Lifetime giving, or lifetime value, is one donor data point that is often overlooked. It’s not for malicious reasons, of course. It’s simply because other data points like gift size, address, and name are required to process individual gifts, and therefore, take precedence.

But, lifetime giving data isn’t really that hard to come up with. It’s basic math (the sum of all gifts), and should be readily available in your donor database or fundraising CRM. And, once you know lifetime giving value, it can – and should – dramatically alter how you speak with a donor.

You may have a supporter, for example, who gifted your organization $50 this year. But. Wait. She’s given $50 annually for the past 25 years. This means, over her lifetime she’s a very loyal, valuable supporter of your cause, and deserves to be treated as such.

All of your communications with a donor, such as the one described above, need to acknowledge the relationship and express your appreciation for the sustained support. In addition to HOW you speak to the donor, lifetime giving details can inform event invitations, solicitation campaigns, planned giving opportunities, and even leadership role recommendations for individual donors.

Perhaps one of the most valuable things about tracking lifetime giving is it can help you identify the attributes of your lifetime donors. Use quantifiable data like email engagement and gifts, as well as subjective focus-group style feedback to understand why they give and how they respond to your outreach. These combined data points will help you develop and nurture more future lifetime supporters.

For more information on valuable donor data, read the Donor Dozen whitepaper.