While driving home from Apra Prospect Development, I listened to this TED talk. The article brought my mind back to some work I’m doing on estimating the number of gift officers needed to meet a campaign goal. For analytics projects like this, I use the traditional prospect count – 150. However, I have wondered if that portfolio size is just an inherited paradigm. The TED podcast gave some insight by introducing me to Dunbar’s Number.
I have recently returned from an AFP Central New York luncheon, hearing a talk given by Bill Abrams (of Infinize), and my mind can’t stop spinning about what Bill said. Let me share with you a boiled down version of his message:
I interrupted Bill’s presentation to ask, “So, where will organizations’ major gifts prospects come from, then?” Bill answered that my local auto mechanic is much more likely to have as much income and wealth in the future as my banker does now – the Millionaire Next Door idea but cranked up several hundred RPMs.
And that’s when I started trembling, because now the number of prospects that my clients need to cultivate through personalized, special attention has gone from the top 5% of their constituency to – well – everyone. And I imagined major gifts programs melting down into a huge, stratified, boundless annual giving program.
This article shares my subsequent research along with some of Bill’s ideas to illustrate where this vision comes from.
This blog appeared in the APRA Upstate New York newsletter in the fall of 2009.
As fundraisers, we focus our resources on major gifts prospects. However, with Big Data bringing out a lot more information from social networking, we now see the value of using modeling and mining tools to help annual giving, membership, and events programs. Our recent conversations have centered on engagement – a rather nebulous term we use to try to understand what our donors feel about us before they give for the first time.
This blog post explores using a popular measure, RFM (explained below), as a modeling tool. There is some debate about its use in modeling major gifts, and so I share my thoughts here. If you have used RFM to measure your prospect giving behaviors, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.