There are Major Donor Prospects in Your Camp's Database. Really.

by Kevin Martone, Technology Program Manager, and Julia Riseman, Mentor, JCamp 180

"There is no one in our Camp's community who is wealthy."

When discussing major fundraising campaign potential with camps we work with, we at JCamp 180 often hear some version of that quote.

"Our donors are all tapped out."

Camps who have relied on the same small handful of generous donors in past campaigns often complain that they don't have new prospects they can approach for major gifts.

 "Who are you kidding, we don't know anyone who can make a six figure gift to our camp."

Well, these statements are simply not true.  How do we know?  Our Data2Donors program disproves this assertion completely. 

In our experience, on average 7.5% of the people in your camp's database have the capacity to make extremely generous donations to your organization. 

In the JCamp 180 Data2Donors program, camps do a lot of work updating contact information for the alumni, parents, donors, and prospects in their database. They also try a number of tactics to add missing alumni and other constituents back into their database. Near the end of Data2Donors, JCamp 180 and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation pay for participating camps to send the names from their database through WealthEngine, a service that combines publicly available data to show wealth information and predictions of giving capacity.

In WealthEngine, the prospects who are rated with a Propensity to Give (P2G) score of "1|0" are considered the most likely to be major gift prospects. Someone with a 1|0 score is both very wealthy and philanthropically generous.  And if they are in your database, they are also in your camp's circle of friends.

Vickie Claussen, Director of Partner Relations at WealthEngine, said on a Data2Donors Webinar, "If you have a P2G 1|0 in your database, you should be hanging up with me and calling that person. They are a very good potential [major gift] prospect." In other words, a person with a 1|0 P2G score is someone in your camp community you will want to get to know better!

Data2Donors Proof

So…did any of the camps participating in the 2 cohorts of Data2Donors find any 1|0's in their databases?

14 camps have participated in the Data2Donors program over the past 2 years. It is a diverse group: we've worked with camps from the East, West, Midwest, and South; independent camps, Habonim Dror Camps, URJ Camps, Young Judaea Camps, and Ramah Camps; camps with over 20,000 records in their database and camps with barely 2,000 records. What have we found?

Every camp has had a large number of 1|0 prospects in their database.

Of the 14 camps whose data has been run through WealthEngine, EVERY camp has found at least a couple of dozen 1|0 prospects. One camp found over 2,000! The average was 7.5% - that is, for every 100 people in the camp databases, at least 7 of them were rated 1|0, people who WealthEngine's own representative said you should be out cultivating RIGHT NOW for major gifts.

And remember, this analysis ignores the 1,000 additional prospects who were found to have P2G scores of 1|1, 1|2, etc. when the data was run through WealthEngine. What do these additional ratings mean? WealthEngine predicts that all of these prospects have a giving capacity of greater than $250,000 over a 5 year period!

We believe that EVERY camp we work with has a similarly large number of major gift prospects in their database.

Too much of a good thing?

So, what does this all mean? Camps in Data2Donors have not had a problem of too few prospects; instead, they struggle with prioritizing the large number of wealthy prospects they unearthed to decide who to cultivate most personally.  They all had to work to narrow their focus on just a few people to get started.

So…What should you do now?

Whether your camp has run your data through a program like WealthEngine or not, you can do the following:

  • Feel confident that your camp DOES have major gift prospects in its community.
  • Question yourself and the culture at camp that assumed that "no one" in your community could make a major gift.
  • Discuss what you would like to accomplish through major donor fundraising, and if your organization is ready to commit to fundraising from major donors.
  • Learn more. Check out our related Data2Donors Webinars

The important thing is to start your fundraising planning with the attitude that your camp DOES have major gift prospects in its community. The most successful campaigns start with a positive attitude.