By Rich Palmer • December 21, 2016

What is Predictive Analytics — and Why Nonprofits Should Care?

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the power of your data:

...The power of predictive intelligence is not the model, it isn't the algorithms or the patterns we discover. It's about what you do with it. It's how you take the insights we learn and act on it. It's fundamentally about asking and answering your strategic questions...

I want to take this a step further today to go a little deeper on what this means in the context of predictive intelligence and why we all — yes, even non-profits — should care.

What Is Predictive Intelligence?

We throw around a lot of terms here at Gravyty — predictive analytics and predicitive intelligence almost interchangeably. Going forward, we'll use "predictive intelligence" to encompass all of what Gravyty provides its users. We like the way Salesforce defines this:

"A method of delivering experiences unique to each individual. It enables marketers to observe customer behavior, and with every action taken, build a profile of customer preferences."

Predictive intelligence gives you the tools to build stronger relationships with your "customers", i.e. donors. This goes beyond knowing your donors. First, it ensures you know everything there is to uncover about your donors and the data hidden within your organization (e.g. CRM, marketing tools, events). Secondly, it helps by automating the steps necessary to put this knowledge into action for your cause.

Why Does My Non-Profit Need This?

If your organization functions entirely, or relies in part, on donations and individual contributions, your ability to build relationships with those donors hinges on your ability to serve up relevant content.

Consider that you already do this. Think back to a recent conversation you had with a donor prospect. How did it go? You probably knew a little bit about the person before you began and quickly used that to seed your first question to them. Something like, "Thank you for your rather generous contribution last year. I noticed it was your first time giving to us. How were you first introduced to us?" Already you are learning more. And based on their response, you determine what information they may find interesting or useful and the conversation advances.

Your ability to listen to them, interpret their needs, and offer appropriate solutions in real-time is what makes you successful.

What can make this significant is when you consider that not everyone is engaging with you when it comes to your organization. It may be your website or callers or other volunteers. And how many one-on-one conversations are you going to have this year? If you have a donor database thousands long, you can bet there are many who will not have your personal touch. That's where your data and predictive intelligence can spot the right people and strengthen those relationships.

Another way we can use predictive analytics is in better moves management. Much of what we think of first is finding your next donor, but your "sales team" (i.e. gift officers and frontline fundraisers) needs this same help. A piece from 6sense summarizes this up nicely:

"With the high cost of telemarketing and inside sales teams, working dead-end leads negatively effects your ability to generate pipeline, increases your average customer acquisition cost and hurts the bottom line. Ensuring that your sales team focuses its efforts on in-market accounts is integral to improving their capacity management and effectiveness in turning inbound interest into closed business."

Recall a trip you planned to meet with a particular donor or donor prospect. Along the way, you may have booked other appointments during your stay. I have yet to come across a fundraiser who had never agreed to an appointment knowing full-well the likelihood of a donation was small. Predictive intelligence can assist in improving those odds by pointing towards more promising leads and give you insights once you've landed the meeting.

Ready To Put Your Data To Work?

Up to this point, we've outlined how predictive intelligence can significantly improve your efforts by:

  • Deepening relationships by serving relevant content in real-time
  • Becoming more efficient by prioritizing the most promising prospects

Are you ready to learn more and see for yourself how this can work for you and your team? Contact us today.