Collecting Data from the Web – Is it legal?

Over the past few weeks we’ve noticed a lot of chatter about the legality of scrubbing the web for data. This issue has been shrouded in too much ambiguity and confusion, so we thought it was about time to clear everything up – at least when it comes to how our team works.

What is web scraping?

Web scraping is the process of gathering data from websites, usually via a program that emulates the human behavior of finding information on the web. It’s useful because it helps translate a lot of unstructured data that’s available on the web into useful information that can be stored and/or analyzed.

Here’s why we’re all a little confused

We exist in the age of social media and, as a result, more and more people are choosing to make information about themselves available on social media platforms. These platforms – e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook etc. – typically require you to register and log in before accessing the data they contain. Their data is restricted, and logging in to export data from these platforms is usually a violation of their terms of service.

So far so simple.

The confusion tends to arise when you consider that, in some cases, certain social media profiles are in fact available via search engines – whether you’re logged into the platform in question or not. This is when people become – understandably – concerned that the data, despite its visibility, is also restricted.

Here’s how we can clear things up

When we first began developing our profile service, we knew the public web represented a vast resource of data that could prove invaluable to our customers. We also knew to effectively use that resource we had to fully understand all the issues involved in gathering the data. So we put together a team to conduct extensive research into all the nitty gritty details so we could become fully educated on the issues at hand.

And, here’s why you don’t have to worry

The services we provide have been developed considering every detail that our team discovered. We’ve worked very hard to ensure our methods are 100% legitimate by focusing entirely on the “public web.”

So what does that mean exactly? When we say we pull information from the “public web” we mean the part of the web which is indexed and made available via search engines – the data that is readily available without registering for or logging into any websites. In the specific case of our profile service, we are referring to the data individual users of social media platforms have actively chosen to make public.

This choice makes the entire issue wholly transparent. When a user chooses to make their profile public, they are deciding not to restrict their data to the platform they are using, choosing instead to share it with the wider web via search engines.

Once the data is made public in this way, we have the right to gather it without ever approaching any legal “gray areas” – thus ensuring you can use our services without any concerns at all.

 

Why your University NEEDS up-to-date employment data on Alumni

A university’s alumni is one of its biggest assets. An alumni pool brings with it word-of-mouth references, potential donations, and potential connections to some of the most powerful people in the world. Occasionally your alumni may even be a part of that elite group of powerful and influential people.

However, what about the rest? The alumni who are incredibly successful but less public. Do you have a strategy for keeping them engaged? Do you know why you should?

Here’s why your relationships with your alumni matter.

When was the last time a former acquaintance you haven’t heard from in years reached out to you and asked how you were and then, after some token small talk, asked you for some money or a huge favor? Were you inclined to grant them their wish? I’m guessing not.

The same goes for your alumni. When a school neglects its alumni and reaches for donations, seemingly out of the blue, chances are that the school will either get a negative response or none at all! So maintaining links with alumni is crucial before asking anything of them.

Okay, you accept that alumni relationships matter—what does employment data have to do with it?

How do you keep track of the ever-changing groups of students who pass through your institution? How do you reach out to the ones who have slipped through over the years?

The most efficient answer is employment data. By gathering information on their current and past employment roles, Universities can not only receive insight into what their alumni are doing, they can get a sense of what really matters to their alumni now. By finding out their interests and the companies they’ve been working for, you can focus your strategies for reconnecting with alumni by concentrating on each person’s unique profile and interests.

The result? A new pool of prospective donors who are going to be far more inclined to donate to their alma mater.

Right, you’re on board—employment data is the answer! But how is that going to help you contact them?

To many, the most obvious solution seems to be an email address or phone number—and if you can gather that information along with employment data, you might think you’ve struck gold. Well, we think there’s an even better option.

Many alums—particularly the successful ones—are constantly being approached over email or phone by any number of people. They might not notice your attempts to get in touch or—at worst—they might see such direct solicitation as too invasive.

Connecting to them via profiles on public websites (e.g., LinkedIn), however, represents a far more welcome and comfortable form of communication. They won’t delete the email because they think it’s spam or ignore a call because they think it’s a cold call. Social media is “social” by its nature, and because of this, approaches through social media tend to be much more likely to gain a positive response.

Great, you got it. So now you have to gather employment data AND social media info? How?

In short, you ask for help. Many services out there can help you collect the employment data you need. Some—such as Prospect Visual’s service—even include URLs for free as part of any employment append package and offer special prices to educational institutions.

So if you’re ready to build those alumni profiles, what are you waiting for? Use the form below to get a sample file of your own alumni or get in touch with us to find out more!

DOWNLOAD A FREE SAMPLE FILE OF YOUR OWN ALUMNI

If you’d like to make an inquiry about our Append / Alumni Profiling service or would like to download a free sample file of your own alumni please use the form below to make your request.

YouTube does its bit to help Nonprofits!

Is your nonprofit using YouTube? If not, you should be!

The success of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge highlighted – among many things – the power of social media to help nonprofit fundraising. YouTube gets more than 1 billion unique users each month and, according to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18-34 than any cable network.

What this means is that YouTube represents a great avenue for nonprofits to spread their message. There’s even a published playbook that the company has put out in order to help nonprofits make the most of the video channel.

And to help make it even easier to turn views into donations they’ve added this handy donate button seen below in a snapshot of The Nature Conservancy’s YouTube page.

Technology is making it easier and easier for nonprofits to connect to the masses and generate small gifts. Of course connections to the masses aren’t enough – but advances in technology have also produced relationship mapping services, such as Prospect Visual, which allow nonprofits to connect with the more niche groups of high capacity, potential major gift donors.

Nature Conservancy

Miami University gets $1m from Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback

Ben Roethlisberger, star quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and his wife Ashley will donate a cool million dollars to Roethlisberger’s alma mater. The gift is to go towards the school’s indoor sports center and in honor of the gift, the 120-yard field inside will be now be called “Ben Roethlisberger Field.

Miami athletics director David Sayler said, “This gift continues our vision to make a difference in the lives of our student-athletes and that includes winning MAC Championships. I am thankful that both Ben and Ashley share in that same vision.”

The donation is the latest in a trend of notable alumni making large gifts to their former schools and reiterates the need for fundraising and development teams to focus on building and maintaining close relationships with their students, during and after their time at their schools. To ensure that your team is doing everything possible to cultivate relationships with your alumni, ensure that you have their most up-to-date employment information on hand and register  for a relationship mapping service such as Prospect Visual to help you identify how you can reach out to them.

 

University of Tampa Gets 10M$ Gift from Howard and Patricia Jenkins

University of Tampa has received one of the largest gifts in the school’s history from Howard and Patricia Jenkins. In honor of the donation, there will be a residence hall named after the Jenkins couple at the University of Tampa. The 11-story West Kennedy Hall, which was completed in August 2013 and houses 528 students will be re-named the Jenkins Hall.

The Donors

Howard Jenkins, serves on the executive committee of University of Tampa’s Board of trustees and chairs the board’s planning committee. Mr. Jenkins also serves as the Chairman and President of Jenkins Clinic, Inc.  He started his career with Publix Super Markets in 1966 and served as its CEO since 2001.

Patricia Jenkins founded Apollo Environmental Inc. ,which specializes in hazardous materials consulting and analysis, expert witness testimony and regulatory compliance.

Howard and Patricia Jenkins have made some significant impacts on so many cultural and educational areas in Tampa Bay, and University of Tampa is pleased to welcome the couple to the UT community according to the university president Ronald L. Vaughn.

The Relationships 

For insight into the relationships which may have been the catalyst behind the gift, see this connections report from Prospect Visual to see who may have acted as an influencer for UT.

University of Tampa and Jenkins

Michigan State University gets $25m from Billionaire Couple

Eli and Edythe Broad of the eponymous College of Business at Michigan State University surprised and delighted students and officials alike last weekend with the announcement of a $25 million “challenge donation” to kickstart a $1.5 billion fundraising goal which the institution hopes to achieve by the end of 2018.

Eli Broad is the architect of two Fortune 500 companies – KB Home and SunAmerica – and is a long time friend of the school. His connection with the institution is obvious in the name of the Business school and confirmed by the relationship report below, provided by Prospect Visual.

Broad - MSU

Proof yet again that an organization’s largest donors tend to be those who have strong relationships with them.

If you’re interested in finding out which prospective donors are most likely to become your donors, use relationship mapping to investigate which ones have strong connections to your institution. Contact the Prospect Visual team for a free demo to find out more.

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$4.26m to Taylor University shows the power of alumni

While perusing through the news reports today we came across this interesting item about a donation to Taylor University in eastern Indiana. The gift – a generous $4.26 million – came not from a single donor but from a group of alumni celebrating their 50-year reunion.

The university explained that the group had been planning to make this gift as a result of alumnus Ron Scott’s challenge to his classmates from 1964 to make a memorable gift to their former school to celebrate their reunion. Though Scott passed away last year, his peers took up his challenge and came through with their generous gift.

We think this is a heartwarming story that proves that the connection between graduates and their alma mater is very strong and – given the right set of circumstances – can be a powerful aid to any institution’s fundraising.

University of Redlands gets $35m from former Board Members

During Homecoming celebrations this Saturday,  it was announced that the University of Redlands has created a scholarship program with the help of a $35 million donation from Richard Hunsaker and his wife Virginia.

The scholarship will be named the Richard and Virginia Hunsaker Scholarship Fund and will benefit future students of College of Arts and Sciences.

The Hunsakers are very important donors for the University of Redlands. Both are former students at the school who graduated in 1952 and both have previously served on the school’s Board of Trustees. As a result both will have relationships with high-level constituents at the school.

This connections report from Prospect Visual shows the links between Richard Hunsaker and the university’s existing and past board members – and gives us a clue as to why the Hunsakers continue to enjoy a close relationship with their alma mater.

Redlands - Hunsaker

Why businessman Les Muma gave $25m to University of South Florida

Over the weekend it was announced that Tampa based businessman and philanthropist Les Muma and his wife Pam, were to donate $25 million to the University of South Florida.

The gift is the largest individual gift in the school’s history and as a result the College of Business will be renamed as the USF Muma College of Business with immediate effect. .

Why did the Muma’s donate?

When looking into the reasons behind the couple’s incredible generosity towards USF, we were unsurprised to find that they had very strong links to the school.

Les Muma is an alumnus who graduated in 1966 and he and his wife have a past history of making donations to the school and are in fact (as a result of this most recent donation) the largest donors in the institution’s history. Les has even served as the the chart of the USF Foundation’s Board of Directors in the past.

With such strong connections to the school, it’s no wonder the Muma’s would choose USF to be a beneficiary of their charitable giving.

What USF did next…

USF have been quick to show their gratitude – recognizing the need to continue to nurture their relationships with their largest donors.

In a statement released by the University, USF Foundation CEO Joel Momberg said “Pam and Les Muma have a deep and real passion for the University of South Florida, its students and its faculty. This transformative gift for the USF College of Business exemplifies this, and in naming the Muma College of Business, we forever recognize this legacy of support.”

Please click here if you wish to view the official press release.

The Wilson Family & their connections to Duke University

A few days ago we posted an article about the relationship between the University of Tennessee and the Haslam family. A connection which has resulted in a series of generous donations for the school.

Today we wanted to take a look at Duke University and their relationship to the Wilson family. Below is a relationship report generated by Prospect Visual revealing the connections between the school and Gary L Wilson.

wilson&duke

The report shows many strong connections – and no wonder.  The Wilsons have a long history with Duke. Gary Wilson, a running back on the football team for two championship years, was a ’62 graduate of Trinity college. Derek Wilson earned a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Duke in 1986 and an MBA from The Fuqua School of Business in 1990. Derek’s mother, Susan Moody Wilson, also graduated from the Woman’s College at Duke in 1962. His daughter, Trinity, is currently a student there too.

How has the relationship benefitted Duke?

If you’re a regular reader you already know that we believe that relationships can be a powerful philanthropic catalyst. So we weren’t surprised to discover that Duke’s strong links to the Wilson family has been extremely beneficial to the school.

This year alone, the Wilson family has committed a $3 million to Duke University. Previously Derek Wilson and his wife Christen have donated two works of art to the Nasher Museum and contributed to the purchase of three others. Wilson is also a founding board member of Fuqua’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The family donated $5 million in 1996 to fund the construction of The Wilson Recreation Center and last year.

That Duke understands the importance of maintaining their links with the Wilsons is evident in the fact that they have not hesitated to honor the family by putting their name on the projects that have supported. In fact a gate at the newly renovated Wallace Wade Stadium is due to be named for the Wilson family in honor of Gary’s $2 million gift to Duke Athletics last year.

What does this mean for your organization?

All of the above reiterates the importance of cultivating and maintaining relationships with high-capacity donors. It can be a mammoth task – especially if you’re not exactly sure about your institutions connections.

That’s where a relationship mapping product such as Prospect Visual can help, allowing you to identify relationships quickly and accurately and ensuring that you are aware of the prospects who are within your reach and the relationships that can help you engage them.

If you’d like to find out more, feel free to get in touch right now.

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