Who to invite to your major donor event: Tweedledum or Tweedledee?

If you’re a data person in a not for profit, I’m sure this is a familiar scenario. ‘We want to have a major donor event… a tour of the facilities, a service manager will speak… could you find us some donors to invite?’ Ok, I exaggerate. Maybe you’re a lucky database manager and the fundraiser asks you for all donors who have given say $1000 or more. After some ferreting in the database, you come up with a list and send it back to the fundraiser. Let’s say there are two people on your list – tweedledum and tweedledee.

Meet tweedledum.He meets your fundraiser’s criteria – he has given one donation of $1000 last year.

Now meet tweedledee.  He’s given the same amount of money – $1000 last year, however he knows the chairman, is managing director of a well known hardware franchise and already attended the Organisation’s gala dinner.

Ok, fundraisers, it’s time to vote.

I’m imagining that many fundraiser’s would pick Tweedledee – after all you know he has a stronger connection to the Organisation. Some of you may pick Tweedledum thinking that this is a trick question. Well, I’ve got news for you, it IS a trick question. However the answer may not be what you think.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are actually the same donor. The difference is that Tweedledum is in your database with the information recorded above (1 gift of $1000). The extra things listed about Tweedledee are all the things the fundraiser’s know but haven’t put in the database! So if the aim of this event was to capture donors who had never met the chairman, or knew little about our cause, we’d look mighty silly inviting Tweedledee. If we were looking for donors to nurture, Tweedledum may be overlooked for lack of history – what a lost opportunity!

How much do you know about your donors that isn’t in your database?


Posted on May 23, 2011, in Data, Fundraising, Major Donors, Not for Profit and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Yes, good words of wisdom. Nice start to a refreshing blog!

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