Why your Best Supporters are Garden Peas

Key takeaway: Understand the recency, frequency and monetary value of your supporters’ behaviour to segment your supporter data. Use what you know about your supporters to build more targeted campaigns and maximise fundraising opportunities.



Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist. He observed that about 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas his garden produced in total. Inspired, in 1896 Vilfredo published his first economic paper. He showed that approximately 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of the population. This principle became known as the Pareto principle, or 80/20 rule.


Just like Vilfredo’s peas, it’s pretty likely that most of your success comes from the efforts made by a minority of your supporters. So it’s important to get to know who your most loyal supporters are.


Finding your top 20%

Running simple queries on your data that look at three key characteristics can help you identify who your top supporters are:


  • Recency: when was the last time a supporter engaged with you?
  • Frequency: how often do they engage with you?
  • Monetary Value: how much do they contribute to your fundraising?


The people who gave to you recently, engage with you often and contribute large amounts, are your most valuable supporters. And you’ll probably want to pay these people particular attention. Over time, you can start looking at any similarities between these people, and build communications that appeal to their shared interests.


But they’re only the top 20% of your peapods, what about everyone else?


Defining what ‘best supporters’ means

Discovering who your ‘best’ supporters are isn’t just about finding the people who raise the most money for you. Especially when it comes to spreading your message and delivering your mission.


Depending on your campaign, your best supporters might be those engaging with you most frequently – regardless of their giving amounts.


If you want to generate more awareness and attract new followers, then the people you speak to most often might be your best advocates. These are the people who share your cause. And by sharing their positive experiences they’re giving you credible, trustworthy word-of-mouth promotion. Finding out who your brand ambassadors are helps you grow your network and expand your potential pool of supporters.


And what about if you’re holding an event next week? Then maybe the people you spoke to most recently will be the most receptive to re-engaging, inviting their friends and coming along.


Start working smarter

Looking at the recency, frequency and monetary value of contacts in your database can help you discover your best audiences for your campaigns. And by building a better picture of your giving universe, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively with all your supporters, show them that they’re valued and spread your message further.


Maximise the success of your fundraising activities. Start recording how you engage with your supporters, discover who your best advocates are, and design smarter ways of connecting with them.


Maximise your fundraising success

Find out how eTapestry, the fundraising solution designed for growing charities, can help you gain a deeper understanding of your supporters and build more targeted campaigns.

Build stronger support relationships, improve your fundraising and deliver your mission with eTapestry.


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