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November 1
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 Sapna Varghese

Director of Advancement Research 


 Nell Walker

Prospect Researcher 301.445.1952  


Raechel Winder
Office Clerk

Letter from the Director

Dear Colleagues,
We hope you've had a great  summer! We would like to bring your attention to a recent article from APRA's Connections magazine titled, " Steps to a Successful Campaign ." This article is timely, as many USM institutions are in various phases of fundraising campaigns. It is beneficial to know or understand few key steps that may lead to a successful campaign at your institution.
The Connections  article lists five steps to take to ensure a successful campaign. 
First, it is important to have accurate data in your alumni/donor database. While prospect research professionals gather and confirm data on donors and prospective donors, development officers should be recording their contact reports and any information that they collect in the database. Accurate maintenance of data is key to gaining valuable knowledge to create strategies on high-net worth individuals. 
Secondly, institutions need to know the number of prospects needed to raise a certain amount of money. Institutions need to actively monitor the process of moving prospects from identification to solicitation stage to determine if they are able to fulfill their goals. A campaign plan may include a gift pyramid that usually indicates the number of gifts needed at each level to reach the fundraising goal. 
Thirdly, campaign feasibility studies may identify the need for extra resources, such as the need to hire new development officers and/or prospect research professionals. This would be the time in campaign planning phase to streamline any existing reports and processes, especially in prospect research. 
The fourth step calls for implementing better portfolio management. This means assigning a manageable or limited number of prospects to portfolios of development officers.  Limiting the number of prospects ensures that prospects in the portfolio are moved through the fundraising cycle within an expected timeline. 
Lastly, make data work for you! As mentioned earlier, we should maintain good data on constituents to create accurate reports and explore different strategies such as predictive analytics to segment out the best set of prospects.  "Data in = data out."
We hope that the above steps can be used to make your campaign successful. If you would like to read the whole article, please contact me at and as always, please feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!
Best Regards,
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team

During Fundraising Day in New York this year, Pamela Bennett, director of gift planning for The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and Lori B. Lasson, national director of planned giving and estates for Hadassah, gave a session titled "Planned Giving When That's Not All You Do." During their session, they provided basic tips on how to launch a planned giving program and keep it running. The NonProfit Times summarized the session into a comprehensive blog post. Click here to read the post.
Financially independent, separately incorporated alumni associations have steadily decreased over the years and many of these independent alumni organizations have integrated their work with their institution's fundraising foundation. At the same time, already integrated alumni relations teams are also increasing partnership with their fundraising colleagues. With these changes, its important to delve deeper and understand what drives increased integration, alignment, and collaboration and how we may measure success as trends in alumni relations change. GG+A explores these issues in this blog post.

During your next campaign, consider making use of a gift range chart. Gift range charts are not only a helpful tool for campaigns of any size--they also can show your nonprofit where to improve in fundraising strategy, whether or not your fundraising goal is too ambitious, and where to focus your fundraising strategy. This article from Donor Search explains why you should use a gift range chart, how to structure a chart, and provides a chart template so you may start your own.

In order to know the true value of a donor, a fundraiser must ask the right questions: are we only considering financial value, what programs are we using to measure value, what are the value drivers, and over what period are we measuring value? According to NonProfit PRO, answering these questions is the hard part. The rest is just math. In this article, NonProfit PRO gives tips on asking the right value questions, doing math for analysis, and leveraging donor value. 
The Los Angeles Times reports that major philanthropic gifts by Chinese Americans have surged to almost $500 million in recent years with most of the money going to higher education. Additionally, the number of Chinese American foundations in the US grew 418% from 2000 to 2014. In 2016, Chinese Americans gave more than $50 million in major gifts to UC Berkeley, UC San Fransisco, UCLA, and UC Irvine.