First, I wish to introduce myself. My name is Carol Belair, and I am a senior consultant located here in the lovely Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Well maybe this winter…not so lovely. I work with our Target Analytics clients providing consulting and training on the various solutions that they purchased from us. Some of you may know me and others may have never heard of me, but for the past 7 years, I have been working with thousands of non-profit clients of every vertical and geography as an account executive at Blackbaud and Kintera, specifically with our P!N clients. In this role, I listened to the challenges and goals of our clients and provided information and guidance on how our Target Analytics services could help them ultimately achieve their objectives. In the past 16 years I have to ask myself often, “How did I get here?”
My first thought is how impressed by the industry and how we have adjusted to all the new tools and technology at our fingertips – But there has also been a shift in our overall thinking about how we engage with our prospects and donors. Look at all the amazing ways we can leverage social media, our websites, and email, so that we can quickly and easily communicate with, receive gifts from, and steward our constituents.
Back in 1995 when I began working in the not-for-profit space, the company I worked for provided our wealth screening and modeling clients with a myriad of three-inch notebooks containing several lists and thousands of names and addresses of their top prospects. These notebooks were accompanied by 9-track magnetic tape containing a fixed-format file of the results so that they could upload this data to their various fundraising systems. The cost of shipping all of these heavy objects alone was staggering – Not to mention daunting for our clients to receive at the time of the delivery. It was truly our only option at the time, given the technology that was available. With clients sending us large pools of prospects for segmentation, we were limited to utilizing metrics on 50 or so psycho-demographic data elements, census and survey-demographic data elements, and very basic neighborhood wealth data, along with some internal client gift information to come up with top prospect pools based on affinity and capacity. It was by no means as comprehensive and predictive as what we can do today with the literally hundreds, if not thousands of data elements available at our disposal.
Now fast forward to the year 2011 – Clients can receive very detailed data on public assets, biographies, and philanthropic/political contributions on their prospects with the click of a button and update hundreds of profiles within minutes. They can do this whenever, wherever they want to, be it at the office, at home, the airport, hotel, or at the local coffee shop. Suffice it to say, the days of dusting off 3” notebooks are gone – And here to stay technology that boggles the mind and makes our lives easier. If you have any thoughts or ideas on how I can help provide meaningful content on the subject of new technology – especially on the topic of the role that social media plays in fundraising – please reply here to this blog, future blogs, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.