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. 

September 13

August 6
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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,
Hope you are enjoying these hot summer days! Last month, we talked about identifying and cultivating young alumni in  Fundraising Talks . We know that it's important to start cultivating young alumni early, but what about our students' parents?  Parents with high capacity are ideal donors since they are likely to have an affinity to their child's college or university and may also have a history of philanthropy. An article from APRA's Connections Magazine "Parent Prospecting: Short Timeframe, Large Opportunity," has great information that can be applied to fundraising programs that are interested in including parent prospects to meet their campaign goals. Click the article title to view the article.

The first step in creating a parent program is establishing good relationships with different institutional departments such as admissions and student records. After gathering data from various sources and partners during set timelines throughout the year, business processes should include ways to track and maintain this information in your alumni and donor database for fundraising purposes. Some of tactics that can be used to identify major gift parent prospects are: performing wealth screening, examination of wealthy zip codes, reviewing job titles and employers of parents, cross-referencing files to identify parents of students who attended private high schools, philanthropy to other nonprofits, using "lists" such as Forbes Billionaires and Hurun Rich lists, and using referrals from volunteers or friends.

After identifying parent prospects, these prospects should be provided with opportunities that engage them with your institution. Institutions may develop customized engagement and communications strategies such as invitations to events, and involvement with volunteer programs or leadership groups. Regular communication about opportunities and staying connected is essential. This develops positive relationships that will enhance prospects' interest to support your institutional goals. Prospect research can assist in providing information about their employment, personal backgrounds, philanthropic interests, and past giving.  
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

For fundraisers at institutions, lead generation can be defined as a strategy that initiates a prospect's interest in your institution. According to this article by Business 2 Community, taking advantage of social media lead generation can be extremely effective when done right. Business 2 Community suggests researching and identifying your prospects by finding out what social media platforms they are using. Next, use three to four outreach methods to contact a prospect. You may consider doing primary research on LinkedIn, then sending a cold email, and following up with a request to add them on LinkedIn. Finally, don't be afraid to use social media to highlight the values of your institution. Post about your students, faculty, and staff's achievements to show that your institution truly cares about the relationships within your network. Click here to read more.

Although the annual fund's work never stops, the Annual Giving Network (AGN) believes there's no better time to hit the reset button than at the beginning of a new fiscal year. AGN suggests starting the year off on the right note by calling at least five committed volunteers to tell them the year's final results, sending handwritten thank you notes to your top ten leadership donors, and writing a simple email to alumni and donors to wish them a "Happy New Year" with highlights of what happened on campus as a result of annual giving. To read AGN's four other suggestions, click here. 

This article by CASE Currents magazine highlights the essential ingredients of principal gifts, which are built on a culture of partnerships, strong relationships, and big ideas. According to CASE, prospective principal gift donors often give over long periods of time and their gifts represent a larger portion of their wealth than standard major gift modeling would suggest. CASE offers thoughts on identifying principal gift donors, recognizing donors as philanthropic partners, and nurturing relationships, among other key ingredients of principal gifts. Read the entire article here. 

Identifying and soliciting prospective donors is a major part of your institution's fundraising success. Traditionally, deciding which prospects to cultivate is determined by a prospect's wealth capacity. However, with the development of new technology it's possible and advantageous to your institution to know more than a prospect's wealth capacity.  Salesforce suggests using three keys to identify if someone is a great prospect: 1)  Propensity - Does the prospect have a history of philanthropy?2)  Affinity - Does the prospect have a connection to your cause? and 3)  Capacity - Does the prospect have enough wealth to contribute a major gift?  According to Salesforce, remembering and utilizing these three keys when performing charitable giving research can lead to more confident fundraising. 

Your institution collects a ton of data on a daily basis from volunteers, donors, and prospects. Do you have a donor management strategy to ensure that this information is being utilized later? Donor Search suggests five must-know tips that will help your institution use technology to manage data in the most effective way possible. They suggest:  building an integrated CRM system, giving     donors control over their data, creating targeted donor segments,      devoting time to database maintenance, and developing processes around data entry. In this article, Donor Search explains how to utilize these five tips in order to support your institution's goals.