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.

Since 1983, Healthcare Charities has been serving the people of rural central, eastern and northern Maine by supporting the philanthropic efforts of the Eastern Maine Healthcare System (EMHS). With a guiding tenet that philanthropy has a way of bringing people together working for a common goal and realizing amazing success, Healthcare Charities works with its local community to garner support for its hospitals and other member organizations to keep them on the cutting edge of technology. Thoughtful gifts of all sizes make possible the equipment and research that EMHS doctors and...

“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.

Colorado State University (CSU) is the land grant university of Colorado, founded in 1870 as Agricultural College of Colorado. It has since evolved to a thriving campus of almost 28,000 on campus students and 177,000 living alumni. With one of the top veterinary medicine programs in the world, and outstanding programs in equine, economics, infectious disease, clean energy technologies, environmental science and atmospheric science, CSU attracts an international student body and enjoys a reputation as one of the nation’s top research universities.

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