Our recent Hot Topic Webinar was hosted by Michael Regan, Senior Director of Prospect Strategy at Cal State San Bernardino. Michael, who has over 10 years of experience in prospect research, has worked at renowned institutions such as Yale, NPR and Trinity Colleges. Now, working in part of the huge Cal State System, he’s discovered some new prospecting strategies and LiveAlumni has been there to help out.
A Little Background
Around 15 years ago, Cal State San Bernardino, much like other schools in the Cal State system – didn’t rely on fundraising. However, over the years, as government funding has decreased, donations have become a necessity. And a database with accurate and up-to-date data is fundamental to acquiring these donations.
Michael found that the database at San Bernardino was lacking employment information for their alumni and friends. They were using LinkedIn to obtain this data, but only on an individual basis with ad hoc searches. Their next issue was uploading this data in bulk into their database.
LiveAlumni was able to match around 10,000 alumni profiles and assisted their IT team with the importing this updated data into their database
Here is what enriching their database and using the LiveAlumni platform enabled Michael and his team to do:
- Increased their College of Education’s Prospect Pool – A gift officer from their college of education was discouraged with the lack of donations. Most of their alumni didn’t have the current means to become today’s major donors. They used LiveAlumni to create a prospecting list that included alumni who didn’t study education at the college but were currently working in the education industry. That list generated many new senior-level titles to add to their prospecting pool.
- Mapped Connections for New Prospects – By searching for alumni based on their volunteering roles at nonprofits, Michael mapped out useful connections. For example, looking at the nonprofit United Way, he compiled a list of all alumni involved there. He used engaged alumni to connect with other alumni volunteering at the same organization in hopes they could be donors or volunteers for the school.
- Mapped Out Successful Travel Plans – Michael’s team was able to pursue many international initiatives in Asian countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand using LiveAlumni. The platform helped them deliver the best possible prospects in a specific area in a format that was useful for the team. Their biggest success – an alumni event in Thailand that hosted over 100 alumni!
Michael’s Closing Notes & Recommendations
- Donors are Targeting and Tracking their Donations. Gen X’ers, who count for a good portion of today’s donors, tend to be more strategic about their giving. They are closely following where their money goes and are tracking whether it’s being put to its intended use.
- Knowing Donor Interest is Essential. The more insight you have into someone’s interests, affiliations or personal activities the better you can engage with them.
- More Detailed Data is a Plus. Gift officers appreciate the granular details – it helps them make better decisions when communicating with donors.
- Use Relationship Mapping. Whatever purpose you have for communicating with your alumni – events, donations, volunteering, etc – it is always easier if you can use a common connection to speak on your behalf.
- Engage Parents of International Alumni. If these parents have the desire and means to educate their children at a university abroad, they likely have the resources to be great potential donors. Take a look at our blog for tips on soliciting donations from parents.
So again, a big thanks to Michael Regan, for hosting this webinar and sharing his experience and insight with us. If you or your team have any great LiveAlumni success stories you’d like to share, we would love to hear about them! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Request Webinar Recording: If you’d like to request a recording of Michael’s webinar, please complete the form below.
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Sources & Additional Reading
 Trends in Philanthropy – the rise of Impact Giving, Harvardpolitics.com
 Why Advancement Professionals should Map Relationships, Livealumni.com/blog
 Soliciting Donations from Parents, Livealumni.com/blog