Read time: 4 minutes

Right now, participants from the fall round of our data co-op, Scout Quest, are getting their hands on a bunch of sweet, sweet data, including neat things like which donors and prospects are giving to other nonprofits, how frequently they are giving, and who is taking action for other organizations. 

The best part? Scout Quest protects supporters’ privacy by using only behavioral data, not personally identifiable info.  (And if you’re not a participant yetclick here to find out more! We accept sign ups at any time!)

If you’re one of our Scout Quest participants, you might be feeling giddy about all the potential and possibility. How should you prioritize using this data amongst all your other end of year activities? Fear not! We’ve compiled a Scout Quest Starter Pack list of recs to make the most of your data right away.

  1. The absolute #1 thing you should do if you do nothing else is to identify if you’re holding out people from your emails for being inactive who are clicking on emails for other organizations. Carefully add them back to your email file, confident that these people are using their email accounts. Our friends at League of Conservation Voters did this, and ended up raising over $200k from donors who were previously marked inactive!
  2. Create a re-engagement campaign, targeting the addresses identified in Step 1. Now that you know a bit more about them. Set it up so that anyone who engages in that campaign gets added back to your active file.
  3. Take another pass at groups that are likely to still reengage. Go a step deeper and divide inactive names into categories, such as:
    • TIER 1: People who are inactive for you who have clicked on at least two other organizations’ email in the last 6 months.
    • TIER 2: People who are inactive for you who have clicked on exactly one other organization’s email in the last 6 months.
    • TIER 3: People who are inactive for you who have clicked on one or more organization’s emails in 6-12 months.
    • TIER 4: People who are inactive for you who are donors in the last 12 months to other organizations who otherwise aren’t in tiers 1-3.
  4. If you have a system in place to suppress inactive names after some amount of time, consider taking the group identified in Step 1 and making sure you don’t cut them out prematurely. You know they are engaging with other groups, so give them a little more time to warm up to you.
  5. If you’re running year-end advertising campaigns on Facebook and Google, upload those inactives for audience targeting. On Facebook, we recommend serving them direct fundraising appeals; on Google, you can add them as observation audiences with a bid multiplier. (This enables Google to prioritize these audiences without limiting your ad reach!)
  6. If you are already advertising at a decent scale on Facebook and looking to expand and/or optimize your targeting, use Scout Quest lookalike ad audiences to expand your prospecting universe. On average, ads with prospecting content have generated a 78% higher ROAS relative to their usual prospecting audiences for past Scout Quest participants.

    Hot tip: add the Scout Quest lookalikes to existing ad sets, rather than making new ones: Apple’s iOS14 changes have made it harder than ever for advertisers to exit the learning phase, so consolidating multiple lookalikes into a single ad set will give you a leg up.
  7. Included in your Scout Quest data is a field for each individual’s highest previous contribution among all groups in the co-op. Send targeted messages to audiences who have made larger gifts to other groups, encouraging them to participate at higher levels. It’s the holiday season, after all, and there’s plenty of pie to go around.
  8. Take advantage of the All Important December 31. We know the “Just a few hours left to give!!!” messages on the last day of the year have some of the highest response rates. That makes them the perfect opportunity to give reactivation a try for less active and/or inactive email subscribers.

Taking some or all these steps can help ensure that you are maximizing your list during the Giving Season. If you have suggestions or questions (or want to sign up for Scout Quest!), we’d love to hear from you


Jonathan is a Senior Vice President at M+R. He helps lead the development of our data co-op (hey, that’s Scout Quest! The thing you’re reading about right now!) — as well as our reporting platforms (Scout Reports!), and our annual Benchmarks study. Jonathan also works closely on fundraising strategy for some of M+R’s longest-running clients. You can reach Jonathan at