As we head into the midst of summer it’s now that time of year again when many Universities and educational institutions begin screening the parents of their new intake of students. This screening is a crucial part of a development team’s process – identifying those parents who have the capacity to give to their institution in future.
However, is capacity and wealth information enough on its own?
If a prospective donor is two hundred times more likely to make a major gift donation when approached through a peer as opposed to a fundraiser, it means that finding a connection to one of the new parents can be just as important as finding out whether they have the capacity to give.
So, institutions that are currently in, or about to begin the process of screening for new prospects must consider that only by screening for both wealth and relationships can they formulate complete strategies on which potential new donors to approach and how to approach them.
Yesterday it was reported in DallasNews.com that plans for a new business building at the University of Dallas were unveiled. The Chief architect, Ron Stelmarski spoke about the building at the unveiling and shared his plans to build it so as to provide panoramic views from many of its windows.
Who made it possible?
The building is to be named the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business in honor of the couple whose $12 million donation made the whole project possible. The Guptas both attended the University of Dallas after having applied as a result of viewing a recruitment poster whilst they were still living in India.
Satish Gupta explains their generosity, saying that their alma mater “holds a special place in [their] hearts.” This is unsurprising considering the couple both have several strong connections to constituents from their former school. Below, an image from a Prospect Visual relationship report reveals some of Yasmin Gupta’s connections to the University of Dallas – connections which help her maintain her connection to the school long after graduating.
Social media has changed our lives. It’s changed how we connect to our friends, our colleagues, our family, and even to consumers. But as it becomes an integral part of maintaining relationships, are we discovering its growing limitations?
Our belief in the inherent value of relationships is a key element in the rise of social media. That same belief also leads us to the inevitable discovery of its weaknesses.
If you’re a believer in the value of relationships, you might have found yourself using various forms of social media and professional profile sites (e.g., LinkedIn) to attempt to manage and grow your own relationships. You will no doubt have discovered that these services help you manage who you know as well as help you grow your network by identifying new connections.
However, in the process you may have discovered that social media struggles to deliver the ability to actually capitalize on those relationships in a professional arena – whether you’re looking for an introduction to a prospect or you just want to get a foot in the door somewhere.
So if you’re an entrepreneur, fundraiser, or sales and/or marketing professional, you’ve probably realized by now that managing your relationships through social media is not enough. What you’re missing is the ability to use your existing relationships to find connections to your targets.
So, what you’re really looking for is a Relationship Mapping service – which can connect the dots to help you do just that.
Last week, Clark Atlanta University announced that they had received a $150,000 gift donation from one of their own trustees.
This kind of donation provides a clear example of the importance of relationships when it comes to making donations. Aldridge’s history with the school goes back to her bachelor’s degree which she earned from Clark College and continued with her master’s degree which she attained from Atlanta University. After graduating she maintained her links with her alma mater culminating in her appointment to the school’s board of trustees.
The above image from Prospect Visual shows a map of some of Aldridge’s strongest connections to other constituents of Clark Atlanta University – and gives a clue as to why she decided to make her gift.
Earlier this week it was announced that the University of Kansas Hospital was to be the beneficiary of a $2 million gift donation from the Sunderland Foundation. The gift is to help the Hospital with its expansion plans.
Who’s behind the donation?
The Sunderland Foundation is fronted by brothers, Kent and Charles. Charles Sunderland is the Chairman of Ash Grove Cement Co., and his brother Kent is the Vice Chairman.
The donation is not surprising considering Charles Sunderland is a long serving member of the University of Kansas Hospital Authority Board. However in addition to that, a quick glance at the image from Prospect Visual shows that both brother also have further connections to other constitents and donors of the University of Kansas.
Charles Sunderland in particular seems to share a strong connection with Greg Graves, who only last month donated $1 million to the Hospital himself.
When we look into these interconnecting relationships it seems we can identify the influencers behind the Sunderland brothers’ generosity.
Yesterday, Texas Tech University announced that they were the recipient of a $15 million gift donation from alumnus Edward Whitacre Jr. and his wife, Linda.
Whitacre, the former CEO of General Motors Co. and Chairman Emeritus of AT&T Inc, is no stranger to donating to his alma mater. 6 years ago the school’s College of Engineering was renamed in his honor, after he made a $25 million donation.
The image from Prospect Visual shows the connections between Whitacre and constitunets at his former school which may give us a clue as to the influences behind his donations.
It’s been over a decade since the launch of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg is a household name. And rightly so – his idea, his product has made a profound impact on modern lives.
Apart from this, Zuckerberg is also becoming known as an avid philanthropist – making generous gifts in the last few years to the Newark Public Schools and Silcon Valley Community Foundation among others. And less than two weeks ago it was also reported that Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were to donate $120 million to the San Francisco Bay Area’s public school system.
This philanthropic activity has made him a prized prospect for many organizations.
But how can an organization decide whether Zuckerberg is within their reach? Capacity? Everyone knows he has that. Inclination? His acitivities in the last few years have demonstrate a desire to take on a philanthropic role.
So the only question left is to ask whether such a prominent individual is reachable.
A quick glance at the image from Prospect Visual shows a selection of some of the more well-known people within Zuckerberg’s Sphere of Influence and who in turn have the potential to influence him when it comes to making donations.
Do you see a path to him? If not, perhaps it’s time to compile information on his entire network and find out whether he’s within your reach!
A couple of months ago a Bloomberg article shared a report by the Council for Aid to Education in New York, which revealed that college donations in the US had reached a record $33.8 Billion. This exceeds the peak that had previously been reached in 2009, before the global economic recession. An article in the British newspaper “The Guardian” also demonstrates that the phenomenon is spreading to the UK.
Why is this happening?
The rise cannot be put to be down to a single cause. A major factor is of course that economies across the globe are finally beginning to recover from the recession.
However Ann Kaplan, director of the survey performed by the CAE, stated in the Bloomberg article that, “What came to fruition this year didn’t come in just one year… It means there’s some careful planning. They’ve been either in campaigns or cultivating the connection.” Kaplan believes that institutions have been working harder at building relationships and that this one of the main reasons for the rise in donations.
How is it happening?
Building relationships and utilizing relationship capital is not an exact science. In fact, traditional methods have proved they can be unpredictable and inefficient. However, the disrupting factor in recent years, has been the introduction of advanced Relationship Mapping services.
In an era where advances in data-gathering and visualization technology are being made at an incredible pace, these services have been able to help provide institutions with greater access to their relationships than ever before.
What this shows is that relationship capital – long recognized as an asset in the enterprise sector – has become an even more valuable commodity for educational institutions because of the advantages provided by relationship mapping.
If you’re a University or College that is interested in getting more out of your existing relationships, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to share some ideas on how relationship mapping could help you.