Major Donor Moves Management is Like a Game of Chess

Major Donor Moves Management is Like a Game of Chess

The key to success in major donor moves management is the same as a game of chess. The victor is most often the player with the thought out plan of attack, not the one that uses random tactics and haphazard moves. Each move sets up the next move in a coordinated approach to victory. And that is the secret to successful moves management. Each “move” or cultivation activity is designed to get you to the next move. Just putting a major donor or a major donor prospect into a series of high touch communications in the hopes of obtaining a large gift someday is not moves management. Each major donor or qualified major donor prospect should have his/her own coordinated approach that leaves the donor prime for the solicitation. And with each activity, the goal is to set up the next move. For example, for a client that Analytical Ones is currently providing major donor consulting services to, we have identified several donors that have the potential for larger gifts. Since the nonprofit is in the process of developing a 3 year strategic plan, we are going to use the opportunity to engage our prospects in the planning process. But that move is not taken until our second and third cultivation activities have been identified and developed. And while obtaining feedback from these prospects is the objective of the initial conversation, the goal is to secure the second move. And that second move will be different for each prospect/donor depending on their current engagement level with the organization. One donor may be invited to lunch with the Chairman of the Board,...
Did you hear the one about the analyst and the super model?

Did you hear the one about the analyst and the super model?

As analysts, it is our job to not only make our clients look smart, but to also make sure we are looking smartly at the data. From the inception of a project, we examine and re-examine the logic of our research plan and variables. This is important because there are many classical misuses of statistics to watch out for. In this blog, we talk about a one such misuse, data dredging. Big data, big insights? Sure, if used correctly. However, over-fitting a model on an excess of variables can lead to false findings. This process is called data dredging. You will sometimes hear analysts talk about confidence intervals, most often a 95% confidence interval. What this means is that there is a 95% chance that the research finding is not due to random chance. There is a flipside to this coin however. There remains a 5% chance of finding a relationship between any two completely unrelated variables. This is more likely to become a problem with big data sets with too many variables because a larger number of pairs increases the odds of finding a spurious (bogus) but apparently statistically significant result. In other words, if you give me enough unrelated variables I could discover a bizarre relationship such as “prospects born in September who prefer pepper jack cheese on their roast beef sub are 5% more likely to respond to your acquisition package.” Seriously… I could do that. But, it probably wouldn’t be helpful and it most likely a false relationship. How then do we ever know then when the results of a model we build are valid...
The Beauty of Small Data

The Beauty of Small Data

Is CRM the nonprofit solution? Everyone is talking about nonprofit organizations needing to buy CRM systems so they can be just like the Obama campaign and mine BIG data to make huge breakthroughs. But I am not so sure. I hesitate to sound like the great Jeff Brooks’ Future of Fundraising Now blog and criticize anything new in fundraising, but . . . The aging promise of CRM has always been making insights from your data easy. But I have yet to see it. Rather than being a user friendly tool for nonprofits, CRM becomes the angry tyrant that everyone must satisfy. Much more time and resources are spent on the multi-step data processes then on mining the data for actionable insights. And that’s just not right. For now, I could not recommend moving forward with CRM. Rather than spending all that money on a data system, invest into some analysts to mine the data you already have. Your ROI on investing in analysts over infrastructure will be far, far...
Donor Surveys – Do it Yourself or Hire a Professional?

Donor Surveys – Do it Yourself or Hire a Professional?

Just because tools like Survey Monkey exist now making administering surveys available to the masses, it doesn’t mean that anyone can conduct primary research and provide meaningful results to your organization. Surveys can engage donors and volunteers, and provide valuable insights in order to develop and implement fundraising and marketing strategies. But without the skilled expertise of an analyst guiding the process and analyzing results you may just end up with survey results that lead you in the wrong direction. According to Joe Churpek, our primary research expert at Analytical Ones, here are three common missteps when those without analytical expertise administer surveys: 1) Survey questions resulting in biases or misinformation. For example, a question like “Do you think our online donation process is quick and convenient?” This is a double-barreled question. Quick and convenient are two different concepts and a donor might think your online donation process is convenient but it may be as slow as molasses. 2) A survey sample not reflective of the population you want to measure. For example, you will want to consider if you are conducting an online donor survey, are the donors that you have email addresses for an accurate reflection of your typical donor say in age and income? 3) Incorrect analysis of the survey results. For example, applying the survey responders results to the non-survey responders. Perhaps you are trying to gain donor insights but the majority of the donors that responded to your survey haven’t actually made a gift to your organization in 24 months. You would not want to apply a lapsed donors response to a non-responder active...