Fundraising Talks
News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research
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Looking for funding opportunities? We've identified a few funds that might be useful to you. Visit the links below to learn more about the requirements and deadlines for these opportunities. 
Useful Links  
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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,
Many higher education institutions have begun implementing parent programs as part of their fundraising campaigns. Parents of students already have an established affinity or interest in their student's institutions and can be routinely screened to identify new prospects for qualification and cultivation. Enrollment of new students during the fall semester provides a multitude of data on students and parents. Parents can be identified and cultivated not only for annual and major gifts programs, but can serve as volunteers in different leadership groups, or offer their expertise to help student programs by getting involved as coaches or career mentors.
Prospect research is an excellent tool for institutions to use to identify parents as major gift prospects. Institutions can use prospect research to examine these individuals' past giving to the university, current capacity to give, causes they care about, and reliable solicitation strategies. 
Electronically screening parents of alumni and the incoming class of students allows you to determine strategies to engage parents in your fundraising efforts. Cultivation of these parents can start when their children are still in school, and it may encourage students to also give back to their alma mater once they graduate. The first step in creating an ongoing process is gathering data on parent prospects by establishing a partnership with your admissions or enrollment office. Positive relationships with parents will develop when their students receive a meaningful experience at your institutions. 
We hope each of you have established processes to engage parents in your fundraising campaign. 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
There isn't always a clear correlation between how the biggest philanthropists made their money and the causes they choose to fund. However, these philanthropists put a lot of thought into their funding choices and have a deep desire to create change. According to a recent study by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, two-thirds of wealthy donors struggle to decide where to donate their money. Most start with donations to their alma mater, house of worship, or social service agency that helped them in the past. Most of these wealthy donors go through a six to seven step process in their evolution as philanthropists, according to the Giving USA report. Read more here.

With declines in donor engagement and participation as a result of increasingly ambitious campaigns and more organizations coming at prospects from more places, philanthropy is becoming increasingly difficult. This has led to a focus on more capable donors, which in turn, has caused the classic donor pyramid to become steeper. This article from The Nonprofit Times  addresses this change and what it means for prospect management and research.

It used to be true that the philanthropic baton would be passed to the next generation when the previous generation passed on. However, now life spans are longer and there are multiple generations in the philanthropic space at the same time, resulting in agreement about the importance of giving, but disagreement about who to give and how to give. This could be a result of generational differences, geography, or simply just different tastes. What can foundations or charities do to ensure giving across generations? This article from The New York Times explores possible causes as well as solutions. 

When searching through prospects, researchers often suffer from fear of missing out on an ultra high net worth individual. This blog post by The Helen Brown Group provides ways for researchers to spot clues so they don't miss out on an opportunity to build a relationship with someone who could make a big impact. Clues may include a prospect who belongs to more than one yacht club, someone who collects vintage cars, or someone who vacations for a month or more in an exotic locale.
As the world becomes more culturally interconnected daily, the centers of wealth and philanthropy are extending well beyond US borders. Prospect development must also strive to bring more of a global focus to identifying quality prospects. While it's not always possible to rely on data that is not publicly available outside the U.S. screening for wealth, it's still important to consider three strategies from Bentz Whaley Flessner to help your organization lay a strong foundation for international prospecting and fundraising efforts. Read the strategies here.