Start 2022 on the Direct Path to the Year’s Big Gifts. Here’s a Five-Step Plan.

It’s a new year, and time to kick off your big 2022 fundraising plans!   Before you start calling and emailing to set up all those face-to-face (or virtual) donor visits, are you sure you’ll actually be able to reach the names on your list? AND, are you sure you’ve got the prospects with the most potential on your list?

Without a list of qualified prospects and a way to reach them, your 2022 fundraising efforts will get a slow start.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!  

BEFORE you pick up the phone or hit ‘send’ is the perfect time to test the strength of your data–and your portfolio–and fill in any gaps.

A Five-Step Plan to Start You on the Path to THIS YEAR’S Big Gifts

1. Do an inventory of your contact information.

Determine how contact-able your constituent base is by going into your CRM and counting things like:

  • % of ‘active’ constituents with a mailable address
  • % of board members and/or top prospects with accurate and complete information.*
  • % of ‘active’ constituents with email addresses
  • % of ‘active’ constituents with working phone numbers
  • % of records that are not duplicates

*When you have thousands of names to work with, your priority should be to ensure accurate and complete information on prospects and VIPs.

Caption:  Use this worksheet for your data inventory
Use this scoring sheet and the grading scale below measure the health of your data.

Source: An Executive’s Guide to Fundraising Operations, Cannon, C.

2. Fill in the gaps.

If you scored low on the data elements you care about–like email address, phone number and mailing address–take steps to fill in the gaps.  The easiest route is an ‘append’ of the data points you’re concerned about. We recommend you combine an NCOA (National Change of Address)** append with an append of the specific data element(s) you need to update.

**NCOA will analyze the names and addresses in your list and provide an updated–and appropriately formatted–address where a change of address has been submitted to USPS®. You get the corrected address in a file that can be imported into your CRM.

Which are the most important data elements to append?  They’re the ones that get you in touch with your prospects–like email, postal address, and phone number.

3. Manage your expectations.

Our nation is on the move. Most data is self-reported.  That means NO append service will be 100% complete or 100% accurate.  But you’ll be better off for having done it.

4. Do a prospect propensity data inventory of the prospects in your major gift portfolio.

This inventory of prospect data and ratings should tell you:

  • Which prospects in your portfolio have the capacity and affinity to make a major gift to your cause, and
  • If you have enough prospects in your portfolio to make your fundraising goal. (RULE OF THUMB: You should have 3-4 prospects for every gift needed).

To do this inventory, you will first need to search your CRM to determine IF:

  • The CRM has a specific screen or module that has fields for prospect information like:
    • Wealth:  Assets (real estate, stock); net worth estimates, 
    • Philanthropy: Amounts and recipient names, nonprofit cause categories.
    • Ratings: RFM/loyalty scores, major and annual gift capacity, likelihood scores.
  • Your organization has screened your donor base.  If so, how recently?  For screening results to be viable, they should be no more than three years old.

5. Screen your donor base.

If your prospect information is incomplete, outdated, or you just need more high-capacity, high-interest prospects in your portfolio, do a batch screening. This way, you’ll have current capacity and inclination information, all at once–and all in one place.

 Get ready to hit the ground running in the new year!


DonorSearch Ai has harnessed the processing power of artificial intelligence to provide you with highly predictive giving likelihood scores. So you can see who will give in the next 12 months, and more.  Want to learn more about it? Click Get a Demo below.


Additional Resources

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