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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.

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.

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.

“WealthEngine expands the capability of our staff,” says K. Murray Fournie, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving at the Indian River Medical Center Foundation. “At a hospital, your best opportunity to build a relationship with a prospective donor is when your services are being used or have just been used. We are using WealthEngine to help us not to miss these moments of opportunity.”

“We rely heavily on prospect research in all that we do,” says Tony Englert, vice president development & external affairs at Loyola University Health System. “We began applying prospect research to our fundraising efforts about 10 years ago and have been increasingly committed to a systematic strategy throughout the years. In fact, our proactive prospect research strategy feeds into all of our fundraising activities, delivering strong results dramatically increasing giving to Loyola.”

Fundraising for any nonprofit organization comes with a common set of challenges. But those faced by Laura R. Tenenbaum are pretty unique since she supports eight foundations at once. Tenenbaum is Director of Planned Giving and Program Development at Saint Barnabas Health Care System, “New Jersey’s largest integrated health care delivery system.” She has been using WealthEngine services successfully for three years to support SBHCS’s six medical center foundations, plus two others.

Qaya Thompson, Development Researcher at Yale- New Haven Hospital (YNHH), doesn't believe in creating any barriers to prospect research. "I support seven development officers (DOs)," says Thompson, "and I want them to have accurate wealth information when and where they need it, as timing is everything in fundraising. All of our development staff have access to FindWealth Online and use it as their primary prospect research tool." The development officers have been shown how to use and interpret the analytics, such as the WealthEngine gift capacity ratings and P2GTM (propensity to give) scores, which are also integrated into YNHH's Raiser's Edge database. Thompson adds, "If they need further information or justification of data, I do in-depth research and create a more comprehensive profile."

Scott Powell, Director of Development at St. Vincent’s Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama wishes he had a dedicated team of prospect researchers to support the Foundation’s development efforts. Instead, Powell explains, “everyone does prospect research to some degree” with success coming from a structured approach combining weekly grateful patient screenings, a comprehensive moves management program and careful examination of return on investment (ROI).

Arena Stage is a Washington, D.C. based Theater Company that produces, presents, develops and studies American Theater. Now in its 62nd season, they host more than ¼ million audience members each year. Arena’s Chief Development Officer, Danielle St. Germain-Gordon, has been with Arena for 18 months, and has a rich background in arts development, including eight years as Associate Director of Development at The Shakespeare Theater and a three year stint as Vice President of Institutional Advancement at the American Association of Museums. She works with a staff of seven who specialize in individual giving, membership, corporate support, operations, prospect research, grants and donor relations. They raise approximately $5.2MM annually for operations.

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