Tag Archives: segmentation

Case study – planned giving prospecting

Perusing the Prospect-DMM recently, I spotted an entry from Michael Pawlus of Grand Valley State University.  He generously shared his presentation slides from the APRA International conference in New Orleans.

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He steps you through a scenario of how to build a segmentation score for planned giving donors if you don’t have the resources or time to invest in extensive modeling.  His method encourages us to first look to our own intuition and check to see if our assumptions are true. What a great approach!

While it’s impossible to receive the full impact of Michael’s presentation just by reading his slides, his underlying messages are clear and easy to understand.  Click on the slide image to open the deck.

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Case study – Harvey Mudd College’s prospect scoring formula

Posted recently to the Prspct-L and LinkedIn, Harvey Mudd College has shared their formula for assigning scores to constituents that help with filtering and selection when attempting to narrow down a pool of candidates.

HarveyMuddCollege

Click the image above to read the full article.

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The value of information – Lifetime Value

I read a Harvard Business Review article recently that cited a glaring omission in the nature of our traditional accounting systems. Our accounting practices focus on revenue, inventory, and assets, but assign no value, not even a mention, to information.  For businesses that heavily leverage information to succeed, that can be a big problem, and here’s why:  when no value is assigned to information, the costs associated with managing, stewarding and upgrading information become a low priority.  There’s no way to incorporate financial gains to an ROI calculation.

 

So what to do?

 

Well, here’s an idea, we could start citing constituent value in our activity reports, status reports and project reports.  And that starts with being able to assign constituent value.  One way to do that is by computing lifetime value.  KISSmetrics offers a great how-to for understanding and calculating lifetime value (click on the image below to view the full discussion).

LTV

 

Lifetime value, combined with other segmentation variables, such as membership in more than 1 constituency class, giving capacity, probability or recent interaction can help the emerging development of quantifiable information.

 

If you have an example you’d like to share, please let me know!

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How to research giving capacity

Recently I stumbled upon this great whitepaper from the awesome folks at QuadWrangle that covers a lot of basic how-to information for assessing giving capacity.  And one of the best parts about the white paper is they take a low cost point of view.

Here’s what I mean–

quadwrangle

This is a great breakdown of go-to resources for any prospect research team member.

 

I have to admit I did not happen to agree with the author’s mention of social affinity and consumer marketing data as a valuable resource for wealth computation.  But this is an equal opportunity forum, so if my opinion is way off base, just tell me why you disagree.

 

To download the white paper click on the image above.

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5 great ideas for advancement services

A fair number of blog posts here are about data analysis and data fluency.  If you don’t know me well, you might think my job is all about analyzing tons of data.  But that’s far from the truth.  I spend more than half my time on prospect research basics – verifying addresses, names, phone numbers, relationships, age and publicly recorded assets.

That’s why this article caught my attention.  Chris Hughes, with Ruffalo Noel Levitz, assembled a top-5 list of investments for organizations moving toward the end of our fiscal year (for those of us on the academic calendar).

 

 

1.  Number one on his list is good old basic research and data enrichment.  My favorite.  How many of your donors in the last 6-to-12 months are in your system without a good address?  Probably more than you think.  Check it out!  Make sure you can contact your recent donors.  Don’t assume the national COA is going to keep your file up to date.  If you have too many constituents to look up, then segment by lifetime value, last gift amount, or wealth tier and start there.

 

2.  Second on the list is analytics.  This doesn’t have to mean complicated modeling.  In fact more than likely, all of us could benefit from knowing more about our donors.  What is their age distribution?  Where do they live?  How many have more than one valid contact method listed in your system?  How many fall into more than 1 segment (like alumni, patient, member or ticket subscriber)?

 

He rounds out the top-5 list with 3 additional worthy ideas, so click on the image above to read the full article.

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Consider a survey

It’s a given that I’m a fan of data.  Precise indicators that give the ability to establish baseline counts and segments.  However, in our world we’re often left to make assumptions about whether the numerals have consistent meaning from constituent to constituent.  Nothing can replace the rich information we’re able to gather when speaking directly with a constituent.  And surveys are a perfect method to engage and inquire, in a very specific way.

NYTimesquote

 

The quote above is from a New York Times article by Tim Lahan.  He describes how too often we look at big data (such as email clicks, social media likes, etc.) as insightful when true insight can only be gleaned by placing the clicking behavior in context of the user experience.

So instead of assuming that our constituents feel more connected to us as a result of mailing out a big report or sending a video, why not ask?  The information could be used to start forming content preference models and we could spend our communications budget delivering content that resonates with the recipients.

Click on the quote above to read Mr. Lahan’s article.

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Case study: Analytics ROI at Michigan State University

I received an invitation from TechTarget to read a white paper the other day and the topic drew me in right away.  Text mining, predictive analytics, higher education development, affinity scoring and ROI.

MSU_ROI

The project that MSU started in 2012 involved reducing the time cycle to deliver constituent insights to the major gift and annual giving fundraising teams.  They implemented more rigor around their processes for conducting text analysis and leveraging these insights for predictive analytics.  Now they compute affinity scores each night and push the results to a business intelligence (dashboard) platform that their fundraising colleagues use to select and segment constituents for next-step engagement strategies.

Seriously?  How awesome does that sound!

Click on the ROI figure above to read the white paper.

 

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Bookmark this – Geomancer

Introducing Geomancer – a free and easy way to append publicly available demographic information to your excel spreadsheet by matching to your City, State or Zipcode columns.

 

Seriously, in less than 1 minute I went from this (very generic test file)

geomancer_before

to this enhanced file – I chose the 3 appended columns from the options available based on City & State in my original sheet.

geomancer_after

 

 

Just to be sure, I tried it again with zipcode matching.  Here’s the before–

geomancer_before2

and the after!

geomancer_after2

 

Seriously, 1 minute.  Easy and free.  What’s not to love?

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Bookmark this – constituent scoring methodology

We’re familiar with the basic RFM score.  There’s the blackjack score.  But the other day I stumbled across a Salsa scoring case study.

 

While Salsa has a particular focus on email delivery and online calls-to-action, the overarching methodology is impressive.  Here’s how it works:  first it defines groups of variables that can receive a numeric score for demonstrated constituent involvement.  Then it identifies a timeframe for each.  The algorithm degrades score value by half after the timeframe expires.  In this way, the most recently interacting constituents have higher scores than constituents whose interaction has lapsed.

 

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The case study outlines the scoring variables for email opens/clicks, donations, and other non-monetary participation actions.  It’s genius!  Click the image above to read the full case study.

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Strategic Phonathons

Are phonathons still relevant?  Maybe another way to ask the same question is to inquire whether communication is still relevant?

I received a call from a young graduate working in the call center at my alumni organization last week.  Let’s preface this by saying that I’m not an engaged alumna and in the million years since graduating, I’ve made just 1 gift.  Not the best prospect when evaluating the flat facts.

 

But I get this call from Hillary and I  love talking to her.  Never mind that she didn’t know what I meant when I asked her to mark my name “do not exchange.”  Obviously they need a little training in their call center.  But still, when the conversation got around to asking if I’d be interested in making a gift, I already had my credit card out.

 

Communications experts will say there’s a much better way to spend your money on personal touches like this and it involves our old friend segmentation.  Here’s some recent insight regarding call center results around particular segments when called prior to the NCAA Basketball tournament versus after the tournament was under way.

RuffCody_marchmadness

 

Ruffalo Cody compiled results of telephone outreach efforts for a variety of donor/constituent segments at 22 schools involved in the 2014 NCAA tournament last year and is kindly sharing their insight.  Click on the image above to read the results!

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