Capacity and Inclination

Posted on 11/11/2015 - by Dan Allenby

Magnifying GlassAccording to a recent AGN poll, 51 percent of annual giving professionals report that they are the ones who are primarily responsible for identifying annual fund leadership gift prospects, with the remainder citing research staff (24 percent) or major gift officers (15 percent). The other 10 percent reported that they were either not sure or that no one is responsible (on no!).

The next time you set out to find someone with leadership gift potential, keep in mind that all good prospects have two common characteristics: capacity and inclination.

When a prospect has capacity, it means that they have the financial ability to make a leadership gift. There are several ways to identify capacity. Analyzing their biographic and demographic characteristics is a good start. For example, having a zip code from an affluent area (e.g., 90210), a senior level job title (e.g., CEO, Vice President), or an advanced degree (e.g., JD, MBA, MD) can all point to the possibility of wealth. Past giving can also be an indicator of capacity. For example, if someone donated $1,000 in the past, it suggests that they may have the means to do it again in the future.
Who identifies LG Prospects Poll

When someone has inclination, it means they have some interest in making a gift. Similar to capacity, there could be many clues within your data (and other data sources) that can reveal something about someone’s inclination. For example, there’s a correlation between past giving, event attendance, volunteering, and even recently-updated contact information (e.g., email, phone number, home address) and the likelihood that someone will make a gift in the future. In other words, these things can be a sign of donor inclination.

Of course, not everyone will have the same level of capacity and inclination, which is why it helps to have some kind of scoring system that allows you to track and compare prospects. For example, assign alphabetical codes to prospect records on a scale of A through E so that A suggests very high capacity and E suggests very low capacity. Then assign numeric codes on a scale of 1 through 5 so that 1 suggests very high inclination and 5 suggests very low inclination. This will help you and others prioritize prospects. For example, someone coded as an A2 could be a better prospect than someone coded as an A3 and someone coded as a C1 could be a better prospect than a B5.

Want to learn more? CLICK HERE for AGN’s Webinar on Research and Prospect Management.