Optimizing Your Fundraising Campaigns with Predictability
Fundraisers’ work is rapidly changing, expanding, and evolving but your teams, resources, and budget aren’t necessarily growing. What do you need to do to adapt to the future? Read on and download the full Future of Fundraising eBook to learn more.
Why Predictability Matters: The Big Donor Demographic Shift
One of the biggest changes and biggest opportunities happening right now in fundraising is the big demographic shift. For most nonprofits, your largest and most generous group of donors — Baby Boomers and some Greatest Generation members — are exiting their prime giving years as Gen X is entering theirs, with Millennials close behind. The Gen X cohort is smaller than the Baby Boomer cohort, meaning development teams will need to fundraise the same amount or more from a smaller pool of donors.
This means right now, fundraisers need to focus on retention, increasing donor value, and engaging supporters across more complex paths of engagement—sort of like guiding them away from a linear “ladder of engagement” and toward a multi-path “jungle gym of engagement.” Because donor pool demographics are changing and donor engagement is becoming more sophisticated, fundraising will now need to focus on retention and increasing donor value while keeping donors engaged along the unique paths that are right for them. That means the first key area where fundraising must change is optimizing your donors’ journeys with predictability.
Optimizing Donor Journeys with Predictability
Fundraisers need data they can act on to help them identify who is ready to give, when those supporters will be ready to make a commitment, and where to make your ask. The future of effective fundraising will rely on taking existing models and segmentation practices—which fundraisers have historically used successfully—to the next level with predictive analytics technology. The result? More targeted data, more accurate supporter scoring, and more funds raised for your mission.
Most nonprofits are already in the business of doing manual predictions – you likely use the data available (such as HPC and MRC) to predict what a donor might give in the future, for instance. With AI and machine learning-powered predictive analytics solutions, nonprofits now have the ability to analyze huge amounts of donor data and produce highly optimized predictions and recommendations for effective donor outreach. The time factor is a differentiator here: by feeding scores and behavioral data into algorithms, we can predict not only what supporters are likely to do next, but when they are likely to do it.
These predictions are even more reliable when you’re operating in a unified or highly-integrated system: when you can know a supporter in their full glory, your system is documenting every step they take in support of your mission, which then feeds into your predictive analytics to improve your fundraising strategy’s accuracy.
Not only do fundraisers need predictive analytics to access that information, but they need access to predictive information that updates in real time. In the past, fundraisers would send their donor files out to get scored once or twice a year, or maybe even quarterly. In the future, fundraisers will need donor scores that are accurate every day.
Daily scoring means that your donor data will be more up to date—and therefore more actionable—much more often. Fundraisers can use that information not just to say, “Susan Smith is likely to become a sustainer,” but actually, “Susan Smith is likely to become a sustainer right now, so we need to reach out to her.” The main outcome from changing the way you use predictive analytics is that fundraisers will be able to use more accurate data to send more targeted messages—and the way you’ll successfully send those messages is with automation.