As the HBG Book Club group read about tax-free zones called freeports last week in Jake Bernstein’s page-turner, Secrecy World, it was a perfectly-timed coincidence that this fascinating Planet Money podcast came out on that very topic. [Read more…]
When we try to estimate a potential donor’s gift capacity, the fundraising tradition has been to use statistics from the IRS that show that, on average, Americans give around 2-5 percent of their income annually to charitable organizations.
That average is derived from people who itemized charitable deductions. Even though that’s an average, for those of us in prospect research that’s been a reliable percentage to use because, by and large, only people who benefit from itemizing actually bother to do it – and that’s wealthy people. [Read more…]
Over a year ago, an anonymous “John Doe” sent an encrypted message to a newspaper in Germany called Süddeutsche Zeitung. The conversation unfolded like this:
That 2014 cache of data, the equivalent to about 38,000 average-sized books, make up what became known as the Panama Papers.
It’s a trove of documents obtained from the files of a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca, which helped create shell companies and other complex financial instruments in order to assist companies and individuals to evade paying tax in their home countries.
Journalists from nearly 100 news outlets around the world in a collaboration called the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) worked together nonstop for months under tight security and complete secrecy. [Read more…]
From a North American perspective, international prospect research just doesn’t get any better than the United Kingdom.
First of all, there’s no language barrier.
Second, the way information is gathered and distributed by commercial and governmental entities is relatively similar to ours, so navigating around information sources feels …familiar. Logical.
And third, many of the resources that provide information here in the US (like LexisNexis, Factiva, D&B, and Moody’s) also offer products and services in the UK, so there’s crossover. Some of the information we can already get through what we’ve already, well, got. [Read more…]
Due diligence research is a key part of prospect research in the UK and Europe. All of the prospect researchers at nonprofits that I know there – and not just the ones who work at human-rights or cause-related orgs, but researchers at universities, membership, animal rights, arts organizations, consultants – every kind of organization – they all include due diligence as part of their work. It’s just as important as finding wealth indicators or career history or interest in their organization’s cause.
They’re considering these questions: Do we want our organization to be associated with this person? Or this company? Or this trust/foundation? [Read more…]
You’ve heard me and several others talking about what’s happening on the UK fundraising/prospect research scene right now. Two charities have already been assessed hefty fines, and 11 other UK charities are currently under investigation for their fundraising activities including their prospect research/wealth screening activities.
It’s the wealth screenings that are the big deal part of it for us. [Read more…]
Twenty years ago this coming June, a nightclub called The Haçienda closed in Manchester, England. For nearly 15 years, but mostly in the mid-to-late ‘80s, the Haçienda was the place to see, be seen, and dance to great music. Madonna took the crowd on holiday and The Smiths showed what a difference it did make in music history. Income from record sales from co-owners New Order helped keep the club afloat during the recessionary years. [Read more…]
The cavalry can be a heroine, a hero, a bunch of dusty dudes on horses, or a squad of geeky introverts, but you only have to look at every movie ever made in Hollywood to know that when help is needed, it will come. [Read more…]
This week we are honored to welcome guest contributor, Ian MacQuillin, founder and director of Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, a serious change threatens to alter the landscape for fundraising and prospect research in the UK. I’m not succumbing to hyperbole when I say that very soon wealth screenings and possibly even prospect research could be greatly curtailed or eliminated altogether. Unless awareness is raised and the momentum shift is altered, the impact on the charity landscape will be devastating. I am grateful that Ian agreed to share not only what’s happening in the UK, but also how these changes could impact us in North America. I hope you will join me in sharing this article socially to help educate our peers. ~Helen
It’s possible that during the course of 2017, using Google to research a potential donor will be declared illegal by Britain’s data protection regulator. [Read more…]
Earlier this week, I was looking at my phone – and at all the apps I have and don’t use – and started thinking about how every person’s app collection looks different based on their individual needs and interests. I wondered how different my screen would look if I were a billionaire. (Hey, a girl can daydream). And so my journey of discovery began.
As I researched, I realized that many of the sites I was idly finding were actually useful for prospect research purposes. Which led me to abandoning my original mild curiosity and heading toward useful employment of my time, which is a good lesson in the power of daydreaming! [Read more…]