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The Challenge
The school began their silent phase of a $25 million capital campaign in November of 2014. The goal was to raise the bulk of this money before moving into the public phase.

It became clear to the development team that there was a gap in insights about donor potential among their alumni base. They had a strong network of alumni that intentionally chose to keep in touch and be active supporters, but with over 10k living alumni, they knew there was untapped donor potential outside of this mostly local alumni group. The challenge was identifying...

When the Houston Grand Opera’s season commences this fall with a new production of Madame Butterfly, Larissa Potiomkin will have her prospect pipeline stocked and ready for its own debut. As Manager of Development Information at the Houston Grand Opera, she is a jack of all development trades; performing prospect research, managing the prospect pipeline and soliciting annual gifts. For Potiomkin, it all comes down to the basics, “prospect research data provides direction on whom to target and at what gift level. It’s as simple as that.”

Signature Theatre is a Tony Award®-winning, nonprofit professional theater company with a mission to produce contemporary musicals and plays, reinvent classic musicals, develop new work, and reach its community through engaging educational and outreach opportunities. Beginning in a garage space in 1993, Signature has swiftly become a landmark theater in the DC Region’s theatre scene, as well as a recognized player among the nation’s regional theatres.

Duke University’s The Fuqua School of Business needed a new approach to screening their database of 13,000 alumni records during the silent phase of their campaign. Rather than screen all at once and risk using outdated data and ratings during validation and cultivation, they opted to categorize the alumni by state and screen smaller groups on a monthly basis.

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.

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.

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.

“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.”

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).

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