So now you want to submit a list of people to be screened! That’s great – but first, you’ll want to make sure that you are getting the absolute most out of your investment, especially since you’ve got a limited number of credits to use. Let’s take a walk through those key best practices:

Recommendation 1: Set up your Inner Circle.

The Inner Circle is a list of the people you’d feel comfortable asking to speak to a potential donor on your behalf (e.g. board members, long-term advocates, enthusiastic volunteers, etc). If you tell us who they are, the system will then compare your list of friends to each person you search for or screen. It’s kind of like a social network - if it finds that you and one of your leads know somebody in common, it’ll flag that for you!

Make sure you set this up at least the day before you start using credits. This is entirely free.


Recommendation 2: Stick to the template.

If you’re doing an Express screening, remember that it’s being processed entirely by the computer. This means that if you rearrange, delete, or rename any of the columns, the system won’t be able to read your file and it won’t go through. Batch uploads are more flexible.

Recommendation 3: Required fields

You must include first name; last name; street address; city; state; and zip-code.

Any record that doesn’t have this won’t have a good match rate and may not even bring back a profile. Even if you get an error response, it’ll still cost you a credit – so be careful!

Recommendation 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 that person in your system.


Recommendation 5: Giving History.

WE highly recommend including information like giving history. This can factor into certain scores (like Gift Capacity) and can also be used to filter your results once you get them back. 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 haven’t done that for you so far. If you were to reach out and establish a more personal connection, you could see a huge increase in their giving rather than a small bump up from someone who’s already giving you a lot.

Recommendation 6: Screen spouses as a couple.

WE score profiles on a household basis. This means that if we know two people are married, we are automatically pulling all 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 to be the primary and put the other person in the spousal columns.


Recommendation 7: The more information, the better!

The more information you have in your screening, the better the result you may get. This means that if you have information such as middle initial, spouse, or business tie, you should be including it in your screening (assuming you think it’s accurate). Sometimes it’s worth taking more time to prepare your file and make sure that it includes everything of value. It could make your life easier in the long run!

For this reason, if you’re doing an Express screening you may want to use the Detailed template. It has the same required fields as Basic, it just offers additional optional columns.

Recommendation 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 both has excellent scores and has also 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 get the results of your screening back, you can use these special attributes to filter.

  • Note: You can’t rename any of the column headers. However, you can add rows underneath…


Recommendation 9: Adding rows of headers.

If you are doing an Express Screening, there’s only one change you can make to the template: adding additional rows of 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; this is why.

Recommendation 10: Naming your file.

Once you’re ready to actually 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 do two uploads under the same name the system will likely combine the files.