Nonprofit: Screening Best Practices
To get the most out of your screening job, before submitting a list of contacts for screening,it is important that you familiarize yourself with the best practices. The steps listed below will help you best utilize your credits, especially if you have a limited number of credits available.
Step 1: Set up your Inner Circle
The ‘Inner Circle’ is a list of people that you might be comfortable asking to speak to a potential donor on your behalf (e.g., board members, long-term advocates, enthusiastic volunteers, etc.).
If you select your Inner Circle, the system will then compare your list of contacts to each person you search for or screen. It’s very similar to a social network, where the system flags individuals that have a mutual connection with you and one of your leads.
This step is free of cost and should be set up at least the day before you start using credits.
Step 2: Use the template
If you are conducting ‘Express screening,’ remember that it is being processed entirely by the computer. This means that if you rearrange, delete, or rename any of the columns, the system will not be able to read your file and will interrupt the process.
You can learn how to create a custom import template here: https://wealthengine.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/44001672830-nonprofit-how-to-create-a-custom-import-template
Note: For more on the differences between Express and Batch, check out our Batch vs Express Guide.
Step 3: Required fields
You must include first name; last name; street address; city; state; and zip-code.
Any record that is missing this information will not have a good match rate and may not even bring back a profile.
Please note, error response will cost you a credit as well – so take care before submitting!
Step 4: Include User ID
If you intend to later get the results of this screening back into your CRM or DMS, make sure you fill out the ‘User Supplied ID.’ This is the number you use to identify an individual in your system.
Step 5: Giving History.
highly recommends including information such as giving history. This can factor into certain scores (e.g., Gift Capacity) and can also be used to filter your results once you receive them.
For example, you could identify individuals in your file who have a high P2G score but a low giving history. These are your hidden gems – people who look likely to give a major gift, but who have not done that for you so far. If you were to reach out and establish a more personal connection, you could see a significant increase in their giving rather than a small increase from someone who is already giving you a lot.
Note: For more information on the filtering tool, see our Filters and Tags Guide.
Step 6: Screen spouses as a couple
scores profiles on a household basis. This means that if we know that two people are married, we are automatically including the spouse’s information into the profile and factoring it into the scores. If you screen a married couple as two separate individuals, you are wasting credits and possibly getting less accurate results; instead, choose one person as the primary and put the other person in the spousal columns.
Step 7: The more information, the better!
More information in your screenings can provide you with better results. This means that if you have information such as middle initial, spouse, or business tie, you should include it in your screening (assuming you think it’s accurate). It’s worth taking the time to prepare your file and ensure that it includes everything of value.
Therefore, if you’re conducting ‘Express screening,’ you may want to use the Detailed template. It has the same required fields as Basic; it just offers additional optional columns.
Step 8: Attributes
This is where you can invent your own miscellaneous columns. They have no impact on profiles but can be used to later segment your results.
For example, if you track volunteer work in your system and you want to be able to see who in your file has both, excellent scores and has volunteered for you, then you can make Attribute 1 a volunteer indicator. If you want to identify people based on where you found them, you can have Attribute 2 identify the event/program in which they first became involved.
Once you receive the results of your screening, you can use these special attributes to filter.
Step 9: Add rows of headers.
If you are conducting ‘Express Screening,’ you can make the following changes to the template: add additional rows or change column headers. This is frequently used for two purposes:
Certain fields are called something else in your database – and you want to remind yourself what the normal terminology is.
You are using the Attribute columns and want to identify what they stand for.
When you go to upload the Express screening, the computer will ask you how many "Rows to Skip" before it counts your first person.
Step 10: Name your file.
Once you are ready to submit your screening, pay attention to the name of your file. It will default to your username and the date, but you can change it. Keep in mind that if you have two uploads under the same name, the system will likely combine the files.