Charitable Healthcare Organization Sees 3x ROI in 2 Months

A charitable healthcare organization wanted to enhance its research into a rare form of blood cancer. They aimed to do this by raising funds through a major gift program. They wanted to identify major gift donors from within their database. With WealthEngine’s  look-alike model,  the nonprofit saw a 3x increase in campaign ROI in 2 months. Read their story to see how they achieved their 3-fold increase.

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Quark Expeditions


Quark partners with WealthEngine to develop more targeted marketing efforts and yields a 20x return on investment through smarter campaigns.

Since 1991, Quark Expeditions has specialized in expedition cruising to the Arctic and Antarctic, on small ice-strengthened ships and icebreakers. Quark delivers an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences for travelers by providing the best ships, the largest number of itineraries, unparalleled technical expertise, and passionate staff leadership, for voyages to the Arctic and Antarctica regions.

The Challenge

The luxury travel industry presents companies with a challenging customer demand: travelers are looking for extraordinary experiences delivered to them with exceptional service. Quark has to navigate through this challenge, as well as a few other difficult ones:

  • The typical selling cycle of a customer is longer with Quark than most travel companies, with the average time being 3-5 years between initial interest to booking.
  • Most of Quark’s customers only take one Polar trip in their lifetime; only about 10% of customers return for a second arctic vacation.
  • Taking a Polar expedition is a major financial and time investment, making it a significant proposition for buyers.
  • Quark is not only competing with other companies specializing in Polar travel, but they are also competing with those serving all adventure travel, or even a resort trip to Mexico or a summer in Europe.
  • Customers are changing – the people that may have taken these trips 25 years ago are not the same as those today, so it has become more challenging to find those who will convert.

With all of these challenges, understanding more about their prospects’ wealth and affinities is extremely important for Quark to help them better target their marketing and sales efforts.

The Solution

Rachel Hilton, Quark’s Vice President of Customer Experience, engaged with WealthEngine due to her experiences from a previous career role. She has a nonprofit background and was familiar with using WE in the fundraising space. After looking into the problem more, Rachel realized that there was an opportunity to append relevant wealth and lifestyle attributes from WE onto her own internal database in order to develop a target profile and find better prospects.

Quark engaged WealthEngine in multiple phases. The goal of the first phase was to develop recommendations for how to target new prospects. The WE team performed a detailed analysis of the customer base. Quark’s entire customer database was screened and appended with WE’s consumer database of over 240 million individuals. Over 1500 attributes were analyzed, including demographic, lifestyle, career, wealth, and philanthropic factors. From this analysis, WE identified a custom segment that best characterized the customers most likely to engage with Quark.

Using this information, WealthEngine performed the second phase, delivering an email campaign to a qualified prospect audience based on the aforementioned analysis of consumer wealth, demographics, and lifestyle data.

The goals of the campaign were as follows:

  • Communicate with a specific potential prospect
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Facilitate the increase of traffic to the Quark website
  • Generate potential leads
  • Support the conversion of prospects

A total of six touches were deployed throughout the year as part of the campaign. Because Quark was able to utilize WealthEngine’s comprehensive data set, they were able to target individuals that best fit their ideal profile through WE’s prospecting solutions. This meant that they didn’t waste time marketing to those unlikely to convert, and instead, focused their efforts on those that were most likely to drive bookings.


WealthEngine’s analysis helped to shift Quark’s planning and strategy. Now that they had a better picture of their best customers, they could better segment their prospect base and build out a comprehensive strategy. Hilton explains, “We used our target profile to better adapt our messaging and become more tactical with our marketing efforts.”

Quark saw a positive impact using the analysis performed by WealthEngine. Some of their most significant results include:

  • Understanding that their target customers were older, high net-worth individuals with discretionary income who have shown affinities to travel, outdoor leisure, and cold-weather activities.
  • Executing five email campaigns and one direct mail piece, directly focused on these target profiles as the foundation.
  • Obtaining 77 new bookings as a result in the campaign, driving a 20x return on their investment with WE!
  • Increasing the speed at which customers are converting and flowing through their buying journey – by targeting individuals who are able to purchase.

Next Steps

Quark has not only seen outstanding results from their email campaign, but they have also gained invaluable insights from WealthEngine’s profile of their customer base. They are using this analysis to help with other marketing initiatives, such as lead generation and brand strategies. The biggest value add for Hilton has been the outstanding results of this initial campaign. “I have been impressed with the accuracy of WealthEngine’s data and the impact targeted prospecting has yielded,” says Hilton.

Quark’s efforts have been recognized and shared across the other family companies within the parent TUI AG group. Hilton says, “We are in a position where we can share marketing best practices. We’ve let all of our sister companies know about WealthEngine and the results you can get from targeted marketing efforts.”

Quintess Collection


The Quintess Collection is the nation’s leading destination club and provider of member-only vacation homes. By applying the country club model to vacation homes, Quintess gives their members exclusive access to 100+ multimillion-dollar homes and experiences in 40+ destinations worldwide — complemented by membership services and privileges that set the standard for luxury vacations. Since day one, Quintess has been a member-driven club, and is constantly looking for new ways to enhance their members’ experience by offering flexible membership plans to choose from and properties that are equally amazing across all destinations.

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Yale-New Haven Hospital


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.”

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Arena Stage


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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Animal Humane Society


The Animal Humane Society (AHS) is the largest animal welfare organization in the upper Midwest, serving the Twin Cities metro area with five shelters and caring for more than 25,000 animals annually. The impact of the organization is evident in the decline of homeless animals as new holistic programs are implemented by AHS to help keep animals in homes, to spay and neuter animals, and to provide more services for animals to increase their adoptability.

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University of the Sciences


How does a two century old educational institution that has undergone tremendous change keep its alumni connected and engaged? University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA (USciences) is doing just that. Founded in 1821, the University was the first college of pharmacy in North America. Today, it has grown to serve more than 2,800 students across five colleges, offering undergraduate and graduate programs across a range of sciences and health sciences. From treating, researching, and studying diseases and cures on a molecular level to the medicines that improve the lives of people worldwide, USciences is about moving life forward.

The Challenge

As Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Carrie Collins is faced with the challenge of building effective fundraising and marketing programs across all aspects of the University, including Development, Alumni, Marketing and Communications, and Government and Community Affairs. With a staff of 25, of which only five focus on fundraising – including one focusing on major gifts, two professionals focused on annual giving, and one focused on corporate and foundation gifts, Collins is an avid believer in taking a data-driven approach to engaging donors and maximizing the ROI of fundraising.

USciences has three major fundraising programs: Major and Planned Gifts, Annual Giving and Corporate and Foundation Relations. Further emphasis is also being place on alumni engagement. “With all of the changes our institution has undergone since we achieved university status in 1997 – new buildings, new programs, a new brand and image – making our alumni feel connected to who we are today is important,” explains Collins.

The Solution

To maximize the effectiveness of these programs, Collins has utilized wealth screenings and appends to identify and segment donors, and to prioritize her team’s prospecting and cultivation efforts. She employs a number of analytic approaches to maximize and quantify her success, including:

  • Leveraging data to segment donors, create prospect portfolios and prioritize cultivation efforts
  • Developing a scoring system to categorize alumni volunteerism in each stage of the donor lifecycle
  • Tracking of ROI of individual fundraising activities, including solicitations and closures
  • Determining optimal resource allocations and workload assignments
  • Measuring the ROI of frontline fundraisers

Upon arrival to USciences in 2012, Collins immediately began to utilize the WealthEngine data to create meaningful portfolios of prospects that would provide the fundraisers on her team with multiple opportunities for success. For example, utilizing the expectation/rating metric, Collins would assign prospects to the appropriate fundraiser: prospects rated at $500,000 and above were assigned to her; prospects rated between $50,000 and $500,000 were assigned to the major gifts officer; and those rated lower were divided among the two annual giving fundraisers, with an eye to moving annual donors from one level of the leadership society up to the next and to engage and secure gifts from “future donors,” i.e., alumni who had never donated to the institution. As fiscal year 2013 comes to a close, Collins and her team are further refining the prospect assignments, using additional data points, including the number of years an individual has been a consistent donor, to make adjustments to the portfolios.

These data and analytic-driven strategies have enabled Collins to better allocate her team’s time and make more informed decisions around the cultivation strategies that are used. “We’ve done screenings and have used analytics to assess wealth, assets, giving capacity and propensity, but now more than ever before we are using this data to drive our moves management strategy.”

For example, one of their key initiatives this year is alumni engagement, which is centered on showing alumni how important their service to the University is, and celebrating their collective efforts as volunteers and donors. To do this, they have developed a series of key strategic indicators to measure success.

The close of fiscal year 2013 marks the second year that Collins and her Alumni Relations team have been tracking alumni volunteerism, and the first report of such activity–a comparison of FY12 and FY13–is slated for distribution in September 2013. By creating a series of categories of alumni volunteerism, including service on the alumni board, the board of trustees or one of the colleges’ boards of visitors, event hosting and serving as volunteer solicitors, Collins plans to show that USciences’ alumni population is engaged. Highlighting the number of volunteers, the level of their engagement, the number of hours contributed, and linking that information to the number of donors and aggregate dollars donated, Collins hopes to use data to quantify the elusive “alumni engagement” metric.

The Results

Looking at the aggregate data over a period of quarters provides a strong indication of an individual’s performance. While data from a single quarter can also let you know whether someone is on the right track toward success, overall performance cannot be isolated by reviewing a single quarter—after all, since when do gifts close on a consistent basis across quarters?

A frontline fundraiser was added at USciences in September 2012, with the following fourth quarter performance. Compared to her performance expectations, she is conducting an outstanding number of visits, which indicates that she is doing her utmost to meet as many prospects as possible. While the number of proposals she has submitted is low, her yield percentage is perfect. Thus, she does not appear to be engaging in ambush asks and has taken her time to settle into her role and ask at a time and for an amount that’s appropriate. Furthermore, she closed an amount that’s just below her expectation; again, as a newer fundraiser, this is evidence of outstanding fundraising performance.

Frontline Fundraiser: Major Gift Officer Quarterly Measures

Metrics MGO: Quarterly Measures MGO1: Actual
Visits 30 44
Proposals Submitted 4 2
Proposals Closed 2 2
Yield Percentage 50% 100%
Dollars Raised $125,000 $100,000
Cost of Employment (assuming 100% of time spent engaged in frontline fundraising) $42,082 $42,082
Net Dollars Raised $82,918 $57,918
Return on Investment Percentage 297% 238%

Collins herself is subject to performance expectations, and her fourth quarter performance is set forth below. Given that she spends approximately 25% of her time on fundraising, and a lesser dollar amount on travel and hospitality, her cost of employment figure is much lower. However, she is expected to raise a substantially higher amount of money, which represents an ROI of over 3,000%. Collins had an outstanding quarter, closing a $2,000,000 commitment, as well as a few others, resulting in an ROI of over 12,000%!

VP Advancement: Quarterly Measures

Metrics VP: Quarterly Measures VP: Actual
Visits 10 4
Proposals Submitted 3 6
Proposals Closed 1 4
Yield Percentage 33% 67%
Dollars Raised $500,000 $2,025,000
Cost of Employment (assuming 25% of time spent engaged in frontline fundraising) $15,625 $15,625
Net Dollars Raised $484,375 $2,009,375
Return on Investment Percentage 3200% 12960%

Alumni Engagement Results

Initial results of the data comparing alumni engagement in FY12 to FY13 are encouraging. The total number of alumni who volunteered rose 9%, assisted in part by the fact that four additional categories of volunteerism were offered– an increase of 21%. These alumni participated in 306 separate instances of volunteerism, which was a 5% increase over FY12.

Collins will continue to provide new and interesting opportunities for alumni to become engaged in a meaningful way with the University. By tracking this information and presenting it to alumni in a fun and interesting fashion, Collins believes that even more alumni will be inspired to reconnect with their alma mater.

Next Steps

Great fundraisers understand the art of the ask—how to cultivate, when to solicit, and for what purpose. We are all driven to use data in our profession, whether it’s to determine who our best prospects are or whether a particular messaging point was effective in a direct mail solicitation. An ROI report is a helpful tool to measure whether our fundraisers are taking best advantage of the data—the science—that is available to them to perfect their art.