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Analyzing prospect research without donor ratings is like getting stuck in traffic. Eventually, you’ll get where you need to be, but it doesn’t have to take so long. With DonorSearch’s ratings system, identify top prospects fast to move forward with your fundraising.

How Does DonorSearch Score Prospects?

DonorSearch uses three rating systems to turn volumes of prospect data into intelligible identifiers. Our two unique scores are presented first, followed by a third universal scoring system:

DS Rating — This proprietary scoring system provides a ranking of a prospect’s ability and propensity to make major donations. These scores range from as low as DS3 to as high as DS1-1, and account for a wide array of information, such as wealth markers, real estate holdings, and philanthropic history, in order to deliver a quality indicator of potential giving.

Quality Score — Quality score is a confidence level that wealth and philanthropy records have been correctly matched to a prospect’s name and address. This is a threshold indicator, and any score above 17 equates to a high level of confidence. Common names, such as Michael Williams, can affect quality scores, as lots of people have these names, so it can be challenging to ensure that the records are correct. To ensure a consistent level of quality, we will manually review 100 prospects out of every bulk screening – if you want to learn more please contact a DonorSearch representative.

RFM Total — This universal rating system provides an internal analysis of the relationship you have with each of your prospects, which is a fancy way of saying that RFM measures existing donor loyalty. RFM includes how RECENTLY the prospect donated, how FREQUENTLY the prospect gives, and the total amount of MONEY given. Each category is scored on a 100-point scale for a total score out of 300. 300 is the highest rating and indicates the greatest likelihood of donating.

Where Can I Find the Ratings on my Screening Results?

Donor Search Ratings Spreadsheet

The gold color is the distinctive mark of the DS Rating System in your screening results, the ‘Overall’ column is the prospect’s quality score, and RFM Total is labeled as such.

Why Did We Create Our Ratings?

You could lose a lot of time analyzing prospect research. DonorSearch’s proprietary ratings make it simple for researchers to identify high-quality prospects.

DS Ratings differentiate between ‘wealthy’ prospects and ‘wealthy + likely to give’ prospects by incorporating philanthropic history into the equation, alongside traditional wealth markers. This means that your donors are rated according to their capacities to give, as well as their affinities for charitable giving. Prospects with money are not as beneficial as prospects with money who want to donate.

DS Ratings Explained

From highest to lowest likelihood to give:

  1. 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.
  2. 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, and Market Guide Executives.
  3. 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.
  4. DS1-4 — Exact matches to LexisNexis real estate holdings of $500,000-$1 million.
  5. DS1-5 — Exact/very likely matches to individuals giving elsewhere, but at levels less than $5,000.
  6. DS2 — Possible/unconfirmed matches to key databases including foundation trustees, SEC Insiders, Market Guide executives, and business executives.
  7. DS3 — No noteworthy matches to giving history or wealth indicators.

How to Use the Ratings

Sorting prospects is as easy as clicking your desired category. For example, click the DS Rating box to bring your top-rated donors to the top of your list. Don’t you love it when the things you want just come to you?

Higher DS ratings hold significant fundraising importance, according to our research:

  • DS1-1 donors were over 15 times more likely to donate than the average individual.
  • DS1-2 donors were over 5 times more likely to donate than the average individual.
  • DS1-3 donors were over 2 times more likely to donate than the average individual.

The drop off from DS1-1 to DS1-2 is significant, and the numbers only get lower after DS1-3. Donors with ratings below DS1-1 are still worth your time and effort, but DS1-1 donors are so statistically relevant that you want to give them the most attention. DS ratings make finding them simple.

DS ratings work best when combined with your existing donor knowledge. It’s one thing to know which prospects to pursue, and quite another to know how much money to ask for, what types of gifts to request, and if the donors have family or business connections worth pursuing. DS ratings conglomerate your data into a comprehensible number, but you want to pay attention to the details of the research in order to both best tailor your pitches.

DS Ratings are our unique, proprietary scoring system, and a great predictor of major gift donors, but the best approach is to look at DS Ratings, RFM totals, and quality scores together. Good results work best when they’re both quality assured and backed by other relevant markers. A good DS rating means more when it’s of sufficient quality and accompanied by a high RFM total.

Are you new to DonorSearch? Want to learn more about how to use your data? Schedule a demo with DonorSearch.

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