Except for the few of us who work at our main office in Watertown, most everybody at HBG works from home. One of the (many) nice things about that is that you can listen to podcasts without bothering anyone else in the office (except maybe your furry 4-legged office-mates). [Read more…]
Sometimes secondary research just doesn’t cut it. As fundraising professionals, we all know it’s important for us to understand the context of our prospects’ lives. But as much as you can read about private equity, venture capital, and all the other finance-related professions, nothing beats actually talking with people in that industry to find out how they would like to be cultivated and stewarded. I’m particularly delighted this week to shine a light on a project that University of Chicago researchers, Amelia Aldred and Namrata Padhi, undertook to interview professionals in the finance industry. In this week’s article, Amelia and Namrata share the questions and answers about these professionals that we all want to hear. ~Helen
The problem and our solution
In 2015, our prospect research team hit a wall when it came to understanding venture capital and private equity professionals. Like many of our research colleagues, our team read hundreds of articles about venture capital and private equity industries but we couldn’t find information specifically about venture capital and private equity professionals’ attitudes and behaviors regarding philanthropy, nor could we find information about compensation and wealth beyond a general industry overview.
Our solution? Change our research methods. Instead of reading, we directly interviewed venture capital and private equity professionals about their career path, compensation and wealth accumulation, networks, and how all of these factors affected their approach to giving. [Read more…]
We’ve been somewhat distracted here in the US with our own looming election, so perhaps we can be forgiven for forgetting that another monumental, electrically charged election nicknamed ‘Brexit’ happened two months ago this week in the United Kingdom. If your nonprofit has constituents in the UK or Europe, this will be much on their minds because it has likely already had a significant impact on their personal finances. Now that the dust has settled a bit, I asked my colleague Marc Whitmore at More Partnership (that’s him in the photo) to give us some insight on what’s happening with Brexit through the philanthropy and fundraising lens. It’s a fascinating read – enjoy! ~Helen
What the hell happened, Britain?
Quite. Well, in May 2015, the UK elected a Government with the manifesto pledge to hold a referendum with a simple question: should the UK remain in or leave the European Union? That referendum took place on 23 June 2016, and 51.9% of those who voted, voted to leave the EU. [Read more…]
As we watch the United Kingdom deal with the aftermath of last month’s vote to leave the European Union, those of us in the philanthropy sector wonder what the loss of EU funding will mean for charities reliant on that funding. I asked Ben Rymer to share his thoughts and research once again here on The Intelligent Edge to help us understand Brexit’s potential impact on philanthropy.
While uncertainty rules the day on Brexit’s effect on philanthropy, four things seem reasonable to expect in the wake of the British public’s vote on June 23rd to leave the European Union.
First, Brexit is likely to be bad news for the British macroeconomy. A weaker sterling (the British pound is so far the worst performing currency in the world in 2016), continuing low productivity (see chart below from the Resolution Foundation) and lower profits (the FTSE 250, consisting of mainly British companies, lost £38bn from June 24th-July 8th) are all notable trends.
When I write articles on this blog about topics like last week’s post on the Internet of Things (IoT), I find that, within a couple of days, I start getting Twitter followers by the handful who have the key word or hashtag in their Twitter bio of whatever the topic was.
Some of them I follow back because, well, obviously I’m interested in the topic and they seem to be interested in a lot of things including (in this case) IoT. They might find my mainly fundraising, prospect development, and HNW topics interesting and relevant to their life/work, too. (Or possibly they just like the eye candy photos of my weekend baking adventures). [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…]
In 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…]
In my early days as a prospect researcher, I used to be a “Just the facts, ma’am” kind of researcher and report writer. A “here’s what I can see. I have no idea what the rest looks like so I can’t even guess for you” kind of gal. I was so afraid to be wrong.
Except I already was wrong.
Why reinvent the wheel? Prospect researchers the world over have created gorgeous pages of useful links to the best sites for finding information. There are more prospect research-centric pages out there, but the ones included on this list have been updated in the past year and seem to be well maintained. If you know of others please let me know by clicking on comments and sharing your favorites.
HBG’s own Research Links page http://www.startme.com/page/50281/hbg-prospect-research-links
APRA Missouri-Kansas http://www.apramokan.org/links.html
Michigan State University Library Prospect Research Resources
Northwestern University Research Bookmarks
Prospecting For Gold: Recommended Reference Sources
Stanford University Development Research http://www.stanford.edu/dept/OOD/RESEARCH/
Supporting Advancement Prospect Research tab
University of Southern California, University Advancement Selected Sites for Development Research on the Web
University of Vermont Prospect Research and Reference Tools
University of Virginia Portico – Web Resources for Advancement Professionals
Other useful links
Our own great list of Wealth Lists from around the world
I’ve been thinking about Chris Cannon’s blog post “3 Solutions to Prospecting Problems” ever since I read it earlier this week. Chris’s solutions to common issues we face in the development office are these:
- We need to respect our colleagues, honor their experience and their contributions…
- …come up with a good plan …
- …and stick to it. No personal or organizational distractions (to the degree that they can be avoided).
It’s not rocket science, but it’s true. We lose our tempers, we lose our focus, and then we lose our way.
Don’t we accomplish so much more on a personal level when we stick to those three things? Imagine what we could do as a development team.
For me, a lot of wasted potential I see in development shops comes down to communication and training.
“I’ve stopped requesting research,” said one fundraiser to me recently. “It just takes too long to get it back and by the time I get the profile, the visit’s already happened. It’s just too frustrating. Google’s my researcher now.”
“I don’t get it,” said a researcher. “I’m working for four fundraisers and each one asks me for full profiles on people they’ve never met. It takes me two days to do each full profile along with all the other stuff I’m doing, and then when I finally give it to the fundraiser I never hear anything back! It’s frustrating!”
“The researchers don’t understand what I need,” said another fundraiser. “I work with a very specific group of high-level donors in a particular industry. I get profiles back on people in the same industry with wildly varying capacity ratings. I know what people make in this industry and every rating is wrong! I need consistency from profile to profile and an understanding of this industry and what people make.”
“Sure, I would love to go to a training seminar on private equity compensation/lawyers/oil & gas futures” said a researcher to me recently. “We just don’t have the budget for training right now.”
There’s one really simple answer for each of these frustrated people. Do you see yourself in one of them?
Great teams communicate well together. We’re in the communicating and relationship building business, and the communicating and relationship building needs to happen both externally AND internally.
Talk to each other. Respect each other. Make a plan. Do it.
Update: Great infographic on exactly this subject: