Lifetime Value, Single Gift, and Movement: A Review of Dependent Variables in Giving
Most data mining and donor modeling projects include one dependent variable compared to several independent variables. Let’s review these concepts briefly before we get into the meat of this article.
Dependent Variables In Action
In data mining, we frequently choose the dependent variable that is easiest to acquire from our primary databases. Most often, we start with the prospect’s lifetime giving (I admit that I teach that as well). However, we want to be careful when thinking about which giving variable is going to actually answer the question we have, and we have to make the best choice among all of our giving values, including single gifts and totals, to get the information that we need to make strategic decisions. Let’s take a look at some of these and how we might use them in visualizations, modeling, and mining.