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. 

November 1


November 1
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 Sapna Varghese

Director of Advancement Research 



Sandra Nicholes

Prospect Researcher 301.445.1952


Bethany Jones

Office Clerk


Letter from the Director

Dear Colleagues,
Our research team attended the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement's 2018 Prospect Development conference in Pittsburg, PA this past month. As always, the experience was amazing and it provided an opportunity to meet with prospect development professionals from across the United States, Canada, and the UK.
I was fortunate to be part of APRA's first Executive Leadership Cohort, where 100+ members discussed several topics including leadership today, influence, career growth. and the future of research. Our prospect researcher Sandy Nicholes also found the conference to be an enlightening experience. Sandy attended the New Researcher's Symposium (NRS). The NRS helps attendees gain new perspectives and ideas that enhance current practices in prospect research.
The keynote speaker was Ron Tite, a marketing, branding, and creativity expert who is CEO of The Tite Group, a content marketing agency based in Toronto. Tite's inspiring and engaging speech noted that data is critical to fundraising professionals, but stories are even more powerful than data. 
A recent article from the September/October 2018 issue of CASE Currents, titled "  Tell Me a Story" reinforces this message.  Great stories can build meaningful connections with donors and prospective donors and can motivate supporters to give more to your institution. This article emphasizes the importance of "storytelling" for advancement. The article opens with a good example of the impact that storytelling can have on donors. At the University of Illinois, alumnus George Nelms never walked in his graduation ceremony, despite being the first in his family to attend college. Years later, he became a renowned engineer and the university reconnected with him to invite him to walk at a graduation ceremony. Now, advancement professionals at the university use this story to connect with donors and prospects. According to the article, learning to listen and sharing stories can assist advancement professionals to approach donors and build long term relationships. 
We hope you are enjoying a wonderful start to another great academic year at your institution as we enter fall. 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

In the past year, cash gifts from large U.S. companies rose five percent and total giving (including products) grew eight percent. The top recipients of these companies' gifts included community causes, higher education, and K-12 education. The Chronicle of Philanthropy believes that charitable giving by corporations should continue to increase in the coming year, thanks to a strong economy, corporate earnings, and new tax laws. Despite this promising data, it's important to note that corporations account for only a small percentage of charitable giving. Of the $140 billion in total giving last year, companies only gave five percent. However, fundraisers can still engage companies. According to the article, fundraisers should focus less on telling companies everything about their nonprofit and instead, ask the company to tell them their goals and what they'd like to achieve through corporate citizenship. Read more here.

Nonprofits are embracing a new term: data democratization. According to Omatic Software, data democratization gives greater access to digital information to more users. Often times, the average user at your nonprofit does not have easy access to the data they need. Often, nonprofit employees must rely on development or IT departments to provide them with this data. Data democratization aims to break down barriers by providing easy ways for users to understand and process data without assistance. In turn, this improves the quality of decision-making, as decisions can be made based on data rather than feelings or opinions. However, this process does come with challenges. This article from Omatic Software outlines how your nonprofit may begin to adopt data democratization. 

The Women's Philanthropy Institute recently published the first known scholarly article that explores how retirement affects charitable giving for both men and women. The study found that upon retirement, households typically maintain giving levels. The study also found that single women and married couples are more likely to give, and give in higher amounts compared to single men, both before and after retirement. Furthermore, women and married couples demonstrate more stability in giving around retirement. Fundraisers may find that there is a significant advantage to donor cultivation before women reach retirement age. Lastly, the study found that single women are the only demographic to increase volunteering activity during and after retirement. Read more results here.

You may remember learning about the difference between primary sources and secondary sources from your librarian at school, but have you considered what a primary source is for a prospect researcher? This article by The Helen Brown Group defines these sources. The article suggests that researchers turn to real estate assessor's office for value and sales information about properties that prospects may own. A foundation's 990-PF or free research sites can give insights into the last three years' filings and public companies may have relevant investor relations information on their websites. Lastly, searching information on licensed professionals may lead to more information on accountants, physicians, attorneys, or any other profession that requires a license. Click here to read a full list of primary sources for researchers. 

In this blog post from Inside Philanthropy, author Tate Williams describes a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation, awarded through its undergraduate education program to the Oregon Institute of Technology to support a new Smart Grid Lab. The $225,000 grant will allow engineering students to gain expertise in the power sector, conduct research on energy systems, and use new technology to improve electricity grids. Williams notes that smart grid technology is becoming a hot topic in philanthropy. Billionaire Thomas Siebel launched the Siebel Energy Institute to distribute grants to smart grid technology and the Rockefeller Foundation has set aside funding to mini-grid tech to expand access to electricity across India. Williams hopes that while the W.M. Keck Foundation does not usually fund environmental efforts, that they will continue to make grants in this sector in the future. Read more here.