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!
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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.