05.01.24 3 min

The master key to consistent revenue: sustainer audience indicator

Lisa Greene

Lisa Greene

EVP, Data Axle Nonprofit

Creating predictable and consistent revenue streams is the goal for every nonprofit, but as with any goal, it comes with its challenges. One of the core challenges that nonprofits face is reaching specific targeted audiences to support their mission. As a solution to finding stable revenue streams, we’ve observed that many nonprofits are shifting their focus to starting and growing sustainer programs in 2024.

While nothing is a guarantee, building a strong base of donors that you can rely on year after year will enable your nonprofit to create accurate budget models, plan programming with a base budget in mind, and pinpoint realistic areas for growth.

However, many nonprofits do not have the resources on hand to model donor audiences and create customized donor data selects or segmented solicitations that effectively target potential sustainers. Further, and most importantly, they don’t have the wealth of donor data that cooperatives possess. Cooperative data allows visibility into every donor through a 360 transactional lens, enabling identification of habitual sustainers regardless of donation activity.

That’s where we come in.

We sat down with our expert in cooperative data, Colin Anderson, to answer our questions on nonprofits’ ultimate donors: sustainers.

Lisa: Identifying the most likely prospects for sustainer programs, either within your existing portfolio of current and lapsed donors or cold prospects may seem like a daunting task. Colin, what tools or ideas can you share to help both small and large organizations successfully overcome this barrier?

Colin: A savvy fundraiser will start first with their “free” audience: current donors, lapsed donors, warm prospects, volunteers and event participants, for example. They will look for giving patterns, such as multiple gifts within a calendar year. This is a great starting point, but typically not enough to truly identify the complete sustainer audience. An expert fundraiser will layer that information with additional data points and models.

Specifically, we’ve developed a useful and effective tool within our Apogee and DonorBase omnichannel cooperatives to make the search for sustainers faster and easier. Our sustainer audience indicator is the ‘master key’ to identifying prospective monthly donors within your current donor base or within a cold prospecting audience. Because we have done the predictive modeling for you, no custom data or modeling is required. We simply ‘flip the switch’ and apply our models to your donors and prospects, providing you with a list of your most likely sustainer prospects in a matter of days.

And it doesn’t end there, once the sustainer indicator is implemented, we can continue to update the file and alert you when new likely sustainers are identified.

Delivering a Better Product

Lisa: Thanks Colin, it sounds like this tool is something that every nonprofit should take advantage of! Is there anything else that sets the sustainer indicator apart from other available resources in the industry?

Colin: In addition to the sustainer indicator, Apogee and DonorBase have a comprehensive set of additional audience indicators to choose from. Each of these indicators can segment your donor or prospect database based on specific criteria unique to your target audience. On top of that, the indicators can also be paired together to create highly customized sectors within your donor pool. For example, you can use the sustainer indicator alongside the channel preference indicator to create prospect lists that allow you to reach each group of potential sustainers through their preferred communication method, whether online or offline. Or you can add in the donor advised fund indicator and create marketing strategies to help reach potential sustainers who have such funds already established.

Our dynamic audience indicators allow our clients to create hundreds of different possibilities based on their desired outcome, while providing donors with the information they seek through the channels the prefer.

And It Works!

Lisa: Almost sounds too good to be true! Are there any results that prove the value of implementing the sustainer audience indicator?

Colin: Yes! As a matter of fact, a national nonprofit we work with utilized the Apogee sustainer indicator in their recent telemarketing efforts. They observed that the Apogee flagged records convert to sustainers at rate of 2.8 times higher than their own internally selected records! To put that in real numbers, the organization called over five thousand potential donors without the sustainer tag, which resulted in less than 2% of donors committing to monthly gifts. They then reached out to a thousand potential donors that were identified using our sustainer indicator and saw that nearly 5% committed to monthly gifts! A staggering difference in ROI!

There you have it, the master key to unlocking your fundraising potential. Curious about how your organization can use the sustainer audience indicator – or any Apogee or DonorBase audience indicator – to bring your fundraising to the next level? Contact us at [email protected] today.

Lisa Greene

Written by Lisa Greene, EVP, Data Axle Nonprofit

Lisa leads a team of professionals supporting a wide array of partners and providing strategic insight to further missions.

Colin Anderson

Written by Colin Anderson, General Manager Cooperative Data, Data Axle Nonprofit

Colin has deep experience using cutting edge data science methods to develop consumer predictions and identify optimal audiences to maximize marketing budgets and grow revenues.