dog unsplash  Matthew Wiebe photo-1423958950820-4f2f1f44e075Matthew Weibe photo, courtesy Unsplash

Did you know that Ben and Jerry’s most profitable customers buy both Ben and Jerry’s and other brands of ice cream? These “disloyal” customers spend about $400 a year on Ben and Jerry’s alone. Whereas their “loyal” customers—those who only buy Ben and Jerry’s—spend about $200 a year. Half as much. Each disloyal customer is literally worth two loyal customers.

Do donors behave the same way? Yes.

The Insight Data Cooperative is Australia’s largest donor-data cooperative, combining the transactional data of over 100 charities, with over 2 million records, and over 20 million financial transactions.

We asked our friends at Insight to compare the financial performance of donors who give to only one charity with donors who give to 2, 3, 4, or 5+ charities. Here’s what we found:

 Insight Data Cooperative chart Total Donated February 2015

Donors who give to only one charity give less to that charity than donors who give to more than one. When a donor gives to 2 or more charities, they give more to each one.

Then we looked at Average Gift:

   Insight Data Cooperative chart Average Gift February 2015

Again, donors who give to more than one charity also give more on average to each one.

Insight Data Cooperative chart Retention February 2015

With one exception, donors who give to more than one charity also give more frequently to each one. And for donors who give to 5+ charities, although they give slightly less frequently, their higher average gift and higher total donations make them far more valuable than donors who give to only one charity.

This is why nonprofits need to ensure they’re regularly examining their donor data and challenging assumptions, and also not prematurely ruling out whole segments of prospects who, if given the opportunity, may become your strongest supporters.

Now, who wants ice cream?

Derek Glass is a Principal at Ask2 and a guest contributor to Innovairre Communications, which supports more than 500 nonprofit organizations around the world. To learn more about mining vital insights from your donor data, contact us at Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. A version of this article previously appeared on LinkedIn Pulse.