About the Donor Pyramid

Kindful displays a Donor Pyramid on your Dashboard to make it easy for you to see a visual of donors who gave in the past 12 calendar months, segmented by gift total.

This feature is still in Beta, meaning some data may not render as expected. We welcome your thoughts as we continue to refine it.

This article seeks to explain the details of how the Donor Pyramid is calculated. 

Overview: What is the Donor Pyramid?

The Donor Pyramid is a chart with three tiers. Each tier represents a collection of contacts. All of the contacts within a particular tier have a transaction total that falls within a unique range based upon the dataset.

When is the Donor Pyramid Calculated?

The Donor Pyramid is calculated once a day, during the night (relative to the United States).

How is the Donor Pyramid Calculated?

The Donor Pyramid is calculated based upon an organization’s unique settings and dataset. Our engineers have developed an intelligent, highly performant calculation process, that, in reality, is very complex. The remainder of this article will explain our calculation process from a conceptual standpoint.

Time Frame

First, we calculate the timeframe for the Donor Pyramid.

The timeframe for the Donor Pyramid is the past 12 calendar months. Exactly what “past 12 calendar months” means is dependent upon today’s date.

Examples

  • If this is January 15, 2018,
    • Then the past 12 calendar months is 2/1/2017–1/31/2018
  • If this is April 17, 2018,
    • Then the past 12 calendar months is 5/1/2017–4/30/2018

A note on time zones

Your organization’s time zone setting is used when determining which day a transaction occurs on. You can set your time zone in General Settings.

Contacts

Which contacts are included?

Next, we make a list of all contacts that are included in the Donor Pyramid.

We include all contacts that have at least one transaction during the applicable timeframe. We don’t include contacts that have given no transactions, even if they have given one or more non-cash gifts or soft credits. In other words, a contact must have at least one “hard money” transaction for the applicable timeframe in order to be included in the Donor Pyramid. Achived contacts are included in this formula.

 

Examples

Is Contact included in the Donor Pyramid?

Devin Dohner made a credit card transaction within the Past 12 Calendar Months.

Yes

Demetrius Dohner was soft credited for Devin Dohner’s transaction. However, Demetrius Dohner does not have any “hard money” transactions in Kindful within the Past 12 Calendar Months.

No

Devin Dohner has a credit card transaction within the Past 12 Calendar Months. Kathy, a Kindful user, archived Devin’s Contact record.

Yes

Donnie Donner made a transaction today for the first time in 2 years.

No

(but Donnie Donner will appear in the Donor Pyramid tomorrow)

 

Example

Let’s say the following 10 contacts all have at least 1 transaction for the applicable time frame. These contacts will be included in the Donor Pyramid.

  • Bob ($99)
  • Edwin ($60)
  • Chaz ($95)
  • Fozzie ($35)
  • James ($1)
  • Harriet ($10)
  • Annie ($100)
  • Isabella ($5)
  • Donatello ($65)
  • Gertrude ($34)

Order the Contacts

After determining which contacts should be included, we order the included contacts based upon their total dollar amount for the applicable timeframe. (Keeping in mind that only “hard money” transactions are considered, not soft credits or non-cash gifts.)

Example

We would order the contacts like this:

  • Annie $100
  • Bob $99
  • Chaz $95
  • Donatello $65
  • Edwin $60
  • Fozzie $35
  • Gertrude $34
  • Harriet $10
  • Isabella $5
  • James $1

Group the contacts into three tiers

Next, we look for two logical breakpoints in this list so that we can form a pyramid with three tiers.

Our ability to do this well is dependent upon the data.

  • We try to create a bottom group of contacts that together makes up 55% of the total contact count.
    • If 100 contacts gave in the applicable time frame, then ideally 55 of those contacts make up the bottom of the pyramid
  • We try to create a middle group of contacts that is 35% of the total contact count.
    • If 100 contacts gave in the applicable time frame, then ideally 35 of those contacts make up the middle of the pyramid
  • We try to create a top group of contacts that is 12% of the total contact count.
    • If 100 contacts gave in the applicable time frame, then ideally 12 of those contacts make up the top of the pyramid

In our example of only 10 contacts, we can’t get groups of exactly 55%, 33%, and 12% because we can’t have a fraction of a contact in one group and a fraction of that same contact in another group. We’ll explain more on that later.

So, given our source dataset of 10 contacts, here is how we can group the contacts into top, middle, and bottom tiers:

Annie (100)

Top

Bob (99)

Middle

Chaz (95)

Middle

Donatello (65)

Middle

Edwin (60)

Bottom

Fozzie (35)

Bottom

Gertrude (34)

Bottom

Harriet (10)

Bottom

Isabella (5)

Bottom

James (1)

Bottom

 

And here is how we would visualize the same data as a pyramid:

   

Annie (100)

     
 

Bob (99)

Chaz (95)

Donatello (65)

   

Edwin (60)

Fozzie (35)

Gertrude (34)

Harriet (10)

Isabella (5)

James (1)



Now that we have a pyramid, let’s examine it in more detail.

In our original definition, we said that:

All of the contacts within a particular tier have a transaction total that falls within a unique range, based upon the dataset.

So, our ranges for this dataset are:

Top: Contacts who gave $100 or more in the past 12 calendar months

Middle: Contacts who gave between $65 and $99.99 in the past 12 calendar months

Bottom: Contacts who gave $64.99 or less in the past 12 calendar months

And now that we have three tiers, each with a group of contacts that have a transaction total within a certain range, we can calculate totals and percentages for each tier.

What if my Donor Pyramid doesn’t look like a pyramid?

Whether or not your Donor Pyramid “looks like a pyramid” depends upon the given dataset. It may not be possible to get close to these ideal percentages. There are three factors to consider:

  • A contact is never split across multiple tiers.
  • Each contact in the top tier gave more than every contact in the middle tier, and each contact in the middle tier gave more than every contact in the bottom tier
  • We assume that each tier is significantly distinct from the other tiers

 

Examples

Whole contacts

In our example of 10 contacts, when we find the top 12% of donors, we get 1.2 donors (since 10 * 0.12 = 1.2).

However, since we always count whole contacts, we will get as close to our ideal scenario as possible by including 10%, rather than 12%, of the contacts in the top tier.

Same amounts

In our example of 10 contacts, Annie gave $100, which was more than the next contact, Bob, who gave $99. But what if the top 40% of the contacts in the list all gave $100? All contacts with the same transaction total will be in the same tier, and so our top tier would be 40%.

Distinct tiers

Let’s say half of your contacts gave $100 during the past 12 calendar months and the other half gave $10. In this case you would only have two tiers (not three).

Or, if all of your contacts had transaction totals within a very small range (e.g. between $15 and $100), then there likely is not a significant enough difference in the tiers to draw a pyramid.

 

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