by Lee Ernst
You’ve almost undoubtedly heard something along the lines of Benjamin Franklin’s “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” philosophy, and when it comes to working with donors, it’s no different.
Wealth screening is a great tool to use when planning for a campaign. It can help provide guidance on which individuals to focus your efforts on based on ratings assigned from data sources.
There are several wealth screening services available and finding the right one for you takes a little research and investigation. Each uses slightly different logic, knowledge sources and values. But, the point is the value in having a resource like this.
Let’s take a look at the specific advantages this information provides when planning a campaign:
- Helping you segment your market and focus your efforts. Some donors with potential will need more attention; others can be engaged via mass efforts. Given limited resources, screenings help you use yours in the best way.
- Finding out about the other causes important to your prospects and donors. Are they trustees at a hospital? Do they sit on the board of their alma mater?
- Learning if someone is a planned giving prospect. As many of us know, planned giving donors don’t always fit the classic “major gift donor” profile. Wealth screenings also show property holdings which can play a part in the planned giving conversation.
- Providing background for solicitations. Results from electronic screening can help assure campaign volunteer solicitors that a “recommended ask” is based upon some quantifiable research. It’s a nice way to blend intuitive thoughts with more black and white data.
- Early solicitation planning. Screening during the quiet phase of early campaign planning helps to focus and initiate solicitation planning. (Another round of screenings later in the campaign is often helpful but initially, a first screening helps to put together a first list of prospects.)
- Feasibility study interview preparation. Screening as you are preparing for a feasibility study can provide helpful background on persons being considered for feasibility study interviews.
Now here’s the grain of salt. This is all public data. With that there is an inherent possibility of some incorrect or limited information – so you may well get only a partial picture of a person’s wealth. Manage your expectations and realize that not every rating will be perfectly accurate.
When you start making connections and having real conversations you’ll be able to couple the public data with the real and emotional data you discover along the way and move into relationship building. And the efforts of you and your volunteers will be focused on those who can make early and big differences to your campaign. Enjoy your screening!