It’s been a relentless hurricane season, beating and tearing through one US region after another. Mercilessly. Texas. Then Florida. Now the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Knowing behind-the-scenes information about the sources we use can help us use them much more efficiently (and/or figure out workarounds). This week I’m delighted to welcome HBG Senior Researcher Heather Willis who shares her knowledge about the tools we use to research nonprofits and foundations. ~Helen
A lot of us research tax-exempt organizations and their 990s on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Lately I’ve been wondering about some of the resources we use for this process and why you can’t always find the information that you’re looking for.
My guess is that maybe you were also wondering, so I decided to look into them more deeply and get some answers. Let’s start with some basics about the Form 990. [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…]
This week HBG team member Angie Herrington shares some great tips to make sure you don’t lose track of an under-the-radar, future group of supporters to your nonprofit. She’s not totally convinced that she’s got the perfect acronym yet, but IMO she’s on the right track! ~Helen
Fundraising is no different than any other profession with our acronyms and jargon. Some are expedient (DO, MGO, 990, CRM, ‘soft credit’) and some make me think too hard and wonder if we’re making it up (LYBUNT, SYBUNT, and CRUT).
Some of our legacy terms can also be polarizing. Ever dropped the word “suspect” on PRSPCT-L over the past 20 years? If you’re feeling sassy, try that one and let me know how it works out for you. [Read more…]
I was shocked to learn from an NPR story on my drive home recently that one in three kids in Massachusetts goes hungry every day. Massachusetts is not known for being an underprivileged state, so that really shook me.
But then this morning I read this:
81 percent of all kids in public school in Houston, Texas are eligible for free or reduced-priced breakfasts and lunches. EIGHTY ONE PERCENT. According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), Houston public schools provide 224,000 kids with the basic food they need every day. A quarter of a million kids every day, in Houston alone. [Read more…]
According to many tech writers, the future of search is looking very much like a verbal interaction between searcher and search engine. Alphabet wants you to have the same relationship with Google that over 8 million people already have with Amazon Echo’s “Alexa” every day.
ComScore estimates that by 2020 (which is only two and a half years away, my friend) over 50% of all searches will be screenless. Which is very Star Trek and cool and cutting edge and all that.
Smart people in the marketing world are already thinking about what happens for them when Google search (as we know it) goes away.
We professional researchers need to be thinking the same way. [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…]
This week I’m very excited to share with you a podcast I recorded earlier this week with Mark Dumich and Ling Sun of the University of Notre Dame. Their department is doing innovative work to help strengthen and create parity amongst their fundraisers’ portfolios.
In our podcast, Mark and Ling shared with me the questions they were trying to answer, their step by step actions, and some unexpected (but welcome!) outcomes. Mark explains their plan:
The Portfolio Strengths Model was developed at the University of Notre Dame to better understand both the strength of a prospect and the quality of a portfolio. As fundraisers expressed concern about the giving potential of their prospects, we decided to score various attributes of those individuals to get a better assessment of their value. It moved the conversation away from how a development officer feels, and back to objective data points that we can all agree on.
It’s very easy to evaluate a fundraiser on the number of dollars he or she brings in to the organization, and it’s important, too. Unfortunately, that metric has some significant shortcomings when you consider that not all portfolios have the same potential. So how can we more accurately measure a fundraiser’s performance? When we viewed production relative to the strength of a portfolio, it highlighted a lot of incredible work that had been achieved at all levels of philanthropy within our organization.”
We’re especially fortunate that, not only did they speak with me for 30 minutes, they also generously provided a step-by-step worksheet of their project, so you can do it, too!
The podcast is below, and the worksheet is in our free member area. Warm thanks to Mark and Ling for sharing this with us!
This week on The Intelligent Edge, HBG senior researcher Rachel Dakarian provides a window into the ongoing discussion that members of the HBG Book Club have had recently over our first shared book. I think in the beginning we thought that we’d all read this useful book, share our thoughts weekly, and then go back to our work. What’s actually happened has been a lively, ongoing, daily chat-room discussion as we toss articles to each other with comments of “hey, read this! It’s *just* what we were talking about yesterday!” punctuating our times between book club meetings. Rachel expands on our latest discussion beautifully in this week’s article. We’re interested to hear your thoughts as well! ~Helen
As you may have noticed, ours is the era of the mega-gift. This trend of non-stop blockbuster giving has left many reeling or salivating – not to say that the two are mutually exclusive, nor will this trend be ending any time soon. Wealth and philanthropy are often perceived to fit hand in glove, but we prospect researchers know firsthand how difficult it can be to verify wealth and encourage charitable giving. [Read more…]