Discover the “Sally Fields” in Your Database | npENGAGE

Discover the “Sally Fields” in Your Database

By on Nov 1, 2011


“….And I can’t deny the fact that you like me.  Right now you like me!”

In 1985 Sally Fields made the world smile with these simple words.  Her own smile going from ear to ear, she absolutely gushed as she thanked the audience and her fans during her Oscar acceptance speech.  Suddenly the simplicity of just being liked took on a whole new meaning.

So, do you know who the “Sally Fields” are in your database?  Who likes you?  Who really, really likes you?  And, more importantly, what are you doing about it? 

When working with our Target Analytics clients I often raise this question, particularly when the topic is identifying those long-standing loyal donors who have been quietly contributing—often under the radar—year in and year out.  A little basic data mining can reveal some surprising results.  Recently, one organization I was working with discovered they had an extensive list of individuals who had made dozens of gifts (and these weren’t payroll deduction payments or monthly donors).  And no one in the room recognized a single name on the list. Surprising?  Maybe.  But maybe not.

Few of the gifts were larger than $100.  And, at many organizations, attention is gained by the size of the gift, not the frequency.  But, what does it say about someone who has written over 100 checks to your organization? I would say it’s a pretty good bet that they really like you. 

The next question becomes: what do you do about it now that you know who your “Sally Fields” are?  The answer is pretty simple.  Get to know these folks.  Pick up the phone and let them know that you know how much they like you.  You may discover that many of these donors aren’t used to being personally thanked.  Few organizations take the time to do this—and even fewer keep track of who their loyal donors are.  You may stand out in the crowd by letting them know you recognize their long, consistent history of support.  Maybe this can be the start of yet a new relationship…maybe even one that results in the ultimate demonstration of loyalty—a planned gift.  So…take a few minutes and look for your Sally Fields.  You may be surprised at just how many people really like you!

Do you have your own Sally Fields story to tell?  I would love to hear about it.  Post it here or contact me at

*Laura Worcester is a consultant for Target Analytics. You may reach her at


Laura Worcester, senior consultant at Target Analytics, joined Blackbaud in 2001.In her current role she advises nonprofits on utilizing screening results in identifying and evaluating best donor prospects. In 25+ years of fundraising experience, Laura has served as the chief advancement officer for numerous organizations and managed her own consulting business, providing grant writing services to arts, educational and health care organizations. She’s presented at development conferences and has been a regular contributor to Blackbaud’s blogs with selected posts being reprinted in journals such the NonProfit Times. A traveler since her study abroad days in Denmark, Laura’s committed to passing this enthusiasm on to her teenage daughters. Her family’s travel adventures were just featured in a neighborhood magazine in her suburban Milwaukee community. Contact Laura by email.

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