“I like working with data-driven processes” explains Lisa Ellis, Director of Prospect Management and Research at Ripon College in Ripon, WI. So when she was trying to figure out how to measure a prospect’s affinity for Ripon (not just their capacity to give or a gift officer’s gut feeling about someone) she developed a homegrown affinity calculator tool relying on data sets of actual prospect behaviors that demonstrated affinity. Using a model created at the University of Wisconsin Foundation presented at an APRA Chapter meeting, she set out to gather insight from development colleagues as to which behaviors or actions a prospect exhibits that directly relate to their affinity toward their alma mater. She interviewed alumni and parent relation staff, the stewardship and database coordinator, major gift staff and worked very closely with ITS. Their input helped to determine which of these behaviors were accurately and consistently track in their database. Lastly, the group help to determine which behaviors were more important than others, or how they would weight and score various actions. After developing a draft measurement, Lisa tested the tool with development staff until it seemed to capture an accurate measure.
Within a year, not only does Ripon have an affinity rating for every record, this rating is tied to a series of queries that run behind the scenes linked to their donor management database so that the rating updates each time the donor exhibits a behavior within the affinity rating criteria and it is entered into the database.
Learn about Lisa’s story and get advice for creating your own affinity calculator in our August webinar. Sign up here.