The success of your nonprofit organization depends on the generosity of donors. They are your most important assets. How much do you know about these people, both as individuals and as groups?
Creating a donor database and building profiles help you personalize your outreach, deepening the relationships you need to retain and growing donors and their giving. Donor databases capture all meaningful information about donors and the relationships you have with them, and are necessary for creating donor profiles. Once you have your donor database set up, here are some guidelines for building the profiles.
The only way you can build donor profiles is by gathering information about your supporters, and the more you know about them, the more you’ll know how to influence them. This data breaks down into three main categories: Basic Info, Networks, and Giving Capacity.
Building donor profiles starts with having basic information about them. You already likely have this in a database. It includes their name, email, physical address, contact information, employer, and any other identifying details you collect that help you group donors for profiling.
As you build donor profiles, you’ll find patterns in their relationships. When you find ways to insert yourself deeper into these relationships, you further connect with donor networking.
Don’t misconstrue this part of donor profiling; it’s not all about finding rich people. Some of your donors may have annual incomes barely above the poverty line. Building this portion of a donor profile is all about understanding how much they can give.
But let’s say as you look for information in this area, you come across donors who really are wealthy. In that case, if you want to know whether they can make a major gift to your organization, you can determine this by looking at wealth markers by conducting some prospect research.
Knowing the answers to questions like these will help you understand donor-giving capacity. The information is freely available from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
If you’re new to donor profiles, be sure to read our introduction to donor profiles to make sure you collect the right information that will help you raise more money, Collecting this information might seem as if you’re intruding on the private lives of people. It’s important to remember that the data you collect will be used to find ways to make it more inviting and more comfortable for people to give.
It’s possible to build donor profiles with spreadsheets and word-processing documents, but that’s like digging a trench with a teaspoon; there’s just too much data coming in about your donors! Building donor databases is becoming an increasingly important move for nonprofits looking to successfully engage with their constituents, who are also more likely to be generous with the information you desire when they can share it with you online.