Better than peanut butter and chocolate!

By Jack Doyle, Amergent President & CEO

On Monday, the American Indian College Fund was notified that a $500,000 DAF grant is on the way to set up a scholarship fund.

This was a direct result of excellent donor stewardship by a major gift officer. She started the donor cultivation process four months ago. Yes, you read that correctly.

This donor made his first gift of $1,000 last fall from a Fidelity Charitable giving account, in response to a direct mail acquisition package. Actually, the grant was received from the donor after getting three packages over three months.

Here’s the whole story…

The College Fund began announcing in their October 2017 direct response ACQ outreach mailings to prospective donors that DAF grants were a great way to give.

The original version of the inserts “dropped” into the acquisition control packages looked like this:

This past year, we refreshed the insert to include a DAF widget icon and imagery to show prospects how easy it is to make a designation.

We tested a High Net Worth Prospect ACQ mail package from December 2018 – February 2019, and then rolled it out in the summer of 2019. The following reply slip from the appeal indicates the range of gifts we sought from prospects, and the above insert about DAF gifts was enclosed.


The prospect was mailed again in our September mailing, sourced to us from a Donorbase Response model they created for us of prospects with above average gifts.

The individual was mailed to again in October, sourced to Wiland again; this time the model used was their CLEAR Advantage model.

We don’t bypass prospects from high net worth models because of recent prior usage, and this indicates why.

We’re not clear which contact triggered the initial response of $1,000, but we assume our chances were improved by contacting this high net worth prospect multiple times.

Once this new donor’s $1,000 grant was received, the College Fund’s stewardship practices began; a major gift officer was notified and cultivation activities were initiated. And what a job she did.

Lessons learned:

  • Everyone who gives from a DAF giving account should be fast-tracked for major donor research and cultivation, regardless of the size of the grant. Their capacity for giving from a DAF giving account might be substantially greater than you think.
  • High net worth prospects are sourced to co-ops month after month; you might NOT have HNW names from a rental or exchange fulfilled on a subsequent month’s order from a list manager for a non-profit.

That’s why we do this work… to put donors into positions where they can choose to do what they want to make a huge impact with their charitable giving!

Amergent is actively testing/validating a DAF donor model for The College Fund, and all of our clients. We developed this to help find donors already in your donor file who have DAF giving accounts and use them for their charitable giving to others. The model processes thousands of variables associated with known DAF donors and scores the rest of your file, indicating who’s most likely to be a DAF donor. Please let me know if you want the opportunity to participate in this work, if you haven’t done so already. Future issues of All Things DAF will report on our success in this work.

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