In this video, we assume the role of a prospect researcher entering a capital campaign and identify and do some quick qualification on a corporate giving prospect. This video also demonstartes how CharityCAN uses relationship mapping to show you connections your organization has to your prospect.
We all know how important relationship mapping is to philanthropic prospect research. However, not all relationship mapping is created equal.
There are two main kinds of relationship mapping:
- Relationship mapping done with internal data
- Relationship mapping done with external data
Relationship mapping done with internal data uses information you know about your donors and prospects. Think creating a family tree that links a current donor with a prospect who know is his or her niece.
Relationship mapping done with external data uses information from outside your organization to show you how people are connected. Think a graph showing you how a prospect is connected to other people of interest based on the corporate boards your prospect sits on.
Now that we’ve got that covered, here’s the good news: you can combine both types of relationship mapping using Custom Relationship Mapping in CharityCAN. This feature opens up CharityCAN’s relationship data and mapping functionality and allows you to create and edit maps. You can define family, personal, and professional relationships by type and length and CharityCAN will automatically pull in everything we know about the people in your custom map.
Another great benefit about Custom Relationship Mapping is the ability to associate people with your organization. Let’s say your organization has a well connected donor or volunteer and you want to use his or connections while you are qualifying prospects. Or you are creating a fundraising committee and you want to reveal all of their connections in CharityCAN like you can with your Board members. All you need to do is create a custom relationship map and link these people to your organization. Then, whenever you are looking at a profile in CharityCAN, whether it is an individual, a company or a foundation, CharityCAN will use that person’s connections as though they are a current or historical board member and show if you are connected to your prospect.
If you have any questions or would like a quick walk-through of this feature please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Relationship mapping has become an integral part of philanthropic prospect research. Relationship mapping can show you how to connect with a prospect, the connections of a board member or major donor, and the different ways your organization is connected to another organization.
Most of the time when we map relationships we are looking to realize, or visualize, a certain connection. Perhaps you want to see how your board connects to the board of Barrick Gold or maybe you want a list of corporate boards a new board members sit on. In both cases we know the beginning and the end of the relationship chain we are trying to map.
This type of relationship mapping is incredibly useful and this utility is the main reason relationship mapping is such a big component of CharityCAN. That said, you are leaving potentially important information on the table if you are only concerned with getting from point A to point B.
Consider the Relationship Path search below:
In this search, we are looking for connections Headwaters Health Care Foundation has to Enbridge Inc. There are 14 total connections and the strongest one is Ron Hay to Al Monaco. This is a big win: Headwaters has a connection to the CEO of Enbridge (Al Monaco) through a past board member (Ron Hay). If we were prospect researchers looking into the viability of Enbridge (or Al Monaco) as a major gift prospect our relationship mapping exercise has been an unqualified success. That said, there is something we may be overlooking here: Blake Goldring, the intermediary in the Headwaters-Enbridge connection.
Let’s take a closer look:
When we expand Blake Goldring’s organization list we can see he is quite active on both philanthropic and corporate boards. He’s connected to organizations including WWF Canada, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Sunnybrook, AGF and Acuity. On first glance, Blake Goldring appears to be an interesting prospect – as a major gift prospect himself or as a link to the companies he’s associated with. Let’s dig a little deeper to see if our fledgling assumptions about our intermediary connection hold true.
When we look at the donation records CharityCAN has on file for Blake Goldring, we see over 300 gifts to a wide variety of causes, including a number of six and seven figure gifts. When we look at the donation records CharityCAN has on file for AGF (Blake Goldring is the CEO and Chairman of the Board), we see over 400 gifts to a wide variety of causes, including a number of six and seven figure gifts with a decided tilt towards healthcare and hospital giving.
While the original intent of this relationship mapping exercise was to explore connections between Headwaters and Enbridge, we would be remiss to not acknowledge the value surfaced when we explored Blake Goldring, the intermediary connection in our original search. Blake Goldring is a legitimate major gift prospect. The companies he is associated with are legitimate donation/sponsorship prospects. Paying attention to the intermediary connection in our search has been a good use of time.
As more fundraising organizations engage in relationship mapping, the ones that pay attention to the entire map, not just the point A to point B journey, will be the ones that come out ahead.
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.”
"It's a huge help knowing which board/senate members are connected to these prospects"
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!
What is relationship mapping
Relationship mapping is a visual representation of connections among individual items. Most often relationship maps are used to show how people and organizations are connected, but they can be used to represent connections amongst almost anything. Family trees and workplace organizational charts are examples of relationship maps most of us are familiar with.
Relationship mapping is useful because it allows the mapper to not only visualize connections, but to realize and utilize connections. A person looking at his extended family tree is able to visualize his connection to his third-cousin, realize how he connected to his third cousin , and utilize family members they share connections with to get in touch with her. A manager looking at her company’s organizational chart is able to visualize her connection to an employee in another office, realize how she is connected to the employee, and utilize those connections to solve a work-flow problem.
How can it be applied to philanthropic prospect research?
Relationship mapping has a strong application in philanthropic research. In a world where the maxim ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ approaches a truism, understanding and using relationships is essential.
Mapping the relationships of a major donor, board member, or friend of the organization provides valuable fundraising intelligence. Depending on the types of relationship you decide to map, you can answer the following questions:
- Who are my subject’s immediate family members? (family map)
- Who in this network sits on the board of a family foundation? (philanthropic board map)
- Who is my subject’s strongest professional acquaintance? (employment/corporate board map)
- Has anyone in this network made a $100,000+ gift? (donation history map)
Connecting to donors
Connecting with potential donors is another useful way relationship mapping can be applied to philanthropic research. Picture a scenario where two organizations are both researching a company they feel would make a great sponsor. Organization 1 uses relationship mapping and learns that one of their former board members currently serves on a unrelated board with a VP at the company. Organization 2 has a similar connection, but doesn’t map relationships so is unaware of the connection. All other things equal, Organization 1 has an advantage over Organization 2 in the pursuit of this sponsorship.
Relationship mapping is a simple concept most of us are familiar with in some capacity. Applying relationship mapping to philanthropic research can yield serious benefits. Relationship mapping allows philanthropic researchers to visualize, realize, and utilize connections for the benefit of their organization.
Sometimes prospect research is about looking at list of names and determining propensity, affinity and capacity. This is typically how things work at larger organizations. A near endless stream of names pouring in due to brand recognition, marketing campaigns, event attendee lists, and alumni and patient databases, means that some prospect researchers are never without a name to work on.
For prospect researchers without that level of inbound traffic, early funnel research is an essential part of the prospect research process. After all, you can’t qualify or disqualify prospects you don’t have yet.
In this guide, we will discuss early funnel prospect research and show you how to find new names you can convert into donors.
Searching donation records is the best place to find early funnel prospects. Full stop. Donation records tell you three extremely valuable things:
- The causes and organizations the prospect gives to
- The dollar ranges the prospect gives in
- The geographic location the prospect gives in
A prospect is well on the way be being qualified if he or she is:
- Giving to organizations with missions similar to yours
- Giving in dollar ranges that meet your objectives
- Giving in the geographic area your organization positively impacts
Proximity based prospect research mainly relies on a single assumption: If my prospect lives in the area my organization positively impacts, he or she is more likely to make a gift than some who does not live in the area my organization positively impacts.
Follow the link for more on proximity based prospect research.
Reviewing biographies (especially if they are electronic and searchable) is a fantastic place to find early funnel prospects for two reasons. One, people who have biographies tend to be wealthy, influential, or both. This is especially true of biographies found in collections such as Canadian Who’s Who. Two, a biography can give you useful information that will help you qualify or disqualify the prospect.
The following questions are instructive when searching and reading biographies:
- Was the person born in the city or town my organization is active in?
- Does my organization have a strong group of supporters that attended that same school as the person? Is there anything about this person’s education history that connects him or her to my organization?
- Does this person currently live in the same city my organization is active in?
- Is there anything about this person’s career highlights that suggest a possible connection with my organization? Keep an eye out for phrases that indicate the person championed certain causes at his or her organization. If your mission ties into those causes you could be well on your way to finding a new prospect.
- Is there anything about this person’s personal life that suggests a possible connection with my organization? Phrases such as “lifelong interest in the arts” and “strong commitment to at risk youth” are what you want to look for here.
Mining your organization’s connections is an extremely effective way to find early funnel prospect. Almost all boards have a fundraising mandate, even if it isn’t explicit. Talk to your board members. Ask them about their personal and professional networks. Relationship mapping is a fantastic way to both mine and visualize those connections. Follow the links below for more on relationship mapping: