- How screening for arts and cultural nonprofits is different
- Who arts and cultural nonprofits should screen
- How arts and cultural nonprofits should preform prospect research
- When arts and cultural nonprofit should screen prospects
- Single-ticket purchasers
- Special event attendees
- Consistent donors
MembersA unique aspect of museums, aquariums, theaters, and other arts and cultural organizations is that they offer memberships. While memberships might demonstrate a sincere loyalty to an organization, they also may represent economical financial decisions more so than a desire to invest in an organization. For instance, take Gertrude, who attends her local art museum for the first time and discovers that a single day ticket costs $10, while a year-long membership costs $35. Gertrude decides that, between her friends, family, and personal interest in art, she’ll visit at least four times throughout the year, so she purchases a year-long membership. Gertrude becomes a member because she is trying to save money, and not because she wants to contribute more than required to the art museum. Membership is best looked upon as an indicator of association with your organization, but not a guarantee that people want to donate. Arts and cultural organizations should disregard membership participants completely, however. Going back to our example, if Gertrude continues to renew her membership year after year, this could be an indicator that she is interested in supporting your organization. Keeping a record of your organization’s members can offer insights into which donors are likely opting into the program to save money or because they want to support your cause. Whether you’re a museum, theater, or zoo, your members can play a vital role in your fundraising plan (just check out what this guide from Doubleknot has to say!). Keep in mind: most major donations to arts and cultural nonprofits do come from members, so, while membership is not a tell-all detail, it is something to pay close attention to.
Single Ticket PurchasersArts and cultural organizations also have consistent influxes of single-ticket purchasers. Like memberships, single-ticket purchases don’t indicate any particular affinity for your nonprofit, but they do demonstrate engagement and permit you to open up the conversation about donating.
Special Event AttendeesSpecial event attendees have a lot of potential to become major gift prospects since galas, museum dinners, and similar events include pricey entrance fees and attract the intelligent elite, who tend to have money to spare. However, never assume any prospect is or is not a major gift donor without conducting prospect research, as you might miss out on significant donations. Not only is prospect research a best practice for any fundraising campaign, but it can unearth hidden details about consistent donors.
Consistent DonorsConsistent donors, who tend to be members, are your prime major gift prospects, as they already give and engage with your nonprofit on a regular basis. A proper wealth and philanthropy screening can unearth previously unforeseen major gift potential among these loyal donors. This allows you to ramp up your gift cultivation from their normal amount to a more significant gift that can improve your nonprofit’s fortunes. Most prospect research companies favor wealth data over philanthropic histories, but that’s an ineffective approach. It’s no coincidence that consistent donors are your most apt prospects to convert into major gift donors. Previous charitable giving is the best indicator of future giving, and that’s why DonorSearch prioritizes philanthropy data over wealth screening. That said, DonorSearch does incorporate wealth screening, because a complete picture of a donor is the only portrait worth having. An affinity for a particular organization matters more when a prospect has a history of charitable giving, which matters more when that prospect’s capacity to give equates to being a potential major gift donor. Prospect research brings all of this information and more together in a comprehensive, comprehensible format. To get the most out of a screening, sort through your preexisting contacts from the above affiliation categories. You can screen everyone, or you can screen folks who demonstrate known indicators of major giving. The goal of employing a prospect research company is two-fold: Save time and attain more information that’s more accurate. Weed out fruitless prospects, so you’re not spending money to screen prospects who you could have figured out yourself were not inclined to give significant donations. Some criteria to think about when selecting who to screen:
- Members versus single ticket purchasers
- Demographic information
- Donation history
New to prospect research? Want to learn how a marriage between philanthropy screening and wealth data can lead to better major gift prospects? Sign up for a free demo today.