The Artful Science of Capacity Ratings

It is a great pleasure to welcome Melissa Bank Stepno as this week’s guest writer on The Intelligent Edge. I’ve long admired Melissa’s gift in seeing the big picture in prospect development and her ability to eloquently communicate and train on its finer details. So when she and I were chatting between sessions at the recent NEDRA conference, I grabbed the opportunity to ask her to share her thoughts here on capacity ratings, which has been a hot topic lately on the prospect research discussion forum, prspct-l.

Monet haystacks detail

How much can they give? What should we ask for? How rich is she? What’s his net worth?

Such short questions. Such common questions. Such important questions. [Read more…]

Analytics: The 16 little fields you need to get started

If you’ve been following our company blog for the past month or so, you know that we’ve been focusing on data analytics and what a powerful tool it can be to benefit fundraising. But maybe, like others I’ve been talking with recently, you feel that you’re not yet ready because your data isn’t pristine, or you don’t have enough data, or you just have too much else to do.

If you’re one of those folks who is feeling a little overwhelmed, I put together this brief video just for you. Really, all you need to get started in analytics are these 16 little fields. [Read more…]

Are you ready for analytics?

If you’re a regular reader, you know that each month we feature special guests writing about their favorite topics. This month we welcome HBG Senior Researcher and member of the HBG Analytics team, Tara McMullen to share her thoughts about one of her favorite subjects!
Vintage typewriter

Sometimes it’s hard to get started with a new program or type of technology because we don’t know what its power is. We don’t know what it can DO, so we stick with the old familiar way of doing things. But these days, doing things the same old way can leave your progress lagging and your program looking a little old-fashioned.

Sometimes the basic principles are good, they just need a little updating.

Maybe you are thinking about undertaking a campaign and aren’t sure if you have the critical mass or the right prospects to meet your goal.

Or maybe you are looking to create a prospect management system, and want a way to sort prospects into various stages in the pipeline.

Or maybe you are trying to find new potential volunteers for your board. [Read more…]

Tips from the International Prospect Research Pros

Prague river viewAt the recent NEDRA Conference, a group of prospect research pros shared their knowledge of international research (and got great tips from participants as well!). We discussed the challenges and rewards of international fundraising and research, and the best places to find information on prospects living outside of the United States.

The panel included me as moderator, Emily O’Brien of Massachusetts General Hospital, Laura Parshall of MIT, and Andrew Stuerzel of Wesleyan University.


Questions (and answers) included:

What are some of the barriers to international research/international fundraising, and what are some suggestions you have for alleviating them? [Read more…]

Bookmark These 3 Great Analytics Software Resource Lists

London Eye by Scott Liddell

London Eye, by Scott Liddell,

There are tons of free and fee-based analytics tools. Some are designed for complete novices and others are meant for only the most experienced data scientists.

Wherever on that spectrum you and your team feel most comfortable, there are software tools to help you get the answers you need from the information layers in your database.

New analytics and data visualization tools are being developed every day. Where can you find out which program(s) you should use? [Read more…]

4 Ways You Can Use Analytics To Power Your Fundraising Success

There are few things in fundraising or business that are associated with more hype and perceived barriers to entry than analytics right now.

The benefits can be remarkable and easy to see once you know about them, but lots of folks are nervous to get started because it seems like a jungle with a potentially expensive downside. crab trap abandoned

But it’s worth getting down into the weeds, even a little bit, to avoid missing out on the gold trapped in your data, waiting to be discovered. [Read more…]

Analytics: 4 simple terms everybody should know

eggIn a world where computer processing power doubles every 18 months and disk storage density doubles every year, no matter what industry we’re in, we’ve all got a lot of valuable data sitting idle. It’s just sitting there inside that computer-shell, waiting to be discovered.

Even less-than-perfect data situations (a crummy database, or records that haven’t been updated regularly, for example) have important stories to tell us about what we’ve done well (or badly) and where opportunity lies. You don’t need Big Data to get big answers. [Read more…]

Using Analytics to Pull Away From the Pack

raceHow are top-performing organizations pulling away from their peers? In many cases, it’s through an understanding and clever usage of analytics. This week we welcome HBG Senior Researcher and analytics student and practitioner, Heather Willis, to The Intelligent Edge. Heather shares some of the latest studies with tips on the most important things organizations should do to take advantage of the data available to them.

So: are you a Pacesetter or a Dabbler? What do I mean by that? As you probably already know, we are in the midst of significant change in how we deal with and use the massive amount of data that is being created and collected each day. [Read more…]

Becoming what they’re interested in

Chances are good that you didn’t watch the Superbowl for the game. Me neither – usually. My team was in it this year, which was cool, but like most people, I was there for the ads.  Budweiser puppy

In fact, seventy percent of us usually watch the Superbowl just to see the commercials – those clever and frequently serialized stories that (they hope) grab us and make us talk about them the next day as we’re standing around in a group waiting for the Keurig to spit out the last little bit of our morning brews. [Read more…]