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Wealth Screening 101: Who’s Your Audience?

By Jared Matthews


Who are you talking to?

Of all the questions ministry fundraisers and marketers need to answer, this one is of make-or-break importance.

You can craft the strongest, most compelling letter, proposal, or email … but those carefully chosen words may fall flat if they’re sent to the wrong audience.

Sending a request for $10,000 toward a major ministry fundraising project or capital campaign is unlikely to fly — no matter how moving the message — if you place it in the hands of a single parent who sacrifices significantly to write a check for $25.

The more you know about who you’re talking to, the more effective you will be at creating a message that fits your donors’ capacity for generosity and speaks to their hearts.

But this question can also be one of the most difficult to answer.

People don’t usually just hand over information — especially when it relates to their finances.

So how do you find out:

  • Which of your new donors has the capacity to make a major gift?
  • How generous your friends have been with other organizations?
  • Whether they’re retired on a fixed income, have a spouse or kids to take care of, and other details that impact finances?

Just imagine how effectively you will communicate after receiving all that data! No more outlandish requests to give what isn’t in your donor’s bank account — or mid-level and major donors not experiencing the joy of their full potential and impact because they only give the small amounts you ask of them.

You will be able to encourage your donors’ stewardship tailored to what God has given — asking them only to release back to the Kingdom what He has provided, no more and no less.

Believe it or not, there are companies that specialize in answering these very questions! Utilizing a wide variety of sources, they’re able to come up with financial information for the majority of your donor file so that you can better communicate the ministry of giving.

This is why we at BBS & Associates are so grateful to have partnered with companies like WealthEngine, Blackbaud and Donor Search

They provide us with valuable donor information that our team then translates into more effective donor communication for the ministries we serve.

These companies have helped generate strong data for our clients in three particular ways:

  1. Searching

Some of the platforms these companies use allow you to search for any individual donor in your database — based on name, address, organization, or any detail you have about a person.

When the search is complete, you will receive plenty of information about that donor — age, spouse, income range, gift capacity range, and other organizations they are involved with — so you can better tailor your communications to them.

  1. Screening

This is the feature we have utilized the most with our clients — because screening reveals valuable information about a ministry’s entire donor file, or a select part of it.

How it works: You provide the partner company data from all or part of your donor file, and they run that list through their software. In return, you receive a wealth of information back on your donors — like age range, total net worth range, total giving capacity range, estimated annual donations, and real estate value for all (or some) of your donors.

As a result, you’ll be able to create messaging geared toward your typical donor, segment and vary your communication as needed for various groups within your donor file, and communicate with them all in a way that connects their hearts with your ministry’s God-given mission.

  1. Prospecting

We have also been able to identify and reach out to prospective donors likely to share the God-given vision of the ministries we serve by creating mailing lists based on select criteria.

With these resources, you can choose to sort by location, age, net worth, giving history, real estate, and more to build your own customized list of potential donors.

This only just scratches the surface of the many ways wealth screening partners can help you better communicate with your donors and make a significant impact on your donor development program.

It would be my pleasure to chat more if you have any questions or would like more information about wealth screening. Feel free to email me at