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Donor Engagement

Nonprofits: How Do Donor Willingness and Donor Capacity Differ?

donor willingnes and donor capacity

Traditional wisdom in the non-profit foundation and fundraising world is to target prospective donors with the right ask amount who have a relatively high net worth – or in other words, who are deemed to have significant “donor capacity.”

And based on the analysis of capacity, it is not surprising that traditional donor analytics software extends this approach and augments it with technology. That is, such software (from companies like Wealth Engine and Target Analytics) scours publicly available data such as stockholder transactions, IRS filings and more, in order to establish a prospective donor’s net worth, and then target them with the right ask amount as part of a major gift fundraising campaign.

While determining ask amounts for major gifts can be helpful for identifying who has the potential to make a major donation, capacity doesn’t help you determine an ask amount for your mass appeals. But, why is that (you might ask)?

Almost everyone has the capacity to donate, but the problem is, not everyone is WILLING to give you that amount. Donor willingness goes far deeper by capturing, organizing and analyzing a prospective donor’s online behavioral data, in order to identify how they have interacted over time with an organization’s content across multiple platforms and channels.

Below is a comparison chart, which highlights some of the major differences between the two:

  Donor Willingness Donor Capacity
What it Measures

How wealthy a person is

How interested they are in your organization, mission, campaign 

What it Indicates Potential A Real Opportunity
Data Sources Used

IRS filings, shareholder information, liquid assets 

CRM, email marketing platform, social media, contextual data

Data Points Used

Recent stockholder transactions, real estate ownership, employment, political contributions 

What do they read or interact with on your site (and across what channels), past transactions, where do they live, campaigns they’ve responded to… 
Business Application Major Gift Program

Mass appeal solicitations/direct marketing campaigns

Creating a sustained giving program has been tough for nonprofits to build in the past, but donor willingness has changed that because you’re soliciting to your your entire database of donors with accurate ask amounts based on their interest in your mission and organization as a whole.

For more information on how donor willingness can help you maximize donor revenue and other marketing campaign ideas, please schedule a briefing today.