LiveAlumni Talks: Lisa Little
Topic: Prospect Research Institution: Central Queensland University Title: Advancement Research Officer Donor / Alumni Database: Sugar CRM Occurred Thurs, April 1st, 9am Brisbane Time, Wed, March 31st, 4pm Pacific / 7pm Eastern
In this LiveAlumni Talk, Lisa Little from Central Queensland University talks with others from schools in Australia and New Zealand about her role as Prospect Researcher at Central Queensland University. She is the first and only Prospect Researcher there, so she is creating her role as she goes along. She talks about the relationship between her Research, Alumni Relations and Fundraising teams.
As with all our LiveAlumni Talks, this is a round-table discussion intended to bring the LiveAlumni community together to share knowledge.
How Central Queensland University Works
Central Queensland University held its first campaign in 2016 and has since been building upon the success and momentum of that campaign. Most contributions are from corporate partners who donate for scholarships but there is also a lot of work put into creating a system for identifying and qualifying alumni for prospecting.
Notable Alumni - This a group of Central Queensland University alumni that are identified as doing great things in the community and can be called upon for being speakers, etc.
Great Alumni - This is a highly select group of no more than 200 eminent Central Queensland University alumni. To qualify an individual as a Great Alumni, the team takes a look at some of the following criteria: high giving capacity, C Suite position at a large company, nationally acknowledged author or artist, long-serving staff member, acknowledged community leader, board positions and even some personal demographics such as zip code and home value. It is, in essence, a prospect pipeline.
Their data is on a hygiene schedule so prospects are continuously being added to or removed from this pipeline as data changes. There is no point in letting the size of the prospect pool get too ambitious if the team doesn't have the capacity to cultivate all of them.
A lot of work and care by Lisa’s team goes into ensuring that the lists of alumni cohorts are properly segmented and getting the right messaging during any campaign. She uses pre-generated reports in LiveAlumni because she finds them easy to modify as needed to drill down and find exactly what she is looking for. She also uses LiveAlumni’s “Incredible Prospects” in order to feed her Great Alumni group.
Being a successful Prospect Research Officer
Building good relationships with other team members, understanding their priorities, sitting in on their meetings, being available to them are at the top of her list.
Lisa’s view is that Prospect Researchers are essentially service providers for the Alumni Relations and Fundraising teams. So a clear understanding of their “what, why and when” is crucial for an accurate delivery of prospects. She has a template that helps her ensure she doesn't miss anything when researching prospects for them.
Getting leads from key leadership
The group had a robust conversation about the importance of an institution's organizational structure when it comes to getting key leadership to share their leads with the Advancement Office. In general, it seems that when the Advancement Office is under the Chancellor's Office, getting the council to share their resources is easier.
Communication is key to building trust and getting the message across that the Advancement Team is not going to immediately run to their leads for a large ask.
Want to watch more LiveAlumni Talks?
Lisa is just one of many inspiring members of the LiveAlumni community who have been sharing their strategies. If you’d like to learn more you can (1) register to attend one of our future Talks or (2) watch recordings of past Talks.