MARC 2013

MARC 2013 Session Descriptions

Click here to access all MARC 2013 Presentations

Pre-Conference Workshops

The Changing Demographics & Psychographics of Giving
David M. Lawson, Partner,, LLC

The seismic shifts in demographics are affecting everything, from what we buy to who our leaders are. These shifts are also having a big impact on philanthropy. For information professionals this means it is critical to understand the demographics of their organization's constituency. This session will focus on the facts, trends, and opinions about who is giving today, and who will be giving tomorrow. We will also examine the psychographics of givers to understand how their personalities, interests, attitudes, values, and motivations are affecting their giving.

How Are We Doing?: Using Benchmarking for Planning, Goal Setting and Performance Evaluation
Dan Lowman, Senior Vice President, Grenzebach Glier and Associates

Benchmarking is a valuable process to gain an objective sense of your success, from the institutional level all the way to the individual staff member.  So your fundraising grew 25% in the last five years--so what if similar universities grew by 50%?  What if you have one researcher for every 12 fundraisers, and your peers have one for every 8?  What if your metrics ask for 150 prospects visits a year, but your best fundraiser only did 80?  This workshop will begin with a discussion of the types of benchmarking, the data collection process, defining a meaningful cohort, the pitfalls of data standardization, and important metrics that are worth benchmarking.  The second portion of the workshop will present the audience with a series of benchmarking data reports, and ask participants to work together to draw out the key conclusions and discuss how to present the findings to strengthen a case.

Breakout Sessions

Advanced Research

Creating A Winning Campaign Communications Plan
Cathleen Parsons Nikolic, Associate Vice President - Operations, Villanova University and Christopher Connors, Villanova University

Does your research team have a communications plan that actively supports the goals of your organization? Is information provided by these efforts both useful and put to use? Whether you are beginning a campaign or in the midst of one, ensuring proper communication between divisions is a critical success factor.  Various aspects of advancement that might inform your plan include strategies for stewardship, events, campaign reporting, advancement services, alumni relations and prospect identification. In this working session, we will discuss how various campaign objectives can be matched with prospect research efforts, determine factors impacting how this support is communicated and draft a plan that will be applicable in any environment. 

Project Management: The More You Plan, The Luckier You Get
Fundamental, Intermediate
Sylvia Galen, Assistant Vice President of Advancement Services, The George Washington University

Project management as implemented in the fields of software development, construction, and manufacturing can seem very complex and overwhelming. What do you really need to make your prospect research, prospect management and advancement services teams effective? We'll cover examples and ideas for those who lead projects or are managers of project leaders. Bring your own examples and ideas to share as well.

When Fundraisers and Prospect Researchers Collaborate: Identifying Access People to Connect With Your Major Gift Prospects
Gil Israeli, Director of Prospect Research & Senior Writer, American Technion Society

Unlike direct mail, online fundraising, sponsored RFPs and small annual gifts, major gift prospects often require a uniquely tailored approach for critical connection, cultivation and solicitation. Once identified, what is the best way to reach them? Raising these larger gifts from new prospects almost always requires door-openers or "access people" to foster relationship building.

Tell Me Everything At Once: Making Meaning Out of Social Media 
Jay Frost, Partner, Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners, President & CEO, 

Now that our institutions are embracing social media, the new challenge is for us to make sense of it.  What is truly valuable?  What does it convey about our donors and new friends? Are there ways to effectively mine it?  And what ethical and practical questions does the review and use of social networking data raise?  Join Jay Frost, a leading proponent of fundraising and research applications of social media, for a discussion about making social media meaningful.

Vision Driven Leadership: How to Engage Staff (& Yourself) and be a True Partner in Fundraising
Alison Sommers-Sayre, Executive Director, Information Strategy, Office of Development, Princeton University

Good management requires much more than keeping track of requests, workloads and work product.  A successful manager helps provide a positive working environment where committed staff work in tandem toward shared goals that add value to their organization.  One of the best ways to build such an environment is through vision driven leadership.  Whether you are a one person shop, manage a function or manage a team, you can benefit from understanding how to develop a management philosophy, create robust goals that reflect organizational priorities, and be a visible and respected advocate among senior leadership.  This session will discuss how to develop and cultivate your leadership vision and ways to ensure you and your team stay on track helping drive success in your organization.


Data Analytics

Actually Implementing Analytics
Lawrence Henze, Principal Consultant, Target Analytics, a Blackbaud Company

Of course this is an overstatement, but there is more than a kernel of truth to the title. Want to doom you prospect screening before it starts? Fail to plan an implementation strategy, do not build a consensus among staff, and forget to hold people accountable for actions…just for starters. This session will discuss what you should do, including: 1. how to build pre-screening and analytical preparedness, including creating consensus among staff before the results are in 2. building an implementation plan that is reasonable, actionable and accountable 3. creating implementation strategies that build upon your preparedness and position your organization for success.

Case Study: Prospect Management Using Data Analysis & Visualization
Sarah Kline, Development Research Specialist, Bucknell University

This session will examine a prospect management project completed by the research staff at Bucknell University. Leadership gift fundraisers were asked to reduce their portfolios to less than 120 prospects, resulting in a list of more than 600 culled prospects. We used Excel and Tableau to conduct simple data analysis, scoring, and visualization to prioritize this list so that three other offices in development (the Parent's Fund, Gift Planning and the Annual Fund) could make informed choices and take on the qualification and cultivation of some of these prospects.

Prospect Identification: No Alumni, No Problem!
Steve Knight, Director of Prospect Development, World Wildlife Fund

This session is for everyone who has one thing in common…you do not have an alumni base for developing fundraising prospects. We will explore the challenges and solutions for building a prospect identification process for membership/cause-related/healthcare fundraising institutions. The presentation will discuss methods of prospect ID including wealth screening, peer screening, sphere of influence and basic analytics. Participants will take away techniques for identifying and growing your prospect base, with an emphasis on moving from discovery into fundraising action. If your role involves prospecting for organizations not in higher education, this program is for you!

Prospecting Through Events and Trip
Dan Gifford, Research Analyst, Smithsonian Institution

Events, organized tours, invitation-only programs--these are all unique and exciting opportunities in any Development office. However, they also require significant coordination and are often a source of stress for Researchers. Poor communication, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of follow-through can turn events and trips into a minefield. This session explores strategies for making research an integral part of events and trips, from planning all the way to the last post-mortum.

Small Steps to Big Data
David M. Lawson, Partner,, LLC

Big Data is all the rage, but where do you start? This session will answer that question by examining the core concepts, techniques, and applications of Big Data as they relate to fundraising. This will help bring Big Data down to a manageable, and understandable, size. Whether you are part of a large organization or a one-person shop, you will come away with practical ways to begin integrating Big Data into your work.

Using Excel for Analytics
Patrick Lienhard, Senior Prospect Research Coordinator, Virtua Foundation

Need to learn data modeling?  Want a model you could implement immediately?  This session will illustrate regression analysis using a simple time-series model that forecasted Temple University's $350 million campaign within 1% of the final total.  After the session, attendees will be able to replicate the model on their own.  A special focus will be given to understanding regression results and how to effectively communicate them to colleagues with varying degrees of statistical knowledge. 


Research Fundamentals

Campagin Pyramids: Brick by Brick
Chelsea Drake and Temekka Davis, College of William & Mary

A useful campaign pyramid facilitates the progression of a prospect philanthropic lifespan from initial donor to major gift prospect. With the use of data analytics and targeted prospect identification a campaign pyramid becomes both dynamic and flexible. A prospects interest can be identified by utilizing the data already held within your organization to create realistic goals for each constituent area. Qualitative research found within contact reports and other sources created the foundation for our campaign pyramid project for donors rated at $1 million or more. Moving forward a wealth screening and prospect identification project will help identify additional donors.

Global Research: Mastering Special Problems
Beth Bandy, Principal, International Fundraising Intelligence LLC

This session will cover special topics that crop up – and can potentially trip us up – when we do international prospect research. We will discuss Internationalized Domain Names (for example, ".한국" for South Korea and ".新加坡" for Singapore); tackle websites that do not work well with to Google Translate (such as those with a lot of Flash or text embedded in images); explore how in-house data collection policies can make your international research efforts a breeze (or not); and more. This class assumes some familiarity with international research resources and techniques.

Proactive Research- using innovative techniques
Anissa Holmes, Director of Research, University of Maryland - College Park

Many times "Proactive Research" is assumed to be lists of wealthy individuals who have no connection to your organization--"pie-in-the-sky" names from Forbes lists and competing board rosters. But what about the low-dollar donors who are ACTUALLY giving to your organization? A detailed understanding of the information in your database is vital to the success of your prospect identification process. This session will cover how to find new prospects using the data you currently have to push out information to your fundraisers to help expand your prospect pipeline.

Real Estate Research and Financial Analysis
Thomas C. Hampsey, Director of Development Research, Lafayette College

A property record is sometimes one of the only significant indicators of wealth available on a prospect. As a result, developing the best valuation techniques in real estate research has become vital. Join this session to learn about the many facets of real estate research, including:

  • An overview of how real estate fits into a prospect's overall financial picture
  • How mortgages can reveal more than you expect
  • Instruction on methods for determining a property's "market value"
  • Tips to uncover new prospects using real estate
  • Formulas for translating property information into an estimate of an individual's total assets and giving ability 
  • Review of free and fee-based sources for conducting real estate research.

So What is Fundraising, Really – and Where Do I Fit In?
Amy Carrier, Director, Research and Prospect Development, Georgetown University

You’ve just joined your organization as a prospect researcher. Most likely, you didn’t even know this field existed prior to taking this job. So – now what? What is fundraising, really? This session will address many of the questions a new researcher has about fundraising: How do fundraisers do their work? How can I help the fundraisers be most effective? Does my work really have any impact on my organization’s efforts? How does my role fit into the overall structure of the organization? How do fundraisers – and my other colleagues – perceive research?

Understanding SEC Filings: How to Evaluate Executive Compensation in SEC Filings Without the Hassle of Getting Lost
Neil Herdan, Independent Consultant

This is a basic overview of how to get the most out of SEC Filings when you need to research potential prospects, who work for or affiliated with public companies. This presentation will cover the various SEC laws, the different types of filings used (eg. 10-K, 10-Q, Proxy, S-1, S-3 and 13e-3), how these forms are structured and where to find executive compensation and key biographical details on your prospect(s).  Real life examples will be used throughout this session.


Relationship Management

How to Become a MGO's BFF, Lessons Learned on Developing Partnerships with the Major Gifts Team
Steven Lieberstein, Associate Director of Prospect Management and Strategy, Mount Sinai Medical Center

Building a culture amongst front-line fundraisers that embraces prospect management is essential in developing a vibrant major and principal gift pipeline. learn how my background as a front-line fundraiser has given me a unique perspective on the pressures a fundraiser faces to meet goals, build robust portfolios and secure visits on a 10 person front-line team in a heath care setting. This perspective has enabled me to uniquely penetrate the Cerebrum of the team to create the essential focus and partnerships neccesary for Portfolio Management to become a state of mind across the Major Gifts Team.

Thinking Inside the Box: Implementing a Relationship Management System with the Tools on Hand
Agie Yatsko, Senior Prospect management Specialist, World Wildlife Fund and Sarah Conner-Smith, Director of Prospect Management, Bryn Mawr College

Examine the processes used by two different organizations to analyze and optimize existing resources to implement prospect management systems. This session will cover the nuts and bolts of the internal decision-making process used to determine whether conversion to a new database is necessary, develop business rules, and create prospect management policies and procedures using current organizational structure and assets. Learn how to overcome some of the common hurdles and prepare an implementation strategy that will lead to success.

Tracking Movement Through the Cultivation Cycle
Chris Cannon, Bentz Whaley Flessner

Prospect management often looks better on paper than in practice. Join this session to learn best practices for tracking movement of prospects (as well as advancement staff!) from identification, to cultivation, and through solicitation. This session will cover benchmark data on “normal” progress, as well as the best ways to overcome bottlenecks in the cycle. Participants in this interactive session will leave knowing how to streamline their own activities, best engage advancement colleagues, and help guide prospects toward making commitments.

Using Donor Motivation to Advance your Prospect Management Efforts
Melissa Bank Stepno, Senior Consultant, Target Analytics, a Blackbaud Company

In recent years, two external forces have begun to affect our major giving programs: a struggling economy and changing motivations among our top donors.  Donors are increasingly indicating that their giving is less about the money itself and more about their relationship with a specific non-profit.  Understanding these donor motivations more fully is critically important to successful major gift fundraising efforts.  This session will explore recent trends in high-net worth philanthropy and how these trends should be accounted for in your Prospect Management efforts.