Behaviors Change, So Should Contact Scores

The problem with typical contact scoring

Universities typically have a tremendously vast contact database accumulated from multiple sources. Typical contact scoring models do not take changing data into account. In fact, data points used for scoring are often pre-defined data fields, static, rarely updated and/or quite stale. Occasionally, expensive demographic data appends and data garnered from marketing questionnaires are included in contact scoring. These, too, are typically stale almost as quickly as they are added to the database. The problem with this approach to contact scoring is that people change over time. For example, behavioral factors and attributes might make someone a good donation contact one day. The next day, that may change leaving the contact score outdated. The result? Assigned gift officers waste time and money pursuing a poor lead. The lesson?  Behaviors change, so should contact scores.

Contact scoring platforms

Contact scoring is usually done inhouse, or via a contact scoring platform. A contact scoring platform leverages the nuances of each contact’s attributes such as past donations, years giving, last giving date, etc. These platforms generate a more comprehensive and accurate contact score when combined with flat data such as name, graduation date, college, marriage status, income and other demographic and costly data points.

Uncovering qualified potential donors requires using contact data from multiple data sources and includes attributes, prospects behaviors, timing, and more. Finding the most optimum donors also requires an intimate understanding of contact data and complex analysis. All contacts are not alike. Data changes. Therefore, the most effective contact scoring platform will score each contact individually and not lump them into pre-fixed bins based on simple data definitions.

Behaviors change, so should contact data – dynamic data, prospecting and marketing

Scores included in the university database easily become part of a more global marketing effort. As prospects engage with marketing campaigns and university events and activities, their contact score may (or may not) increase without wasting gift officer’s time and effort. Updating contact data on a nightly basis illustrates its dynamic nature. Updating contact scores every 24 hours ensures the hottest contacts are rank highest and any movement in a contact’s score is shows in the rankings. Dynamic contact scores identify the hottest prospects as well as those who are ‘not so hot’. So, as prospect behaviors change, so should contact scores.

Working the contact database

Identifying a ‘hot’ prospect is the first step of a holistic approach to efficiently maximizing donations and cultivating donors. Contacts’ values are typically only hot for a period of time. Working prospects in the lowest contact score ranking is time consuming, demoralizing, and expensive. Without a contact scoring system that identifies the ‘hot’ leads and updates nightly, pulling prospects from a hat is a viable method of distribution.

A platform that gives senior staff and management’s direct view to the factors that influence a contact’s ranking displays important insights into the contact’s behaviors and aids in selecting the gift officer best suited to manage the lead. The best time for the gift officer to approach a potential donor is when that contact becomes a great prospect and before they lose interest. Using dynamic contact scoring, rapid assignment of high-ranking prospects to qualified gift officers has proven quite successful. Clients who have used PILYTIX Dynamic Contact Scoring platform have regularly seen greater than 30% of the highest ranked prospects convert to a win. This targeted focused approach to contact qualification and distribution maximizes efficiency and saves money.

Developing a healthy fundraising strategy includes providing gift officers and management an opportunity to cultivate donors by maximizing the use of data for both contact scoring and subsequent lead assignment. Of course, gift officers still need to court donors. However, a dynamic contact scoring model gives gift officers and leaders the best opportunity to be successful. This model provides fundraising leaders a powerful view to each potential donor early in the fundraising process. This view allows for rapid assignment of leads to gift officers while prospects are hot.