Past giving predicts future giving. This is one of the fundamentals of development. If you know nothing else about your prospects except what they gave in the past, you can use that to make a pretty good guess about who will be loyal in the future. There’s a lot you can do to improve your prediction of loyal donors through statistical analysis using other variables, but any statistician who knows the nonprofit space will concur that past giving is usually the most important factor in predicting future giving.
But past giving tells you more than who is likely to give next year. It also reveals passions. Donors make gifts to organizations that pluck their heart-strings. They give the largest gifts to nonprofit missions about which they are most passionate.
As a prospect researcher, information about a donor’s previous giving is of primary interest to me. It reveals both passion and capacity. If I know a person has made a large gift to an organization similar to mine, I know that an effective major gift officer might be able to engage that person with my organization.
This is why I strongly endorse the data provided by a company called NOZA. I will over simplify the many services they offer in this blog post, but they do address exactly the issues I have described above. NOZA helps prospect researchers understand passion and capacity.
NOZA analyses annual reports and donor lists that are published by nonprofit organizations across both the US and Canada. Then names of donors, the organizations they give to, and the nature of those organizations are all organized into a searchable database.
I am pleased to be able to recommend this excellent resource to my prospect research and development colleagues, and proud to welcome NOZA to the Blackbaud family of companies.