I love going to the shore of the Long Island Sound purely to people watch, especially the (mostly) men of a certain age who walk slowly behind buzzing metal detectors. I develop elaborate stories of who they might be just based on the stuff they have lying around their towels, the car they return to when they pack up, and whether they have an MP3 player in their ears or an old fashioned radio headset.
Any philanthropic predictive modeling tries to act like a metal detector, indicating where to start digging for a buried platinum ring. The codes signify “try here” to offer direction on who might be good prospects you haven’t tapped before for different kinds of gifts.
And the Philanthropic Capacity Rating from GG+A tries to act a little bit like I do when I watch the elderly gentlemen on the beach, developing a profile of who they are based on what we can find out about them just through observation of the stuff they buy, where they live, who lives with them, and what their neighbors do and buy and give philanthropically. What we at GG+A know from having studied scores of donors of all shapes and sizes and amounts is that demographics, consumption patterns, and location all play a role in indicating who gives how much.
The Philanthropic Capacity Rating doesn’t include any degree of past giving or past relationship to your institution. Other codes do that, and my colleagues have and will write about those. But in the Philanthropic Capacity Rating we try to act like unbiased outside social scientists to apply only what we’ve observed from studying other donors but ignoring anything unique about the relationship between your institution and the donor. We offer this code to help you figure out who might be a good prospect you’ve never met before, who might be someone with whom to cultivate a relationship for the long term. In short, who looks like a million bucks? Who has the profile of a major gifts donor in the US? Who might be precious metal in a part of the beach never before skimmed?