Case Study

How Datileo helped drive Donor Growth While Reducing Costs

A small but ambitious nonprofit was looking to expand its donor base without increasing costs or workload. We were able to help. 

The Situation 

Working in New York City's competitive arts space with funds running low, this nonprofit organization needed to find a way to increase donations without taking on more development costs. Despite their limited resources, the organization had a large, but underutilized, database of people who had attended shows, signed up for their mailing list, participated in past productions, or previously contributed.


Defining – and Refining – the Questions

Working with their leadership, Datileo helped define a set of questions that could be answered with the data already collected, and that would provide measurable outcomes important to the organization. 

We settled on two key questions that represented immediate opportunities:  

  1. Of individuals who never made a contribution, who were most likely to become future donors?  
  2. What is the optimal donation amount to request in order to maximize contributions without dissuading new donors?  

Producing Answers with Strategic Value

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Leveraging the organization’s 15+ years of donor history, combined with recent activity from their email marketing platform, Datileo determined the factors that were most likely to predict future donor activity. 

Even with limited data, Datileo was able to identify an important subset of 2,700 high-quality donor prospects out of a potential audience base of nearly 10,000 individuals. This sub-set of 2,700 prospects were then ranked with a statistical Donor Score that indicated their future likelihood to make a contribution. At the top of this list, 313 individuals were named as more than 70% likely to become a future donor.

(Read: Donor Scoring Explained)

All told, Datileo helped the organization isolate less than 5% of potential donors out of an overwhelming pool of candidates. With this level of targeting they could focus efforts — such as invitations to special events, phone calls, and personal notes from the executive director — toward individuals showing the greatest likelihood of making a donation.

In addition, Datileo calculated three tiers of donation amounts based on historical donation data. These enabled the organization to craft a strategic donation ask that would be reasonable, yet push toward higher levels of commitment overall.

(Read: Five Myths of Predictive Lead Scoring Models)


Providing a Path Forward

In addition to answering the initial key questions, Datileo’s iterative refinement process recommended three actions to take to improve the accuracy of the Donor Scoring model over time, and which also would enable the organization to pursue new questions that were previously unanswerable due to constraints of data quality.

Datileo's initial analysis was instrumental in targeting donor outreach efforts for the foreseeable future. We also provided greater value in long-term recommendations for new data collection and integration.

(Read: The results of nonprofit donor scoring)