Corporate board perks: a proxy primer

AquariumToday I’d like to talk about executive compensation and the fun perquisites (“perks”) that make looking at a company’s proxy statement really interesting. Perks are those little extra somethings that make the financial lives of company executives and board members just a little bit easier. Like a shiny lure, perks attract the most talented ‘big fish’ and help retain them once they’re hooked.

Think of a proxy statement (aka the DEF 14A) as an aquarium of large and small moving objects that flash silver in the sunlight. Some things are easy to find, like annual compensation. Other things you need to look more carefully for as they glint in the weeds: like the perks. According to many sources (including this one and this one), corporate perks are on the wane. But they’re not extinct yet, and companies are very clever about the creative ways they compensate their executives. [Read more…]

Where in the world to find info about company insiders

foreign biz pressIt’s not only the United States government that requires publicly-held companies to publish information about their key insiders. When you’re trying to get information about corporate insiders around the world, it’s nice to know that many other countries require disclosure as well. Here’s a quick trip around the world with touchdowns in some key markets.


Through the Sedar website, there are at least two forms you can use that report biographical and compensation information for officers and directors. Form 51-102F6 (“Named Executive Officers Compensation”) and the company’s proxy report each provide valuable information about company insiders. Do a quick search here, or visit the company’s website for more information.


Besides the company website, Companies House and DueDil are the places to go for information about companies, both public and private, in the UK. For publicly-traded companies [Read more…]

Researching company insiders

NYSEWe may think of companies as nameless, faceless conglomerates, but the fact is that each one is run by a group of people known as company insiders. They are individuals whose responsibility it is to provide direction, advice, and the scary responsibility of strong-willed fiduciary duty if the company’s blue chips suddenly turn red.

These leaders may be called directors, trustees, or board members; the terms are used fairly interchangeably. [Read more…]

What you and the 1% have in common

What could you and the 1% possibly have in common? HBG Senior Researcher Rick Snyder brings us into the new year with insight on how we can gain a deeper understanding of those we research – and benefit ourselves as well!

It's not all lobster and caviar...or is it?

It’s not all lobster and caviar…or is it?

I have to confess to having occasional twinges of envy in the course of my research and I would guess that’s true for most prospect researchers. We spend a lot of our time looking at people’s seaside vacation homes or reading about someone taking their extended family on a two-week African safari – things that are out of reach to most of us. But while the lifestyles or careers of our prospects may not be attainable to us, there is one attribute common to many of the 1% that the remaining 99% of us can realize. [Read more…]

Social media and high net worth individuals

Dark Eyed JuncoAlthough more people are piling into an ever-growing array of social media outlets every day, it’s still fairly rare to see a Klout score or Twitter summary on a prospect research profile. Maybe it’s because we major gifts specialists assume that it’s only Xers and Millennials using these platforms, and they’re not yet ready to make large gifts.

But according to Ledbury Research, which studies the habits and demographics of high net wealth individuals (HNWI) in the United Kingdom, at least 75% of HNWI use social media regularly.

The largest group actively uses LinkedIn (47%), which makes sense since so many are businesspeople, but Facebook (42%), Google+ (17%) and Twitter (13%) are also used regularly. [Read more…]

Capacity Ratings, 747s, and Volvos

When Volvos dream

Mark Noll, AVP of Research and Development Services at the University of Rhode Island started a conversation earlier this week in an article titled “Why Capacity Ratings are Bunk and What You Can Do About It.” In the post, Noll discusses the difficulties of assigning an accurate capacity rating to prospects. There’s just too much we prospect researchers – and frontline fundraisers – will never know about the totality of someone’s assets and their liabilities. Noll provides a solid lesson on what actually goes into a capacity rating. And what is logically missing. [Read more…]

Take Your Seat at the Table

Today I’m delighted to share an article with you written by guest blogger and HBG team member Grace Chandonnet. As you’ll see, Grace is an eloquent advocate and guide for those of us planning a move toward the strategy table in our fundraising operations.

Businesspeople in Meeting

As a prospect researcher, you have access to some eye-opening tidbits of information, which makes you exceptionally valuable to the fundraising team. The trick is to get others to see it—and to give yourself a seat at the table.

Recently, I started a new working relationship with a gift officer. In our initial meeting, she came right out and asked me to include my observations and opinions in the research that I provide to her. This was a gratifying milestone in my 13-year research career. As researchers, we often talk about how it can be difficult for research to get a seat at the strategy table and here was a frontline fundraiser asking me, unsolicited, with the implicit idea that my opinions were welcomed and valued. This gift officer gets it! [Read more…]

Where in the world to find exactly what you’re looking for

When you’re researching donors that live internationally, it can be hard to know whether you’re looking in the best, most up-to-date places for information.

Working in partnership with researchers all over the world, we’ve been building up a resource that is now available to everyone, for free, no matter where you are.

Over the past 6 months, the Helen Brown Group Research Resources list has been updated weekly (sometimes daily!) and it contains only the most reliable resources used by the HBG team and our friends in the research biz.

No fluffy fill here. Just the best curated resources that researchers across the world actually use on a daily basis.

And watch this space! The list is growing and whole continents and regions are already starting to splinter off. Much like Pangaea when continental drift started to happen.

Click here to visit our list page


International wealth screening companies

Window with a viewIf you’re like most mid-to-large sized charitable or educational organization, you have a growing number of prospects and donors that live outside your home country.

Researching international prospects can be overwhelming, especially if you have a number of constituents and very little information. It’s fairly easy to hit up against a brick wall. What’s the most efficient way to get a window on your very best prospects overseas?

While not perfect, a wealth screening [Read more…]

The UK Mansion Tax: a ‘game changer’ for researchers

Bodnant House

We continue our theme of international research with an extended pause in the UK (because as anybody who knows me knows, I’ll take *any* excuse to pause there!). This week, guest blogger Ben Rymer shares with us some tantalizing news about high net worth real estate in Britain. Ben is the Fundraising Research and Insight Manager at Age UK, the UK’s largest charity working with and for older people, where he has worked for four years.  His professional interest and specialism is in measuring affinity and gauging capacity to give using data.  This is his first article for the Intelligent Edge.  He tweets at @benrymer. [Read more…]