Donor screening and wealth screening are sometimes used interchangeably in fundraising. Since wealth screening is almost always a component of donor screening, this misunderstanding is understandable. Nevertheless, it is important to understand the limitations of pure wealth screening when compared to full donor screening. Let’s look a closer look at both types of screening.
Wealth Screening Overview
Wealth screening is solely concerned with wealth. Here are some of the things wealth screening can tell you:
- Net worth
- Dwelling value
- Other assets and liabilities
Donor Screening Overview
Donor screening is also concerned with wealth and any quality donor screen will include the elements of wealth screening listed above. However, donor screening will also look for the following:
- Relationships and connections to your organization
- Past philanthropic gifts in general
- Past philanthropic gifts to similar causes and/or organizations
- Non-giving philanthropic engagement such as serving on the board of a charity
- Political giving
Capacity and Affinity
Where wealth screening and donor screening differ concerns capacity and affinity. Wealth screening tries to determine how much money a person has. Donor screening expands on wealth screening and looks at a person’s overall viability as a donor in addition to how much a person can give. Wealth screening focuses on capacity. Donor screening focuses on capacity and affinity.
Yes, it is critical to have an idea of a person’s capacity to give – this makes sure our gift asks are reasonable and accurate. However, we also need to know the person’s affinity for the cause or organization if we want to maximize our chances of success. Wealth screening helps determine the gift ask. Donor screening helps determine the gift ask and the likelihood of success.
Although sometimes they are confused due to their similarity, it is important to understand the differences between wealth screening and donor screening. If you are solely concerned with a person’s capacity to give, wealth screening is the exercise for you. If you are concerned with a person’s capacity to give and his or her connections to your organization and likelihood to give to your organization, donor screening makes the most sense.