Tag Archives: conference

Don’t Forget the Dividends!

Content Review Panel Experts!

I’m building a beginner to intermediate course on insider stock and compensation and guess what I forgot? Dividends! Thankfully, my Content Review Panel Experts spotted the gap. And we had a great discussion about dividends that made my day. Why?

Well, of course, I was relieved to have my mistake corrected before I produced the video lectures, printed workbook and other materials. But really it was about having a topic discussion with varied colleagues who have differing opinions and resources to bear on the subject. I don’t think I’m alone in thriving on these kinds of conversations.

I was fortunate to be able to attend the APRA 2014 conference in Las Vegas just a few weeks ago. Of course the sessions were fantastic, but really memorable was an informal gathering organized by Mary Gatlin of the University of Oregon. She posted on PRSPCT-L asking if anyone wanted to get together and talk about capacity ratings. Boy did we! Around 30 people responded. I had to sit on an end table because there weren’t enough seats.

During the Vegas conversation we could each ask questions without fear of looking dumb and we could offer opinions and suggestions too. I learned what is happening at a big institution and some ideas on rating (or not) international prospects. Some of us made connections and now have new colleagues in our networks.

High-Level Conversations

This hunger for what I like to call “high-level” conversations is understandable because prospect research professionals have to learn vast amounts of information to get on the wagon and stay current. We need to be able to ask a beginner question one minute and share an advanced technique the next. Because that’s the world we work in.

It also helps me understand why Prospect Research Institute participant Lisa Brown yearned for the Profile Peer Review Program. They are now doing their second round of peer review. Not only do they get to have high-level discussions, but they get to have those conversations after giving and receiving written feedback in a controlled environment. Powerful.

Back to Those Dividends

So what did we finally decide about dividends? We agreed that it’s not usually a huge loss if they are forgotten, but that they offer a possible opportunity for a gift. Because they are essentially cash, if the number of shares is great it can be a significant part of the prospect’s disposable income picture.

Don’t forget the dividends when you research your prospects and don’t forget that even if you are brand new to the prospect research field you have valuable knowledge and perspectives – your own “dividends” – to gift!

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5 Tips for Finding Your Prospect’s Children

Knowing whether a donor prospect has children is a critical piece of information, but even more important for planned giving prospects. According to a study by Russell N. James III, J.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia*, the absence of grandchildren as an indicator of likelihood to make a planned gift trumped even giving history – by a wide margin. Yes, go ahead and read that sentence again!

After those findings were presented at AFP’s International Conference I received multiple inquiries asking if there was a way to append child relationships to the donor database. Thank goodness the answer is “no”! I’m not confident that a centralized database of familial relationships is in our best interest generally. But it sure would be a powerful piece of information in our ability to predict inclination to give.

Whether you are a frontline fundraiser or a dedicated prospect researcher, there are a few ways to tease out information about children when it might not otherwise be obvious.

1.  Biographical Sources

The first places to look are biographies, obituaries and wedding notices – any place where family information is described. Sometimes it is tucked at the end of the executive’s company biography and may or may not include names. Sometimes the Who’s Who listing is detailed. Other times a search engine might find a genealogy page for your prospect’s family.

2.  In the News

Many of you have access to newspaper and other news databases online with the use of your public library card. Other news articles show up in search engine results. This is often a good place to find references to children and grandchildren.

3.  Search on Address

I like to use Lexis Nexis for Development Professionals (LNDP) and perform a “People” search using only the home address – especially when the prospect has lived there for a long time. But you can also use a site like www.switchboard.com and do a reverse search by address. Any search that will give you a list of the names of the people who have been associated with that specific address is useful. The bonus from the LNDP search is that those addresses are referenced against voter’s registration and other sources and a birth year is often included in the search results. This gets me closer to uncovering how likely those associated names are to being children, instead of other family members.

4.  Giving and Private Schools

When a prospect gives regularly to a private school, especially one from which s/he did *not* receive a diploma, I like to perform a search in Google of the school’s website. You can use the Google Advanced Search form, or type in your own. It looks like this:  LastName site:schoolname.edu   Many times I have found likely children’s names, and sometimes even grandchildren who are attending or have attended that school.

5.  Social Media

If your prospect is active on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media websites, you might be able to tease out family relationships. Many times the prospect has tight privacy controls, but it is surprising how much can still be discovered in the public domain. I have even encountered prospects who keep detailed, and very public, blogs online.

Once I have found a likely child’s name, I have often been rewarded by doing a couple of searches on only the child’s name. The younger generation is more comfortable sharing online and the child, especially if post high school, might share parent names and pictures more publicly. This helps us with making an accurate match, but we need to be careful when approaching the donor prospect.

Children are special and protected relationships, and the last thing we want to do is make the donor prospect feel like we are stalking her with our prospect research techniques! Without trust there will be no gift. Because of this, we as fundraisers need to be skilled at opening the conversational door to allow the prospect to tell us what we already know.

There is always room for error when we search for information anonymously. If you are a prospect researcher working with a new frontline fundraiser, it is worth having a conversation with him about how important it is to allow the prospect to confirm the information we find.

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Why Use a Researcher When There’s Google?

3 Actions That Demonstrate Your High Prospect Research IQ

* “Causes and correlates of charitable giving in estate planning: A cross-sectional and longitudinal examination of older adults”, a study conducted by Russell N. James III, J.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia and published in 2008 (data from 1996-2007 collected by the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study)

Research 101 Workshop in Tampa

Want to know where to look for information online? Do you wonder if you are asking for the largest gift amount appropriate? Maybe you want to understand how prospect research fits into fundraising and how to leverage it to maximize your fundraising?

APRA Florida has teamed up with the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay to answer your questions with a Prospect Research 101 course the morning on the first day of the APRA Florida annual conference on May 19, 2011. Click here for more info about Research 101 and click here for more info about the conference.

I am so excited to be presenting the Research 101 Workshop with my friend and colleague, Debbie Menoher, Director of Research for the University of Florida Foundation. During her tenure, UF completed an $850 million dollar capital campaign, and UF is currently in a $1.5 billion dollar campaign.  She is also one of the founding members of the APRA Florida chapter!

The conference and workshop will be held at The Children’s Board in downtown Tampa. Workshop cost is $59 and conference is $125 for two days. The theme this year is The New Philanthropists: Prospecting in the 21st Century.   

I will be presenting at the workshop and attending the conference. If you are in Florida, I hope you will too!

Florida Prospect Research Conference

This year the APRA Florida conference will be in my hometown – Tampa! Click here for more info on the conference. Registration is now open! And none too soon as the conference is May 19 and 20, 2011. Our theme is: The New Philanthropists – Prospecting in the 21st Century.

The Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) does an incredible job of keeping us prospect researchers well educated and it thrills me to have an active chapter here in Florida. This year I am serving as the chapter president and it has been a privilege to get chest deep in association waters. 

So I know it’s true when I say that our conference committee is going to bring you excellent speakers and fantastic networking and problem-solving opportunities. If you are in Florida, I sure hope to see you in Tampa in May!