Wisdom Wednesdays: The Importance of Lead Gift Prospects — Recent study highlights potential of focusing on top prospects

by Kris Kindelsperger

The recent results from the 2012 Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, an ongoing partnership with the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, reinforced what many organizations have experienced in their campaigns in recent years.

The study examined a population of individuals that had a net worth of $1 million or more (excluding the value of their home) and/or an annual household income of $200,000 or more.

It is not surprising that this group is capable of making significant gifts.  What is interesting is how much influence they have on philanthropy.  Roughly half of all the gifts made by individuals in 2011 was given by the wealthiest 3 percent of American households.

All Americans are generous, but high net worth individuals are even more so — 95 percent of the top 3 percent supported charitable organizations versus 65 percent of the general population.  More important is the finding that those in the top 1 percent gave three times more than their counterparts in percentiles two and three.

So, the 80/20 rule is clearly passé.  The reality is that a handful of very large gifts may determine the overall success of your campaign.

Want to learn more about how to put these high net worth donors to work for your institution?  Join us in Indianapolis this February at the 2013 ALDE International Educational Conference as Cassidy K. Titcomb, Assistant Vice President for Development, Augsburg College, and I discuss, “Readying Your Lead Gift Prospects for a Campaign!”

Cassidy and I will share proven techniques for identifying significant prospects within your donor pool, as well as tools to rate, screen and track major gift prospects leading up to a comprehensive campaign.  You will also learn valuable lessons on effectively managing your president, campaign chair, staff and other strategic partners to help build relationships and ensure you secure these high-impact gifts.

Learning techniques to strategically manage those high net worth prospects who have this level of capacity is a crucial step toward ensuring a successful campaign.  As the Bank of America Study demonstrates, managed correctly, the time you spend with these individuals will pay dividends.

Kris Kindelsperger is Senior Executive Consultant with Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates of Greenwood, Ind.

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Wisdom Wednesdays: What’s in Your Map?

by Jon Nelson

Seeing a map of where your constituents, members, students or other stakeholders are located can be incredibly illustrative and enlightening.  After the election madness, your eyes may glaze over, or you may start getting shortness of breath at the mention of yet another map, but stick with me.  This is worth it.

We certainly have recognized how maps could be useful for ALDE, but had trouble finding an effective, low cost, in house solution.  After much searching and banging of the head against monitors/walls I finally found something that works great (for FREE!).  It’s unpretentious without being too simple.  It’s powerful while remaining intuitive.  The winner is BatchGeo.

All you need to do is copy and paste address columns from a spreadsheet (I exported an Excel file from our database), click Map Now, tell BatchGeo what the columns mean (if it hasn’t already figured them out) and wait for it to create the map (view the full Excel instructions).

Nelson-Jon-webThe wait can be awhile — for a bigger list it might take 15 minutes.  But it’s free, and the results are decidedly worth the wait.  You can zoom out to see general concentrations of constituents.  Zoom in and get a more detailed view of who’s where.  It also allows you to save maps as a link for sharing with coworkers and to edit later.  You can additionally keep these maps private, which is an important feature (their high security is explained here).

There are many advanced features, as well.  These include color coding data points based on certain parameters and what they call “sales mapping” — but the uses of that for donor tracking are readily apparent.

What can a map made through BatchGeo tell you?  The possibilities can go as far as your creativity (this being a map post, I was going to say something about the potential going to the ends of the earth, but decided to spare you — you’re welcome!).  One idea involves understanding which areas may be underserved or untapped.  For example, if you have many students or congregation members from the northeast side of town, but far fewer from the just as close southwest section, why is that?  If you have plenty of donors from an area of the state or province that is known to be relatively middle class, but you’re missing out on a section that has decidedly greater capacity to give, why is that?  What can you do to better reach those people?

Getting a geographic view of your organization can provide a clearer picture of the outfit, where it is and where it can go.  Even if you don’t have a specific result in mind, the best thing to do with these maps can be to just make one, and then see what it tells you.  That’s the beauty of this sort of analysis – you might not know what you’re looking for, but once you find it, it can give you a whole new outlook and direction.

The (FREE!) tools are out there.  Use them!

Jon Nelson, of Beloit, Wis., is Associate Director for Communication Services with ALDE.  He is also Principal of Nelson Business Communications, LLC.