The Power of a Reliable Charitable Giving Forecast
Posted on December 29, 2012
I grew up in New Orleans in the 60s and 70s. From my earliest days, I remember discussions about hurricanes and predictions for what would happen if a big storm took what was known as the ‘critical path’ – up the Mississippi River and then over Lake Ponchatrain. The city, it was thought, would be under as much as 20 feet of water and unrecoverable.
This was before the days of Doppler radar, advance computer modeling, and other forecasting tools that we now take for granted. So, when a storm was brewing, we had limited information on which to prepare, evacuate or to stand down in relief.
Things are very different now. There is much more accurate information about storm strength, path, and speed to landfall. It isn’t 100% accurate, but it is very, very good.
Forecasting charitable giving is similar. Until now, we have known of some giving correlations to things like GDP, the stock market, and consumer behavior but have had no predictive mathematical model with which to reliably forecast what charitable giving will do.
Now we have a dynamic scientific model that accounts for shifts in economic and demographic conditions. How good is it? The model correlates to over four decades of published giving data with 99.5% accuracy.
The challenge is that most people are not aware that it is available and so are continuing to manage solicitation and budget activities as if there is no reliable forecast. This is unfortunate.
At long last, charities and churches have the tool they need to dramatically improve their fiscal effectiveness and efficiency. Budgets can be planned to account for coming declines in the charitable giving environment or take advantage of a coming improvement in charitable giving. Appeals can be timed to maximize results based on a reliable forecast. Events can be scheduled to produce the best possible outcomes.
Unfortunately, most charity and church professionals are not aware that this new predictive tool is available.
In time, it will make a dramatic impact on nonprofit effectiveness in the same way that storm forecasting tools have significantly improved the effectiveness of hurricane preparation. The Atlas of Giving is available now for nonprofit leaders. It is good now but it will continually get better. I guarantee it.