Apple Picking (and Giving Propensity)

This weekend I took my family apple picking. Essential public data says:

1) New England over-indexes on apple picking (we live in Boston)

2) Census data shows our household is likely to have a car

3) And our zip+4 over-indexes on kids under 5

That probably gives us a very high likelihood of going, right?

It does.

But what public data doesn't know is that I love baking with apples. I eat an apple as a work snack probably three days a week (2 in my bag right now).

So, what's this got to do with fundraising?

The first three data points are publicly sourceable from place like and Wealth Engine. The last two are not. The last two are things that come up in conversations, on Facebook and Twitter and between people. The last two are why we picked a bushel of apples and not a bag.

That second set of insights is all about propensity; arguably many more times predictive of a gift (or other action) than capacity. I don't need to beat this point too hard into the ground today, but it was a timely recognition of just how meaningful and personal propensity is.

Nick Zeckets