The 2015 Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management World Wealth Report is out! Every spring, it makes for fascinating reading for those of us in fundraising, and for financial advisors and wealth managers working with high net worth individuals (HNWI). [Read more…]
John Paulson’s gift of $400 million to Harvard has released a surprising amount of ill-will and petty sniping around fundraising water coolers. Around our virtual instant-message water cooler, HBG Researcher Rachel Dakarian and I started talking about Paulson’s gift and donor intent (the inclination rating we discussed previously here on The Intelligent Edge). I asked Rachel to create an article covering our thoughts, so with thanks, I turn it over to her:
You probably saw in the news recently that Harvard University announced its all-time largest donation: a $400-million gift from John A. Paulson to support the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. [Read more…]
This month, I’m delighted that HBG Senior Researcher Elizabeth Roma shares her insights on Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI) and their potential to affect transformational change in the world through philanthropy. Elizabeth and Kenny Tavares have been studying the infrastructure and impact of HNW Family Offices, and she will present a session on the topic in June at the Mid-Atlantic Researchers Conference in Baltimore. I hope you’ll be able to join her there!
Do you want to hear something that will blow your mind?
In 2010 there were 388 billionaires whose combined wealth was equal to the combined wealth of the poorest 50% of the world’s population.
Amazing, right? But that’s nothing.
In 2014 there were 80 people whose combined wealth equaled that of the poorest 50%. According to a report from Oxfam, the wealth of those 80 people has doubled since 2009. If these trends continue, Oxfam predicts that the richest 1% will have more wealth than the remaining 99% by 2016 (yes, that’s next year).
Things are changing, and not necessarily for the better (at least not for those of us in the 99%). But does this have to be all bad news? [Read more…]
I’m delighted to welcome Kelly Labrecque as HBG’s newest employee. Kelly’s experience includes one of the most respected cancer care organizations in the world, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Wheaton College, a traditionally all-women’s college and now a co-ed institution. Experience at two different types of nonprofit organization gives Kelly a great prospect research edge.
Kelly’s been with us for just a month, but already she has impressed me with her willingness to volunteer for special projects and her interest in providing a 360-degree view of prospective donors in her profiles.
She is an active member of the New England Development Research Association (NEDRA) and the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA). Please join me in welcoming Kelly!
Look at what arrived by special delivery today!
It’s an advance copy, meaning that for all of you who pre-ordered (and thank you for that, by the way!), yours will be arriving very soon.
If you haven’t already ordered it, now’s the time to get your very own copy hot off the presses! Just click that little book cover over there on the right to buy it at a discount (!). It will be on your doorstep in no time. This book has got everything anyone working in fundraising needs to know about prospect research. You’re going to love it.
Thank you to everyone who was involved: those who agreed to be interviewed, who were the subjects of case studies, who provided quotes and who read (and re-read!) drafts and offered sage advice and suggestions. And the biggest thank you to my co-author, the awesome Jen Filla.
My friend Allison is a filmmaker who creates spellbinding, gorgeously crafted visual stories. Allison’s movies pull you into a microcosm and then surprise you with how a story about a creature you’ve never given a second’s thought to impacts your daily life. For her current film, Allison used KickStarter to help fund her project costs.
My friend Jim is also making a movie. He’s using Indiegogo to crowd-source funding for his upcoming film, Pretend. I noticed while I was at Jim’s fundraising page that the American Red Cross is also using Indiegogo to raise money for those left in the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy. In fact, Indiegogo and PayPal have teamed up to waive all fees to lots of verified nonprofits raising money for Sandy disaster relief.
Services that help (frequently well-established and large) nonprofits enable walkers, runners and golfers to raise money for their causes have been around for a long time. But more directly “people powered” philanthropy is on the rise and these new infrastructures like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GlobalGiving and pioneer microlenders like Kiva help donors directly fund people and tiny nonprofits that wouldn’t normally come up on their radar.
I started thinking about this evolution in giving when I read a New York Times article someone shared on Twitter last week about Rolling Jubilee, a 501(c)(4) fund created by Strike Debt, an offshoot of the Occupy movement. Called “a bailout of the people, by the people,” funds donated are put into a pool that purchases – and then dissolves – peoples’ consolidated debt for pennies on the dollar. According to the Rolling Jubilee website, for every $1 donated, $20 of debt is absolved. As of today, Rolling Jubilee has received over $362,000 resulting in over $7 million in debt relief. People-powered philanthropy that even Forbes thinks is a good idea.
What do these new ways of giving and interacting mean for the future of fundraising? And why should we in prospect research care? Crowd-funding, social impact bonds and micro-lending don’t immediately spring to mind when you think about select, small groups of donors that prospect researchers normally concentrate on. But for the data analysts amongst us, it’s an exciting proposition: large numbers of new donors that are deeply, personally invested in our cause. Is our field’s recent growth in the application of data analytics perfectly timed to meet this new way of fundraising?
As I listened to my colleagues talking about what they were working on in our staff meeting last Thursday, it occurred to me that the varied nature of the work we do here at HBG is really interesting. It reminded me that one organization I used to work for put on a yearly program for major donors called “A Day in the Life” that brought together these donors with key scientists, faculty members and researchers for a day of lab tours, presentations on new discoveries, and classroom visits where donors could sit in on a lecture. Fascinated by a sneak peek into the cutting edge research, discovery and learning that was happening, donors truly felt a greater understanding of what took place there and how their involvement made a difference.
We’re certainly not a part of a formidable university, but we are a research, teaching and learning organization, and I thought that you might find it interesting to take a tour around our offices (both real and virtual) and get a sneak peek into what goes on during a typical day here at HBG.
Let’s start by walking out the door of my office and through the reception area. Around an angled not-quite-corner is the office where Jennifer and Andrea work. I see Andrea putting the finishing touches on a report to one of our clients that we just helped with an electronic wealth screening. The client, a private school in the United Kingdom, wanted to know who their top 10 prospects are within their US-based alumni. Our contact “J” plans to show the report and brief biographies Andrea created to their US support foundation board next week. Andrea tells me they’ve got some great potential donors, and she’s looking forward to hearing how the results were received and how the meetings went.
Her office mate Jen is in a buoyant mood today (which to be honest is pretty typical for Jen – especially when Oreos are nearby, as they are today). Jen just got off the phone with “C,” a fundraiser at a health-related non-governmental organization (NGO). Jen provides dedicated research support to the NGO 18 hours per week, and right now they are building up their prospect pipeline. Jen just found out that C got appointments with six of the people she recently identified, and that two individuals Jen previously identified just agreed to serve on a new advisory board.
As I walk out of Jen and Andrea’s office, I come to our common room. This space serves as a meeting area and lunch room but since it has a bay window, a couch, a coffee table and a few nice chairs we tend to call it the “living room.” It’s also home to the HBG candy dish, a group effort which currently features a selection of hard caramels brought back from Costa Rica. Naturally, I have to make sure they’re still edible 😉 as I pass by to visit Maureen, HBG’s Director of Research.
Maureen’s office is on the other side of the living room. She’s on the phone at the moment, interviewing a director of prospect research at a hospital who is kindly participating in a landscape analysis we’re doing on behalf of a client. We have discovered through our work with this client that they are completely deserving of all the respect they get as a fundraising powerhouse. Always eager to stay at the cutting edge, our client wanted to be sure they were performing well compared to their peers. Maureen is responsible for interviewing prospect research leaders at four peer institutions and pulling together their information in a neat grid to share with our client and all the interviewees.
Moving out of the office and into the ether, Kenny, Rick, Elizabeth and Heather all work from their virtual offices. As a group we communicate most often with each other via instant messaging when we have something quick to say or ask, so back in my office I get in touch with them via IM to find out what they’re up to at this moment.
Kenny reports that he’s just finished up and sent off two full profiles for the client he works with on a dedicated half-time basis. His next project is an in-depth profile of a company, one of Kenny’s specialties.
Rick’s in the middle of a prospect identification project for a school of communications at a university. The school is hoping to partner with high net worth philanthropists in their area with a demonstrated interest in investigative reporting, emerging media technology, sports communication, and science and health journalism. Rick’s a crossword puzzle fan, and I wonder if projects like this provide him a fun puzzle with a meaningful solution.
Elizabeth and Heather are working collaboratively on a project to parse out the top philanthropists in a particular major US city and discover what these donors support. They’re working together to provide dedicated full-time support to a major biomedical research center that uses their prospect research skills in a lot of creative and strategic ways.
And me? I’ve just sent off a set of post-visit recommendations to one of my favorite new clients in Philadelphia. They’ve just built a young (in experience) but intelligent and eager new prospect research and analytics team. We’re working together to get them ready for some seriously transformational fundraising and I spent part of last week doing some training with them. They’re quick learners and I’m really looking forward to visiting with them again soon.
So that’s the tour around the HBG offices today and a glimpse at what a typical day is like for me and my team. We’re busy and enjoying the variety of projects we’re doing. How about you? What projects are you working on today? We’d love to hear!
It is with great pleasure that we welcome our newest team member, Heather Willis. Heather was one of the first people I trained when I began my consulting business and I have always been impressed by her intelligence, professionalism and can-do attitude. Heather’s background in prospect research includes working for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and for Carroll College. For the past seven years, Heather had been a freelance researcher and owner of her own company, Willis Research Services in Buffalo, Montana.
We’re delighted that Heather is joining our team and are excited about the addition of talents she brings to our Group and our clients.
Jen Filla of Aspire Research Group and I have just signed a deal with John Wiley & Sons to write Prospect Research for Fundraisers; The Essential Handbook. We’re thrilled!
This book is going to be handy for every single front-line development officer, from the solo fundraiser in a one-person shop to the VP for Advancement overseeing a large university research department.
We’re going to highlight the successful partnerships, the innovative ground-breakers and the hair-tearing learning experiences, and our findings just may surprise you.
If you’ve ever wondered…
…then this book is for you!
We’re interviewing fundraisers and researchers to gain lots of perspectives, and the book will be chock-full of case studies and examples. We still have some space, so if you’d like to be featured for your great front-line/research collaborations, let us know!
Last week I had the pleasure of welcoming two new colleagues into the Helen Brown Group. The fundraising world being as small as it is, you never know when you’re going to have the opportunity to work with someone again, and it’s certainly true for me with both Andrea Marks and Maureen Kilcommins.
I first worked with Andrea Marks ten years ago at Northeastern University when she was just starting out in prospect research. Bilingual and a cum laude graduate of Boston University in international relations, Andrea was quick to understand the value of research in fundraising and its global possibilities. Soon graduate school called her, and after receiving an MBA degree specializing in international business and marketing, Andrea worked for three multi-nationals and an NGO managing their payrolls. I’m delighted that we were able to entice Andrea back into prospect research, and happy to have her international research and language skills.
Maureen Kilcommins and I have worked together for the last ten years in support of the North American Foundation for the University of Manchester (NAFUM), England. Previously Maureen worked as director of prospect research and management for Bentley University and as director of annual and special gifts for UC-Santa Cruz and associate director of the Harvard Law School Fund. Maureen’s experience in research, front-line fundraising and operations brings a triumvirate of value for our clients looking for advice in those areas. Maureen will continue in her role as North American administrator for both NAFUM and Sightsavers and will work with HBG on a part-time basis.
Welcome Andrea and Maureen!