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Boost your nonprofit fundraising with predictive analytics

Grace Duginski
Content marketing specialist
March 27, 2024
A smiling young person with dark hair is holding their credit card in one hand and their smartphone in the other. They are wearing a white shirt and a gray cardigan.

Fundraisers’ work is rapidly changing, expanding, and evolving, but your teams, resources, and budget aren’t necessarily growing. What do you need to do to adapt to the future? Download the complete guide to the future of fundraising to learn more.

Predictive analytics and the big demographic shift

One of the biggest changes and opportunities happening right now in fundraising is the demographic shift. For most nonprofits, your largest and most generous group of donors — baby boomers plus the last of the Greatest Generation — are exiting their prime giving years. Meanwhile, Gen X and some millennials are slated to take their place. 

These younger donors will likely be just as generous as prior generations, but their cohort is smaller than the baby boomer cohort, meaning development teams will need to fundraise the same amount or more from a smaller pool of donors. You’ll also need to focus on retention, increasing donor value, and engaging supporters across more complex paths of engagement. 

To meet the moment, nonprofit staff like you will need to adapt your strategies and tactics. This means you’ll require support from technology like predictive analytics — sometimes also referred to as machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI), depending on the type of activity.

Here’s how to make the most out of every supporter’s unique journey using predictive analytics.

Why are predictive analytics helpful to nonprofit staff like you?

You need data you can act on to help you identify who is ready to give, when those supporters will be ready to make a commitment, and where to make your ask. As the fundraising landscape evolves, you can take existing models and segmentation practices to the next level with predictive analytics technology. This will give you more targeted data, scoring your supporters more accurately and, at the end of the day, raising more funds for your mission.

With predictive analytics, you’ll go from manual predictions using highest previous contribution (HPC) and most recent contribution (MRC) to AI and ML-powered predictive analytics solutions. Predictive analytics capabilities give busy staff the ability to analyze huge amounts of donor data and produce highly optimized predictions and recommendations for more effective outreach. Time is what makes the difference here: By feeding scores and behavioral data into algorithms, you can predict not only what supporters are likely to do next, but when they’re likely to do it.

Pro tip: These predictions are even more reliable when you’re operating in a unified system. When you have a single system that’s documenting every step someone takes in support of your mission, that data then feeds into your predictive analytics to improve your fundraising strategy’s accuracy.

How can you use predictive analytics to support your fundraising?

As a fundraiser, you not only need predictive analytics algorithms to help you make more accurate predictions, you also need to know you’re seeing information that’s updated in real time. In the past, fundraisers would send their donor files out to get scored once or twice a year, or maybe even quarterly. In the future, fundraisers will need donor scores that are accurate every day.

Daily scoring means that your donor data will be more up-to-date — and more actionable — much more often. You’ll be able to use that information not just to say, “Susan Smith is likely to become a sustainer,” but actually, “Susan Smith is likely to become a sustainer right now, so we need to reach out to her.” The main outcome from using predictive analytics to change the way you fundraise is the ability to use more accurate data to send more targeted messages. You’ll know who to send those targeted messages to, and when. And the way you’ll successfully send those messages is with automation.

The bottom line about predictive analytics for nonprofit fundraisers

Bonterra Fundraising and Engagement customers have already seen outstanding fundraising results with predictive analytics — just ask Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. They used our OptimizedAsk feature to increase the dollar amount raised per email opened by 155%, among other stellar results.

Your team and your mission deserve support from technology designed to meet your needs today, deliver your supporters a stronger experience tomorrow, and grow with your whole organization into the future. To learn even more about how fundraising is evolving and to discover the technology you’ll need to navigate it, download the complete guide to the future of fundraising.

Written by

Grace Duginski
Content marketing specialist
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing
  • Fundraising ideas