Seek out 'hidden heavies' for fundraising push

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You have 100 new $10 and $15 contributors. Your budget lets you to cultivate only 25 of them. In the total new responder universe, one donor is a "hidden heavy" who will leave your organization a $10 million bequest.

All these new donors were acquired from the same mailing list. They were all multi-gift, $10-plus, 0-12 contributors. All were acquired by a name and address label upfront premium. They are all females, age 65 and live in the same town.Your challenge is to identify the donors to keep.

Consider the initial gift amount. With exception, the number of new $10 donors outnumbers new $15 donors by a ratio of 5-to-1. The variance becomes more distinct when you consider subsequent giving rates. Typically, a new $15 donor is nearly 50 percent more likely to renew.

Look beyond the initial gift. Among $10 donors there will be two unequal groups, those who will renew (20 percent) and those who won't (80 percent). A renewing $10 donor has similar characteristics to that of a new $15 donor.

Evaluate giving behavior. Monitor how quickly your donors respond to your mailings. You may find that subsequent giving rates among your earliest responders will be higher.

Look at demographics. Look for qualities such as religion, marital status, political affiliation, household values and wealth.

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