by Matt Charters | Jun 26, 2019 | Case Study, Power User Profile, Relationship Mapping
One of our CharityCAN subscribers is a researcher at a major Ontario arts organization, and earlier this spring she was given a task by her team’s gift officers: find ways to personally connect with current patrons that did not yet have an established relationship with the organization.
As she put it, “As is true for many not-for-profit organizations, our fundraising efforts can only be successful when we develop strong and respectful relationships with our donors.” Armed with a list of almost 175 prospects prepared by her gift officers, she set out to find people associated with her organization who could be liaisons to these prospective donors and encourage the building of relationships with them.
Her first task was to identify the members of the organization’s board and senate, plus a few other advocates – minus any inactive or deceased board members – and then create prospect profiles for those advocates and the list of prospects within CharityCAN.
“It took a couple of days to create the prospect profiles” she said, “but it was worth the work [to ensure] that all possible connections for each of our organization and patron contacts were explored.” She also noted that “creating the prospect profiles also helped to clarify which contacts actually had viable connections to explore.”
Once the profiles were created, she used CharityCAN’s relationship path search to find connections between patrons and organization contacts. In total, she was able to find 150 direct connections to 64 patrons and over 7,000 indirect connections to 102 patrons, and then create the final reports for her team using the data exported directly from CharityCAN. In the end, that’s direct connections to over one third of the prospects put forward by the gift officers. If you remove the 50 American prospects that aren’t in our relationship mapping data, the success rate goes up to 50%!
While she noted that “this is not a project that’s designed to provide ‘instant’ results … the information I provided has been received with optimism.” She also shared that one of her gift officers mentioned that “it’s a huge help knowing which board/senate members are connected to these prospects.” Since they will be tracking the success rate of the project over time, it will be interesting to watch how these new relationships develop.
Now that she has the relationship and profile information she needs in CharityCAN, she also said she’s started including connections found using the relationship path search function in a dedicated section of the profile reports she prepares for new prospects.
It’s great to learn firsthand how an organization is using relationship mapping to help their fundraising efforts. If you’d like to take a look at some of our relationship mapping tools, contact us for a free trial!
by Matt Charters | May 7, 2019 | Case Study, Power User Profile, Prospect Research
What does it take to start a fundraising program from scratch? I sat down over coffee with Kathie Must, Manager, Philanthropy at Reception House Waterloo Region, to find out. Kathie started at Reception House in October of 2017 and became a CharityCAN user not long after that. Since we get asked sometimes about early stage fundraising, I asked Kathie if she could share some of her story and she was gracious enough to agree.
Reception House is a “community-based organization that provides warm welcome to government assisted refugees,” helping newcomers settle in Canada and Waterloo Region. Before Kathie started their fundraising program, they were almost entirely government funded, with only a very small group of loyal supporters and a few monthly and online donors. So, Kathie’s first order of business was to look inward, identifying the resources Reception House did have, and to put together a plan on how to use them.
What they had was a great story, awareness of the program within the community, and a well-connected and respected executive director. Kathie put together Reception House’s “elevator pitch” and then started the process of looking for potential funding sources.
To do that, Kathie took the first step of profiling her own organization. “One of the things we used CharityCAN for was to compare us to other like organizations,” she said. “If we compare ourselves to other organizations of similar size in the settlement sector, who supports them? Who are the ones who are more likely to feel a connection to what we are doing?”
After identifying some potential funders, Kathie started planning a calendar and used her connections to reach out. “Even for foundations, you don’t just send in an application,” Kathie said. “How do you get to know them; how do you share what you’re doing [and] find someone who might be able to give a warm referral?” After finding connections, she also worked backwards to find the best times to put in an application for funding or make specific asks. When meeting with potential donors, Kathie used research to prepare her colleagues. “If we talked about a potential source or a potential foundation, I was able to put together very quickly a briefing note with some really good information,” Kathie said. “To get people to act, you need to give them enough information that they feel confident, so that was really helpful.”
Over that first year, Kathie focused on being not just a fundraiser but a facilitator for the team. “I think being more intentional, being more strategic, even for a small organization makes a lot of sense,” Kathie said. “Thinking about the research, because cultivation starts at prospect research. It’s all about relationship. And then making sure everyone is involved. Like the program manager who gets a grant funded – [making sure] the program manager is writing the thank you [to the donor]. I know that message will be valued by the donor and will show the impact of her gift on our program.”
So how did all this fundraising strategy help Reception House? “We far exceeded our targets for this year,” Kathie remarked. “[We met] some of those goals that felt like stretch goals at the beginning.”
Going forward, Kathie hopes to start expanding more into individual giving and using prospect research to help figure out what makes their donors choose them, and make sure Reception House can continue its mission. “My dream for this region is that we become the most diverse, culturally wise community to show to the world,” Kathie said. “We’re helping support a group that tends to be the most vulnerable, but they also have so much potential. Being part of a fabulous team that helps make that happen is really important.”
by Robert Fedderson | Feb 6, 2019 | Power User Profile, Prospect Research
Whitney Neilson is a Stewardship and Donor Engagement Officer at Stevenson Memorial Hospital Foundation in Alliston, Ontario. Whitney uses CharityCAN to conduct research on current and prospective donors. Whitney and the Stevenson team are long time CharityCAN users and we are proud to feature Whitney in our latest Power User Profile.
I use CharityCAN as the starting point for all of my prospect research. Typically, I start with the Integrated Search to see if I can find the right person. I look at their giving history through their donation records, see if they’ve given politically, check their corporate history, and any charity boards they sit on. Then I move to Household Data (if I have their postal code, address, or city at least) to see the estimated worth of their home, as well as the average income in that area. If I then feel this person is a potential donor, I add their profile to my list of prospect profiles. I also use the Integrated Search to update research that was done in the past on current donors and prospects.
My favourite things about CharityCAN are the Household Data tool and the Integrated Search. Household data allows me to quickly see household net worth, income levels and average donation amount. This is excellent for helping to determine capacity in a way that I can’t find elsewhere. Integrated Search allows me to sea person’s donation records, public sector salary, charity boards, etc. all on one screen in, rather than searching them individually like in some other tools I use.
Household Data, ZoomInfo, Donation Records, and Public Sector Salaries are the datasets I use the most.
One story that comes to mind is a donor who had been giving at the $1,000 level for a couple of years. CharityCAN allowed me to discover this donor had been giving much larger donations to other organizations. I would never have been able to find these gifts elsewhere. We worked with the donor, engaged them, and were able to secure a six-figure gift this year, with another six-figure gift expected for next year. And both gifts support a project that we have been having trouble finding major donors for. This was a big win!
If you would like to be a featured power user email us at email@example.com!
by Robert Fedderson | Aug 1, 2018 | Power User Profile, Prospect Research
Cristina Naccarato is an experienced prospect researcher at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and active member of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement Canada (APRA). Cristina first began using CharityCAN as a student at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and made it a priority to advocate for a CharityCAN subscription when she began her position at AGO.
I use CharityCAN in a variety of ways. It’s always the first place I go whenever I come across a new potential prospect. I put the name into the integrated search and use the results to guide the rest of my research. I find it provides a great overview of a prospect, but also gives me the ability to check the other data sets to find more information when necessary.
I love Relationship Paths. I use it regularly to see how new prospects, or even foundation boards, are connected to our trustees. I’ve found a lot of great connections using the tool and it has helped my Major Gifts team get closer new prospects.
I use the donation records every day. I find them super easy to customize and sort. I also love that they provide links to the source information.
CharityCAN has helped me with almost all of my “big wins!” Here is one of my favourite stories: I was doing research on a prospect and using the Charity Research tools I noticed a very large donation to a large Ontario university, but from what I could tell, this prospect had no other ties to the university. Further, all of the prospect’s giving was in Toronto and Montreal and this university is in neither of those cities. This lead me to do some further research where I found out the prospect made the donation to a specific school at the university. This lead me to uncover a cause the prospect has a strong affinity for.
This was a prospect we haven’t had any affiliation to in years, and we were in the middle of a campaign. An element of that campaign was a project that aligned very well with the affinity I uncovered by digging up info on the university donation. The prospect loved the idea I suggested, supported the project, and even ended up joining our board. This prospect (now donor and board member) has been very involved ever since. CharityCAN helped me uncover this interest and helped with all of the strategy that went into the ask.
If you would like to be a featured power user send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!