Having worked at Le Moyne College for over 20 years, Deborah Reinhardt Youmans has learned how to build value into a prospect research management program. When she first started as Director for Advancement Research, the College was spending significantly on prospect research and wealth screening tools but wasn't applying the information in a strategic and team-oriented approach to realize strong returns on investment. Today, her strategy involves routine donor and prospect screenings, internal data mining, ongoing prospect tracking, and more importantly, prospect management meetings in close coordination and communication with development officers.

Eight years ago, Northwestern University laid the groundwork for a systematic prospect identification and management program. At the time, the development office struggled to define and segment the university’s prospect pool—only 2,200 individuals carried any sort of qualification rating, and many of the ratings were arbitrary and had not been validated by the research department.

Roanoke College has been a client of Datatel for more than 11 years; first using the Benefactor donor management system then upgrading to Colleague Advancement in 2008. At that time, Datatel and WealthEngine partnered to integrate WealthEngine screening data into Colleague Advancement which has since created a seamless integration and batch screening process that Roanoke can employ completely within their donor management system.

Saint Mary's College had done a wealth screening, but it had been years before and no one was involved in the process, Joni Warner explained. So, Warner, Director of Research for Development at the college, had a lot of decisions to make as she began to investigate the possibilities of a screening. She knew questions like these would need to be answered: What is our plan? What will we find most helpful in the results?

Stevenson University, Maryland’s third largest independent university is renowned for its unique blend of liberal arts and career preparation. Located in Stevenson, Maryland, the University has substantially increased enrollment of its student body and alumni in the past decade. Founded in 1947 as Villa Julie College, the University’s Board of Trustees voted to change the name to Stevenson University after three years of intensive research in June of 2008. In addition, the University completed a restructuring plan with the goal of creating six new schools. With a current enrollment of 3,900 undergraduate and graduate students, Stevenson prides itself with its historically high job/graduate-school placement rates.

Trinity University is one of the nation’s leading private, liberal arts universities, with 2,600 students on its San Antonio, Texas campus. Clint Shipp, Ph.D., the Senior Director at Trinity, was brought on board to formalize projects and processes as a capital campaign was contemplated. “As a prelude to a feasibility study, we wanted to further analyze our database to gain a thorough understanding of our constituents’ ability and propensity to give,” says Shipp.

Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) plays an important role in helping to provide the resources to support the mission of the University and its vision for the future. With over 500 employees across the University in more than 25 Schools, Centers and Central functions, DAR operates as a decentralized organization with a centralized management structure. Over the years, Penn has used an integrated approach to institutional advancement, recognizing that a large part of success in fundraising is due to the strength and commitment of over 300,000 Penn alumni.

For 23 years, Debra Darling has been conducting prospect research—full-time or on her own as a major gift officer. Currently Director of Prospect Development at Washington & Lee University, Darling has found that the ratio of proactive research (identifying and researching new prospective donors) versus reactive research (developing information on previously identified/known donors and prospects) she chooses to use depends on the stage of a campaign, current fundraising priorities, or maturity of the fundraising program. While she believes that all research shops should be proactive at least 50% of the time, certain stages require a higher degree of activity to ensure campaign success.

Creating opportunities for alumni and constituent engagement is a priority in William Paterson University's advancement office. The culture of the department goes well beyond securing gifts—they seek to create a dynamic community where people want to give because they've had a positive experience with the University. In fostering good will, the University looks for opportunities to "give back" and celebrate alumni and constituent accomplishments. One new strategy for building engagement is the application of social media techniques to support networking, prospect research and cultivation.

For Steve Fitch, Prospect Management Director at Cleveland Clinic, integrating the Research/Prospect Management group with the development staff has become a personal mission. “When I first joined Cleveland Clinic in 2002, we had three researchers who were hidden away, never to see or meet with development officers. Today, there are five of us and Research/Prospect Management has evolved into an essential part of the fundraising team. ” The results can be found in the total dollars raised—overall fundraising has grown by 54% since 2002.

Pages

Subscribe to WealthEngine RSS