongest indicator of future giving is past giving.
Curious how we know?
We know past giving’s role in predicting future giving because we have back tested our predictive models against $5 billion in known giving. That $5 billion came from 2 million donors to 400 fundraising organizations.
Look at these statistics:
A donor who has made a gift of $100k+ to a nonprofit organization is 32 times as likely to donate charitably as an average person is.
A donor who has made a gift between $50k – $100k to a nonprofit organization is 25 times as likely to donate charitably as an average person is.
A donor who has made a gift between $10k – $25k to a nonprofit organization is 10 times as likely to donate charitably as an average person is.
A donor who has made a gift between $5k – $10k to a nonprofit organization is 5 times as likely to donate charitably as an average person is.
DonorSearch’s Daily Patient Screening helps you identify the best prospective donors at the perfect time to begin a relationship: while they are still in your facility, or while their positive experiences are fresh in their minds and they feel grateful towards your organization.
Detailed analytics, based on back testing of two million records representing $5 billion in giving, can help you identify and research known philanthropists with a high degree of confidence. As the most comprehensive Daily Patient Screening service in the industry, DonorSearch can even help you formulate approach strategies by pinpointing who your donor knows.
Daily Patient Screening is ideal for organizations that want to incorporate this best practice into their fundraising strategy. Patients appreciate the extra attention and service from an organization, and you can start relationships with potential donors who are receptive to learning more about your organization.
The following document breaks down the daunting task of starting a Grateful Patient Program at your organization into four manageable steps: prepare for implementation of a Grateful Patient Program; screen and validate prospects; manage prospects; and measure program effectiveness.
#1 Prepare for Implementation of a Grateful Patient Program
Determine Necessary Staff and Budgetary Resources
Establishing a viable Grateful Patient Program requires a dedicated staff and budget. Plans should be made for additional gift officers and advancement services staff to meet the demands of the program. Besides the increase in human resource expenses, funds will need to be available for Daily Patient Screening.
Questions to Ask:
How many gift officers will we need for the Grateful Patient Program?
Should the gift officers be only major gift officers, or would our institution benefit from an annual giving officer or planned giving officer on the team?
Is there a prospect researcher who can handle the patient screening results, or will an additional researcher need to be added to the team?
Will the import of patient information overwhelm the advancement services team?
Establish Guidelines to Protect Patient Privacy
While preparing for the start of a grateful patient program, federal, state, and local laws regarding patient privacy must be reviewed. The hospital’s own policies should also be reviewed. After this review, prepare a plan for protecting the privacy of patients and their families.
DonorSearch takes the privacy and security of your data very seriously.
We go beyond HIPAA regulations to keep your data secure. Data you share is never shared with other clients, and your internal giving information is not added to our database or available to any other client.
Your files, including data you upload to us and information we return to you, are only accessible to you. Please request a copy of our data security policy if you would like to know more.
Questions to Ask:
What are the privacy laws our institution is required to follow?
What are the institution’s policies regarding patient privacy?
Who in the foundation office will have access to the patient information?
Determine What Patient Data is Needed and Where it Will Be Stored
DonorSearch requires the name and address of the patient to screen your prospects. A spouse name is helpful to further validate data. Medicare or Medicaid patients, patients receiving mental health care, and those under the age of 18 should be removed from the screening list.
To complete RFM and other modeling, patient data should be cross-checked with your institution’s donor database and giving information should be sent for screening. Decide where the screening results will be stored in your donor database.
Questions to Ask:
How will the patient data be acquired each day?
Who will prepare the patient data for screening?
Who will import the screening back data into the donor database?
Does our patient management system integrate with our donor database?
Gain Support of Hospital Leadership
To establish a beneficial Grateful Patient Program, the foundation office must work with many different hospital divisions.
To obtain the support of the different hospital divisions needed to carry out the program, seek the support of the hospital’s CEO first. Present the potential increase in foundation revenue from a successful Grateful Patient Program. Seek out information from other institutions with a similar structure that have a successful program.
If necessary, enlist the help of board members to convince hospital leadership. Once the CEO is on board with the project, it will be easier to convince the various other hospital divisions that will be affected.
Questions to Ask:
What hospital divisions will be affected by a Grateful Patient Program?
What can the foundation staff do to make the roll out of a program a positive experience?
Who is supportive of the program, and who can convince others of its importance?
Prepare Medical Staff and Recruit Doctors
The medical staff is bound to have concerns with foundation officers making visits to patients they are trying to treat. If their concerns are addressed early and often, resistance can be minimized. Select a group of doctors and nurses who are supportive of the program to serve as ambassadors for the foundation.
Questions to Ask:
Which members of the medical staff can serve as foundation ambassadors?
How can we use positive patient stories from the medical staff as foundation marketing material?
How can we minimize the impact of the Grateful Patient Program on the medical staff?
#2 Screen and Validate Prospects
Determine Frequency of Screening
Decide how frequently you need to screen patients. If you plan to make visits while patients are still admitted, daily screening is needed. If you plan to contact patients within three months of their discharge, weekly or monthly screening is acceptable.
Set a Timeline for Using Screening Results and Create a Solicitation Plan
A patient who had a positive experience in your hospital should be contacted within three months of their discharge.
Determine which gift capacity levels will rate a personal visit and which gift capacity levels will be moved into mail solicitation. Make sure your priority for visits is those who have given to you previously.
Provide DonorSearch with Patient Data
Provide DonorSearch with your patient data in the evening, and we will have the information screened and returned to you in the morning.
You will be provided with in-depth screening and research that can help you pinpoint your strongest prospects with critical information, including:
In-depth reports on past philanthropy
Past philanthropy to your organization
Insights into the organizations and causes the donor supports
Ask amounts based on philanthropy and wealth
Corporate and nonprofit involvement
Real estate ownership
SEC insider stock transactions
Links to annual reports where the donor is mentioned
Giving by the donor’s spouse
Personal, corporate, and organization backgrounds
Other wealth markers, such as airplane and boat ownership
Import and Review Screening Results
After your screening results are imported into your donor database, a prospect researcher should prepare a report on each prospect that is highly rated.
Your prospects will be returned to you with a DS rating. DS ratings are a quick snapshot of external giving, as well as wealth. The ratings do not include your internal giving information, but are based on data acquired from several external sources.
DS1-1: Exact match as a donor giving $5,000 or more to a nonprofit or political organization found in our giving history archive. A DS1-1 rated prospect may have markers of wealth or may only be matched to a significant giving history, and have no notable wealth markers.
DS1-2: Exact match to exceptional markers of wealth. LexisNexis real estate holdings of $2 million+, D&B business executive at firms with revenues of $5 million+, Guidestar Foundation Trustees, SEC Insiders, Market Guide Executives.
DS1-3: Exact match to lower, but notable, markers of wealth, including LexisNexis real estate holdings totaling $1-2 million, D&B business executive at firms with revenues of $1-5 million, or political giving in excess of $10,000.
DS1-4: Exact match to LexisNexis real estate holdings of $500,000-1 million.
DS1-5: Exact/very likely matches to individuals giving elsewhere, but at levels less than $5,000.
DS2: Possible/unconfirmed matches to key databases including foundation trustees, SEC Insiders, Market Guide executives, business executives.
DS3: No noteworthy matches to giving history or wealth indicators.
With more information publicly available than ever before, prospect research is becoming an increasingly popular tool for nonprofit organizations to increase their fundraising capabilities. Sophisticated analysis now makes it possible to identify an organization’s best prospective donors, as well as better understand how to approach each one and what size donation to request.
Prospect research can help organizations:
Identify prospective donors
Determine potential gift amounts
Formulate ask strategies
Segment donors by potential gifts
Build guest lists for events
Efficiently use fundraising/development resources
Reduce fundraising costs
Prospect Research: Definition and Benefits
Would you ask a total stranger for money? More importantly, would you expect a total stranger to give your nonprofit a five-figure, six-figure or seven-figure donation?
Before drafting or trading for a player, sports teams prepare in-depth profiles of each prospect, looking at both past achievements and the factors that are most likely to predict future potential. They use that information to weigh different players against each other, estimate likely salaries, and determine which players are most likely to help their team.
For many nonprofits, annual giving represents the majority of gifts received, surpassing the number of gifts received from major and planned givers and events.
Benefits of Prospect Research:
Start and develop relationships
Develop approach/engagement strategies
Estimate ask amounts
Uncover “hidden” donors
Increase gifts from existing donors
Segment donors by likelihood of giving, capacity to give, and type (annual, major, planned) of likely gift
Identify potential board members and organization champions
Back testing over 2 million donor records showed a strong correlation between specific philanthropy and wealth markers and future philanthropy. Unlike traditional wealth analysis, which has long been the standard for donor prediction in the industry, past philanthropy proved to be a much more accurate indicator of future philanthropy.
Wealth, particularly as evidenced by the value of real estate owned by the prospect, correlated with both the inclination to give and the capacity to give. However, stronger predictors of future philanthropy were past giving to the nonprofit, past giving to other nonprofits, political giving, and other factors.
Wealth, however, plays a greater role in formulating ask amounts, although philanthropy to other nonprofits is also a significant factor. Formulating an ask amount is a two-step process: determining the prospect’s capacity to give, and analyzing the amount the prospect has given to other nonprofits.
Major Giving Defined
Major giving can vary by amount and type, depending upon the nonprofit and the need: for a smaller nonprofit, a four-figure donation might be a major gift, while larger organizations may consider six- or seven-figure checks a major donation.
Major giving can also vary by type:
1. Annual campaign, a gift given in response to an annual fund-raising campaign
2. Event sponsorship, a gift given to partially or completely sponsor an event
3. Capital campaign, a gift given to support a specific purpose or project, such as a new facility, piece of equipment or program
4. Major gift, a gift not given for the previous three reasons
5. Planned giving, a gift given prior to death (annuity-based) or after death (bequests and other gifts from an estate; can take a variety of forms)
This white paper will focus on the first four types of gifts, because the donors and the strategies for identifying them are similar. Planned giving donors, and the markers that identify them, vary greatly from other types of prospects in significant ways.
This is not to discount the value of a planned giving campaign: according to Giving USA 2015, bequests totaled $28.13 billion in 2014, or 8% of all charitable donations ($358.38 billion). Of the total amount, individuals gave 72%, foundations 15% and corporations 5%.
Stratification Among Major Givers
Nonprofit donors fall into three groups based on the amount of donations, which require three different types of engagement strategies:
Looking for donor stewardship strategies?
NonProfitEasy has put together a list of stewardship advice featuring Bill Tedesco, CEO of DonorSearch, among 28 other nonprofit experts.
Bill emphasizes the importance of engaging donors of all levels, advising that:
“Prospect research can help your front-line fundraisers identify which donors have the capacity to give a major gift and a history of past philanthropy.This will enable your development team to ensure that those major donors receive excellent stewardship to keep them engaged for years to come!”
Bulk screening is our most popular service, as it helps many nonprofits to find the major gift prospects among their masses of donors. A bulk screening can save your nonprofit valuable time that can be devoted to other fundraising efforts.
What is a Bulk Screening?
You’re a busy organization and you have lots of donors. A bulk screening allows you to submit 2,000 or more donors to DonorSearch. We will research each donor and return comprehensive reports that detail philanthropic histories, wealth markers, and other vital information.
Bulk screenings work great for:
Annual Screenings — If you only screen donors once a year, get as many comprehensive profiles as possible to maximize the amount of major gift prospects you find.
Grateful Patient Programs — New patients are continually admitted to your hospital, and you want to know who might be apt to donate in order to best allocate your fundraising efforts.
New Parent/Alumni Events — Similar to grateful patient programs, schools always have new parents who might donate, and identifying the best prospects fast allows you to focus your efforts on prospects with real potential.
Pledge Drives — Public broadcasting stations need to know which viewers are major gift prospects or else they could waste valuable amounts of their finite time seeking large gifts from the wrong prospects.
Preparation for a Major Gala — Potential donors might flock to your big event, but, unless you know who they are and whether or not they might be inclined to give, you might miss out on significant gifts.
The DonorSearch Process
Our bulk screening process is designed to return comprehensive results that cause the best prospects to rise to the top.
The difference between DonorSearch and other prospect research companies is our philosophy that philanthropists make the best prospects. If a donor has given generously to a similar nonprofit in the past, then that person is apt to give to another organization.
Screening for philanthropy first means that you no longer have to assume which prospects are most inclined to give. DonorSearch screens records against 30 unique philanthropic and wealth databases in order to return the most detailed and accurate results in the industry.
The incorporation of philanthropy histories may seem obvious, but other prospect research companies still value wealth markers first. While wealth screening can accurately identify valuable prospects, it does not predict if people are philanthropic. Philanthropy data demonstrates a previous history of giving, which separates wealthy prospects from wealthy prospects who actually donate to charitable causes. You want to allocate your finite fundraising resources to potential prospects and not just any old bloke with a large bank account. Also, without philanthropy data, you might overlook many potential major gift donors because they have less wealth than others on your list.
After a philanthropy screening, DonorSearch conducts a wealth screening. This data highlights capacities to give, affinities to donate, and asset information, such as real estate and boat ownership.
While philanthropy comes first, we value a dual approach. A wealthy prospect is more valuable if he’s philanthropic, and a philanthropic prospect is more valuable if he’s wealthy. When the two ideals converge, that’s when prospect research makes the heavy lifting of identifying your best major gift prospects feel like a walk in the park.
The quality of your data matters, and DonorSearch goes the extra mile to ensure the most accurate screening results. In-house prospect researchers spend hours manually reviewing results to eliminate extraneous time that your staff would spend doing the work themselves. A computer screening typically results in 70% accuracy, but our assessment process raises the accuracy to an industry-best 90-95% accuracy.
You can also talk to your DonorSearch representative about how to manually verify additional prospects.
Sophisticated analytics provide modeling on all donors. The modeling relates:
While DonorSearch does the heavy lifting of providing the prospect research in a comprehensible format, it’s up to you to put it to work.
Steps to effectively implement prospect research should occur before you receive your research and continue afterwards. These steps include:
Prepare a Strategy — You want to have an idea of what you’re looking for in prospect data and how you might implement such information.
Clean Up Your Data — It’s no use trying to organize new data among a mess of old or outdated information.
Develop a Solicitation Plan — Outline a comprehensive plan for how you will utilize the data and target the top major gift prospects.
Analyze Prospect Screening Results — Figure out who to target, what the best approaches will be for each prospect, and share the information among all relevant departments.
Land Major Donations — Major donations take awhile to land, so get out there and start pitching to the major gift prospects who you so dedicated yourself to finding.