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What is Essential Data to Capture and Why?

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It’s called “rage giving” — impulsive donations to organisations seen as resisting the agenda of US President Trump.

It has resulted in an astounding outpouring of philanthropy for some organisations:

The American Civil Liberties Union has raised more than $80 million. Planned Parenthood has gained more than 600,000 new donors. Many other organizations — environmental, poverty, educational, and more — have received influxes of rage donations.

A friend in New York asked me a simple question: What information do we need to capture to be able to build the best relationship with a “rage donor”?

In my experience, the key information (here in order of importance, but not in order of how you gather it) is this:

  1. Full name.
  2. Their transactional information with you. That is, what did they do? Take part in x event, sign y petition, volunteer, collect or donate.
  3. Phone number. Using the phone is usually the second most effective way of converting single donors, petition signers, event goers, and others to monthly giving or larger gifts.
  4. Postal address. About 50% of the value of gifts comes from just 5% of donors. If someone gives higher than average then address (and therefore location) is very important.
  5. Age. After the actual amount someone has given, this is the best indicator of the capacity to give. It also allows you to predict lifetime value, including monthly giving retention, much better.
  6. Email. Of all digital channels, most one-off donors or people who sign petitions or surveys and then choose to become monthly givers will come from email. It is also the channel most likely to generate second gifts from one-off donors.
  7. Facebook. This social channel accounts for more than 80% of leads generated by proactive campaigns, and two-thirds of donations. Non-Facebook social accounts for less than 10%, with search and display ads less than 10% too.

That’s the basics.

I also believe we should build relationships with donors, so going beyond these basics will be very useful in the future. To gather more data — your supporter preferences, etc, we need to use the Supporter Connection Survey. Get instant access when you join The Fundraisingology Lab.


  • Sean Triner

    Sean Triner is a Co-Founder of Moceanic and Pareto Group. With over three decades of experience in fundraising and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in mathematics, Sean has a wealth of fundraising expertise to share with Moceanic members and blog readers. He is also a coach and available for bookings on the Coaching+ program for fundraisers to help answer your questions and work hands-on directly with you.

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