The more you know about your donors, the more strategic and targeted your fundraising campaigns can be. And just as quantitative data, such as age and income level, can provide insight, qualitative information can also take your donation solicitations a step further.
A powerful example of helpful qualitative data you can collect is your donors’ professions and places of employment. This information can inform marketing and development strategies that a nonprofit might otherwise overlook. Here are three ways donor employment data can benefit your fundraising efforts.
1. Collect Matching Gifts
Many corporations support philanthropy by matching the donations made by their employees to charitable organizations. This is a low effort source of funding that many nonprofits miss when they lack adequate donor employment information. Over 18 million individuals work for companies with matching gift programs. Additionally, 65 percent of Fortune 500 companies have matching gift programs. Unrecorded donor employment data results in $6 to $10 billion unclaimed matching gifts each year.
Knowing your donors’ employers not only allows you to claim some of these lost matching funds, it also gives you an opportunity to increase the amount your donors give in the first place. Most employees are unaware their employers offer a matching gift program. Merely informing your donors of these programs increases the average donation amount by 51 percent, not counting the matching portion of the gift.
Examples of large corporations with matching gift programs include:
- GE (which created the original model for corporate employee gift matching)
- Kraft (offering a 5:1 matching ratio)
- Microsoft (totaling more than $1 billion in matching gift donations since the program’s inception)
2. Leverage Professional Positions and Promotions
In addition to employer data, it’s also helpful to know what your donors’ roles are within their companies. This information can be used in several ways to maximize contributions.
First, you may not be aware that there is a VP of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or someone of a similar CSR position, in your donor pool. This member would have significant resources for outreach, sizeable potential for donations, and even possible partnerships with other corporations. It’s worth checking if any of your donors are in these roles so that you can take advantage of these relationships.
Second, you might have a group of donors who unknowingly all work within the same company, or even the same department. When you understand this, you can approach their company and make them aware of your support numbers within their organization. If it’s large enough to gain attention, you might discover a way to create a larger and more formal partnership with that business.
Finally, it’s important to know if there are any corporate executives within your donor pool, or if there are any who will be in the future. Promotions occur all of the time, and with them come the opportunity for increased contributions to your cause. If a donor joins the corporate executive level, you should be asking them for more money. And to know when this happens, you have to keep a keen eye on your donors’ professional lives. Additionally, many corporations encourage their executives to join nonprofit boards and provide specific funding to further those goals. Your organization will be in the best position to take advantage of these expanded leadership opportunities if you’re carefully monitoring promotions and lateral movements so you can engage with these high-potential individuals early.
3. Leverage Professional Skills
Even if a donor’s corporate seniority doesn’t allow them to personally contribute more financially, it can add value in other ways. With every job comes a distinct set of skills that could potentially be applied to benefit your nonprofit organization.
For example, if a longtime, loyal donor just happens to be an expert on real estate law, you could pick their brain on best practices for approaching prospective donors for estate gifts. Or, a donor could apply their job skills directly—a social media guru could help with your online presence, a web designer could create a better homepage, or a caterer might provide food for your next event. Whatever their profession, chances are there is a way your donor can add value to your nonprofit.
Whether you collect from matching gift programs, build a relationship with a CSR employee, or receive help on particular projects, your employed donors can be invaluable resource to your organization in many ways. With possible returns on multiple levels, it is worth both the time and investment to keep track of your donors’ employment status every year.
Chris LoPresti is one of the co-founders of TouchPoints, a Data-as-a-Platform company that helps organizations access high-quality data sources to locate all of the information they need to know about their donors. Contact TouchPoints for strategic help in collecting and understanding your donor data.