I agree with this post from 101 Fundraising that “surveys tell us what people say they’ll do, but rarely tally with what they’ll actually do.”
It’s important to follow the transactional data which tells you what a donor has done.
This is much more important than what they might do or what the donor looks like:
Imagine two households in the same wealthy neighborhood with identical household income. Both families play golf and drive BMW’s.
But one household just lost their mother to cancer.
That household would be a much better target, all other things being equal, for an appeal from a charity aiding cancer patients, but even better would be to know that household has already made a donation to a cancer charity.
And that transactional data, what they have done, is MUCH more important than the demographic data.
The neighbor of the household that lost their mother to cancer may have no interest in supporting cancer charities despite looking the same demographically in every way.
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