OverDRIVE/ 2019 Schedule

8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Registration and Breakfast

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

What’s Our Role? The Future of Fundraising Science 

Josh Birkholz, Principal, Bentz Whaley Flessner

For many emerging data scientists and analytics professionals, the early years are defined by methods. How do I build better models? Should I focus more on text analysis or deep learning? How do I get better at Python? After a couple years, most realize their success is defined by program contribution. Are we more productive? Are we more efficient? Where are we going? And, how do we get there? Our fundraising science community has the same opportunity to evolve. Can we, as a group, resolve to tackle the big issues facing philanthropy today? How do we grow beyond 2% of the GDP? Is there a solution to the staffing shortage? What is the optimal model of gift diversity for economic volatility?

In this dynamic session, Josh Birkholz will try and lead you to think bigger in an unprecedented time of new innovations. What will we do with it?                                                                           

10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.  Break

10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Data Visualization

Rich Majerus, AVP of Donor Relations and Advancement Strategy, Colby College

How can we use data visualization to better understand our organizations and our fundraising work? We have the data: wealth screenings, addresses, giving histories, interactions, etc. How we look at it can make all the difference. Data visualizations can help us discover new insights, make better decisions, and craft strong arguments.

In this session, Rich will present a series of case studies from Colby College to show how data visualization has been used to determine campaign size in collaboration with the board, identify high (and not so high) performing fundraisers, optimize fundraising portfolios, and develop strategies and messaging based on giving behaviors. Additionally, the session will include live examples of the data visualization process, an explanation of Colby’s data presentation and graphical guidelines, recommended data visualization resources, and occasional yet hilarious dog gifs.

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Lunch and Keynote Session

4th-Down Decisions (and Other Data Science Stories)

Corey Krawiec, Manager, Player Evaluation and Analytics, Baltimore Ravens

Should your team go for it on 4th and 1 in the red zone? Should they go for 2 if they are down in the fourth quarter and score a touchdown?

During his keynote presentation, Corey Krawiec, manager of player evaluation and analytics for the Baltimore Ravens, will speak about how the NFL team uses analytics and the expected points framework to make data-informed decisions. Corey will address logical fallacies and biases that often prevent us from making the “best” data-based decisions.

Being open to new ideas and re-examining historical practices and generally accepted knowledge can have a substantial impact on decision-making processes and results at any organization. Through these unique stories, you’ll discover the data science questions to ask yourself in your own work – for example: Might it be beneficial for advancement professionals to consider developing an expected giving framework to guide the development of gift officer portfolios?

Learn the unexpected correlation between football and advancement in this insightful presentation.

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Data Informed Decisions Culture 

Natalie Spring, Director of Prospect Research, Management and Analytics, Duke University

Have you ever seen a home and garden show? In 42 minutes + 18 minutes of commercials you can live through a months long renovation project in which you find the perfect dream home you can afford after just visiting three places and interviewing one contractor. Maybe you find old wiring, and there is a moment of crisis, but in sixty minutes you have a tidy solution and everyone is happy. In our work, imagine a world in which there are no roadblocks or analysis paralysis, you're working with a top notch team with an adequate budget, your partners clearly communicate, and consensus is easily reached.

Building a data-informed culture doesn't deliver miracles. Even if all levels of the organization are using varied data in valued ways, clearly communicating and finding consensus can be a challenge. In this session we'll start from the premise that analytics doesn't have the answers but instead you have the right questions to ask and the skills to help those around you find the right information to inform their decisions. We'll discuss how you — regardless of position, hierarchy, and authority — can build, create, or sustain a data-informed culture. We'll use different types of data to navigate conversations that may not involve numbers at all. We'll discuss building data-literacy and how to tell the story you see in a clear and understandable way.

2:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. Break

2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. 

Applied Analytics

Brett Lantz, Data Scientist, University of Michigan

There seems to be tremendous variation across fundraising organizations in practices around wealth and capacity ratings. Opinions vary on the best choice of wealth screening vendor, the use of “wealth” versus “capacity” measures, the appropriate rating levels, and even the final rating arbiter—whether Prospect Development, Analytics, or Fundraiser. Survey a hundred different teams and you are likely to find a hundred different answers to each of these questions.

Further complicating matters is the fact that wealth data itself is noisy and complex to interpret. Although it is to be expected that wealth screenings return false positives and false negatives, even the “gold standard” gift officer ratings can be out of date or inaccurate. The growing array of wealth indicators available from vendors creates additional conflicting information. Who or what is to be believed when the hard asset rating is extremely high, the discretionary income rating is extremely low, and the fundraiser and prospect researchers disagree?

In this session, Brett will present approaches employed at the University of Michigan to unify wealth and capacity data. These practices evolved from a simple hierarchy to determine a single “primary” capacity rating for each prospect to more sophisticated attempts to synthesize a single capacity rating from diverse and potentially disagreeing sources. Additionally, Brett will provide pointers for ensuring that fundraisers focus less on a capacity rating and more on the gift conversation itself.

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. Faculty Panel