Development Analytics Project: Donor Survey Analysis and Predictive Modeling


It is the task of thousands of not-for-profit organizations to fundraise most or all of the annual budget with which they operate. These firms utilize some mixture of art and science to convince public and private groups and individuals to contribute to the mission of the not-for-profit. Thus, for the myriad altruistic undertakings upon which these groups are established to be pursued effectively, the not-for-profits must also be effective fundraisers.

One such not-for-profit, Pisgah Legal Services (PLS), works to combat inequality in Western North Carolina through its provision of free legal aid relating to issues of domestic violence, eviction, and other civil problems affecting the poor. To assist with PLS’s fundraising efforts—and by extension, the mission of those aforementioned programs—I combined a holistic understanding of the organization and the region it serves with data analysis techniques to further streamline the group’s philanthropic goals.

I (1) analyzed and presented the findings of an annual donor survey in order to better understand the PLS supporter network and (2) constructed several quantitative models to assess various levels of donor engagement as well as predict future giving rates. Using these qualitative and quantitative methods, I was able to better contextualize PLS’s fundraising efforts and to provide actionable improvements to existing fundraising initiatives.