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…]

Casting Your Net Across the Pond: 5 Tips for Effective UK Research

Always a popular fundraising research conundrum, this month’s theme on our blog is finding information on international prospects and donors. We kick off the series with a guest post by HBG Research Associate, Kelly Labrecque, who traveled to the UK to bring back some great resources for us to use…Tower Bridge from White Tower

A few weeks ago, while visiting a client in England, I started to think about how challenging it can be to research prospects outside of the United States. If you’re like me, you spend the majority of your time researching prospects in North America. You know exactly where to look to find what you need – addresses, real estate values, stock holdings, philanthropy, etc. But where do you turn when your prospect lives “across the pond,” specifically, in the United Kingdom?

As researchers, our efforts are often hampered when many of our trusted resources, like Lexis Nexis for Development Professionals, are limited to country-specific (i.e. US-only) information. Also, the UK has strict new guidelines governing donor privacy and doesn’t have the same reporting requirements for corporations and foundations. [Read more…]

Attracting and retaining great employees

staff meeting 2014Finishing up this month’s theme of management and human resources, I wanted to share with you my experience of hiring great team members at The Helen Brown Group.

True Confessions

I never wanted to be a solo prospect research practitioner. I named my company intentionally because I always knew that I wanted to build a team of people to go on this wonderful, crazy journey with me. So hiring people was always going to be in the cards for me. And that’s kind of scary when your name is on the door. When it dawns on you that others will be helping uphold your reputation.

Choosing well is important. So is setting up the value proposition.

Over the course of the 12 years since HBG began, I’ve hired 18 employees. Thirteen of them are still working here today. Two have more than 8 years with the company and one (who had left) even returned with great additional experience. That kind of longevity and (dare I say it?) job satisfaction are rare these days. [Read more…]

You’ve been Boo-ed!

You've been BOO-Ed!

Walked into my office this morning and there it was on my desk: a zipped-up baggie of candy, with a squishy rubber creepie-crawlie and a ghostly note saying “You’ve been BOO-ed!”

It’s raining today and pretty much overcast and gross, but that little bag of goodies brought out the sunshine (and the little kid in me). I dug into the bag immediately for the mini box of Nerds. (Nerds! Ha! Candy irony even!) [Read more…]

Welcome! Now get to work.

Manager with new employeeManager, Day 1: You’ve been short staffed for weeks and your new employee starts this morning. You need them to hit the ground running.

New Employee, Day 1: Need to find the nearest supply room, restroom, and fridge to store a lunch bag. Computer is still in the box. Desk chair was the department hand-me-down that is permanently stuck on floor level. [Read more…]

How to recruit for that hard-to-fill position

poppy wheat1 NKHow do you recruit new employees? That’s always a tough question in the prospect research field.

Partly because there is no college degree in prospect research. High school kids don’t think “Hey! I’m going to be a prospect researcher when I grow up!” Not because it’s not desirable, but because they just don’t know prospect research as a career choice exists. [Read more…]