Monthly Archives: November 2014

Case study – map view of the donor data base

One of the most frequently viewed posts on the old APRA-GH blog was this Southern Illinois University case study produced by Grenzebach Glier & Associates.

SIU contracted with GG+A to assemble an interactive tool to query their donor data base using parameters like wealth, giving level and giving designation (college) to produce results across a map.


This implementation is amazing.  It clearly required a commitment to a development methodology to achieve the results shown.  But it is truly impressive.  Click on the map image above to access the link to the webinar.  Fast forward to about 40 minutes to see the demonstration.



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Wealthy donor study from UBS Investor Watch

UBS Wealth Management recently released a report analyzing their investors’ sentiment and behavior regarding philanthropy.


The report points to attitude distinctions by gender and age, and satisfaction drivers for a meaningful philanthropic experience.  It also highlights a somewhat troubling indicator about donors’ perceptions about the impact of their philanthropy.  Only 1 in 5 believed that their contributions were “very effective.”


Maybe we don’t say it often enough or clearly enough or cite enough memorable examples of impact.  But this report indicates our donors don’t feel tightly connected with our stories of success.

For a synopsis of the report, click here (or on any of the images) to watch a brief video summary or download the report.



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Community foundation atlas

Every once in a while I run across a website that aggregates information in a really great way and I assume that since it’s so awesome, everyone else must already know about it.

But just in case you don’t already know about the Community Foundation Atlas, let me introduce you to this fabulous tool that drills down to community foundations located around the world.


When you start exploring, you can find out more about the impact of community foundations as a group, or explore facts about particular community foundations.


The purpose of the Atlas is to promote the investment and good work of community foundations, including a collection of impact stories from some of the foundations that underscore their commitment to philanthropy.





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Bookmark this – free demographic data source

Who doesn’t love a free data source?  This particular data source, from the National Association of Counties, is both easy to use and beautiful to behold.  For the casual user, a wide variety of population, age distribution and employment/industry measurements are easy to access with a single click on the color-coded map.

Here’s an example for Harris county.  I selected population group 65 years and older.



The color coded counties give a visual frame of reference for the indicator I selected – 65+ years old.  The dark blue counties have the highest population percentages in that age range.

There are quick reference lists of county populations by state and the data can be downloaded, if you want to put on your analytics hat for a while.



But wait, there’s more.  A lot more!  Almost hidden at the bottom of this page is another link to view economic status, at the county level with respect to recovery from the recession.  Again, selecting Harris county, this is the summarized report available for the economic indicators.


Can I just say I’m amazed?!




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Case study – leveraging social media influencers for online engagement

This interesting case study, from the Miratel blog, cites the relationship between a social media influencer (professional sports celebrity Cecil Shorts III, who has a lot of Twitter followers) and online activity with the nonprofit he supports (in this case study, the United Way of Northeast Florida).


OK, so not every nonprofit has a champion in their corner who happens to be an NFL star, but you undoubtedly have some worthy followers who could amp up your online engagement given a little cultivation and recognition.


The article suggests that your own social media followers would probably LOVE to carry your message to their followers if you asked.  It might take a little prospect research to locate some heavy social media influencers from the pool of followers or trustees, but that’s what we do best.

Click on the image above to read the case study.


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Tips for better professional networking

All of us are busy.  The next deadline, the big system upgrade, the important department meeting, converting the report to the new format, just the endless list of tasks.  They never stop.  Who has the time for professional networking?

Theoretically, all of us.  It’s part of being a professional.  Tending to the care and feeding of your own career.

image from

But seriously, the introvert side of me wants to retreat back into my shell.  When I think of attending a networking event with a room full of unfamiliar people, all that crazy noise starts shooting off in my head and my courage shuts down.

There’s another approach.  Smaller, less stressful but with the same outcomes.  This article by blogger Herbert Lui explains 4 ways to pursue professional networking in a more natural, less stressful way.

He has some good ideas.

  1. Reach out to 1 person a week.  Having a personal conversation is the essence of relationship building; a requirement for professional networking.
  2. Connect with internal colleagues.  There are so many mysteries about our organizations.  Someone in another group or department could probably shed some light on the questions that you have.  It’s ok to reach out and inquire.  Meet the team upstairs or in the other building.  Learn more about what they do.
  3. Get to a preferred method of communicating as quickly as possible.  Specifically for contacts that originate from LinkedIn, there’s a more direct way to communicate and it’s a lot more personal.  So whether it’s email, IM, texting or something else, move the conversation.  It will immediately feel more personal.
  4. Set up or join a Mastermind group.  Mr. Lui explains that it’s a meet-up group whose focus is exclusively on helping each other improve.  The concept sort of reminds me of the formal and informal mentoring teams I used to participate in when I worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers.  Even though we had an assigned mentor, I personally preferred the organic discussions that occurred when I met up with 2 or 3 people in the company that I admired.

APRA-GH is a great networking channel for all of us.  It can be the big event or it can be a single conversation.  Just so you know, if you are a member, you now have access to the member directory online with email and telephone contact info.  Hover your mouse over the About Us tab on the website to access the directory.  You’ll have to sign into the website, so if it’s your first time signing in, you’ll need to set your password by clicking the Forgot Password link, but it’s super easy!

Click on the image of the coffee cups to read Mr. Lui’s article.


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Mid-year report on nonprofit fundraising

The Nonprofit Research Collaborative recently published their annual mid-year assessment (spanning January-June 2014) on the status of fundraising efforts at US and Canadian nonprofits.


This diagram represents the portion of nonprofits who reported at mid-year that they were “on track” toward reaching their fundraising goals.  The organization’s size plays a role in fundraising effectiveness, and the document reports this has been a consistent finding for a number of years.

Organizations cited the following reasons for their mid-year fundraising progress:



The top 3 reasons were:

  1. Indicator of economic recovery (giving is “up” overall)
  2. Organization was staffed for fundraising efforts
  3. Organization had diversified their fundraising channels.

To access a copy of the report, click on either of the images above.



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Strategy + wealth screening = happiness

WealthEngine recently published an article that can help new or existing customers achieve success with their wealth screening, beginning with formulating one or more realistic strategies for using the data that will be delivered.

WealthEngine admits that following a wealth screening, customer feedback sometimes sounds like this:  that’s a LOT of data!  And they report this kind of response is common among customers who haven’t completely thought through their strategy prior to receiving their screening results.

Wealth screening isn’t a green light to begin major gift cultivation, but it is a great variable to combine with an existing communication/segmentation strategy make fundraising even more effective.

For example, let’s say that we want to identify constituents that are good candidates for an upgraded gift array on the next direct mail (or email) solicitation.  First, why not leverage an existing strategy to select prospective constituents for the annual fund mailing, including candidates for an upgraded gift array.  Next, select the gift array choice based on the WealthEngine screening results.

Here’s another example, let’s say that we want to identify individuals to invite to a fundraising dinner event in Miami.  First, we might select all of our constituents and friends in Miami that would typically qualify for an invitation. Then to add to the list, we could select all constituents in Miami that didn’t qualify for the preliminary selection, but had a wealth screening indicator above a particular threshold.

Click on the image above to read the article by WealthEngine.



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Bookmark this — Foundation Center Stats

If you are not already familiar with FC Stats, prepare to be amazed.

Let’s say you’re curious about foundations who awarded grants in 2012 to recipients in the Arts/Culture sector.

Click. Click. Click. You’re done.


You can view by recipient list, by granting organizations and even download the results.  Getting the information you want from the Foundation Center has never been easier and it doesn’t require a subscription!  This is free data ❤

Click on the image above to get started and bookmark the link for future use too!


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5 Fundraising metrics you should be using

Originally published on our old blog (RIP :)), this was one of our reader favorites, so we thought we’d bring the content over to this blog.

Five fundraising metrics recommended by Sidekick Solutions


  • Average gift size and number of gifts
  • Donor retention
  • Giving by activity and return per activity
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per dollar raised.

Click on the image above to open the original article that explains each of the metrics in more depth.


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