This post comes from the Gravyty Fundraising Academy, a series that examines how fundraisers adapt and strategize to evolve what's possible through philanthropy.
Your guide for the Gravyty Fundraising Academy is Director of Customer Success, Lisa Alvezi. Lisa has worked with countless fundraisers across Higher Education, Health Care, and Nonprofit organizations to transform fundraising. As a former frontline fundraiser herself, her goal is to help you see better results from your fundraising efforts.
How Often Do You Wealth Screen Donors and Prospects, and Why?
Ask an organization if they do a wealth screening on new donors and if so, how often, and you’ll receive a variety of responses. For fundraisers, this can be confusing – especially because so many of us spend time at different organizations throughout our careers.
Living in an ideal world with unlimited staffing and budgetary resources, every first-time donor or prospect would be screened before the first gift is even processed. Why? Because having as much information about the first-time donor as the constituent record is set up in the database makes it easier to communicate with the donor and assign to the appropriate category for follow-up – the annual fund team, a donor relations officer, or a gift officer.
But we don’t live in this dream world. Who you screen and when is often determined by the core focus of an organization. Ever wonder how that breaks down? Here’s what we typically see from different types of nonprofits and different types of donors.
Colleges, Universities, and Independent Schools
Education institutions generally screen the parents of incoming students, but the timing varies. Some like to have the parents screened before the student arrives on campus and like to take note of legacy students and their families during orientation. Other schools wait until students have completed one semester just in case the student drops out or transfers.
Development departments work closely with other departments at the organization to build a relationship with the parents with capacity. If a student is on an athletic team or has stated a special interest affinity, the appropriate coach or faculty member will be included in the relationship building.
Healthcare Systems & Hospitals
Healthcare and hospital organizations often wealth screen all admitted patients for existing relationships with the organization and capacity ratings. After a predetermined number of days after release from the hospital, a development team member will do a stewardship follow-up with the person based on the wealth screening results.
Human and Social Service Organizations
Human and social service organizations that help with the basic needs of people (food, clothing, shelter, welfare) have seen an increase in new donors with the COVID-19 pandemic. These organizations have seen an increased need for their services, too, and are stretched very thin in terms of staff and budget resources. Screening these new donors monthly would be ideal. If a new donor shows giving capacity, the gift is still current enough that a stewardship contact with the donor 4-6 weeks after the gift is an appropriate time frame.
Wealth screening new donors to an organization can help you prioritize your strategies for donor retention and increased giving with an emphasis on donors with a great giving capacity.
Event attendees usually include invited guests of people who are already donating generously to an organization. Those people who buy a table for ten at $10,000 generally bring friends in the same socio-economic class. Most organizations wealth screen those invited guests immediately after the event and follow up appropriately based on the results. Organizations have turned to virtual events during the COVID-19 pandemic and any new attendees or auction registrants should ideally be wealth screened immediately after the event/auction.
We know that communication between the "research" and "fundraising" sides of the advancement office is often stifled by the natural roles of our jobs. However, it's always a meaningful exercise to get a glimpse of understanding into how both sides of the office work. Our amazing friends and partners at iWave work with Gravyty to remove these silos so we can innovate, improve, and meet the moment to do the best work of our fundraising lives.
If you’d like to learn more about how artificial intelligence can empower your organization to have a culture of philanthropy, personally reach new donors, and inspire giving at scale, click the button below and let's connect.