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  • IntellectSpace Team

Re-engaging with Lost and Lapsed Alumni

Prospect Visual Success Story: How I turned my intern into a relationship-making machine!

My name is Pamela Smith and I am Director of Advancement Services at Nebraska Wesleyan University. I’ve been in my position for about a year. Prior to my arrival, the University had done a great job of focusing on student families and legacy families. What we didn’t have was much in the way of business and organizational affiliations to help us connect with lapsed and lost alumni.

We don’t have prospect research staff so we make the best use of the interns we are able to employ. We hired a sharp student in his senior year and set him to work on how we could use Prospect Visual to leverage the relationships of our volunteer leadership and to add more business and organizational affiliations to our database.

A Great Project for Our Intern and for Our Department

The intern started by locating the individuals in Prospect Visual’s global database. He was able to find business and other affiliations, which we added to our donor database. By examining the relationship networks of our volunteer leadership he was also able to help us find and engage with lost and lapsed alumni.

For example, a connection to one of our graduates was found through a mutual board membership. An additional prospect was also found who is now being cultivated as a friend of the University.

We have been using Prospect Visual as an additional source of information for every prospect we research and have created a pool of more than 350 names in Prospect Visual. These names are all categorized by assigning various descriptive tags, such as “governor”, “alumni executive council”, or “class 1987”.

Now that our intern has gotten us started and given us some training, we are ready to start using Prospect Visual in new ways. For example, we would like to get more methodical and begin mapping different categories against each other in Prospect Visual. We also want to begin taking specific categories and identifying giving interests based on nonprofit affiliations so that we can segment our database by interests as well.

We Re-Connected with Our Prospects and Our Intern Got Great Experience

In a small office such as ours, searching manually for connections is not a realistic option. Using our intern to get us started in Prospect Visual not only helped us identify new prospects and reach out to lost and lapsed alumni, but our intern had a great lesson in working inside a new database, applying filters, identifying data that would fit into the University database and presenting the results in various formats including tables, visual maps and in a senior class presentation.

We are truly excited about the opportunities that await us as we begin unlocking more of Prospect Visual’s potential!

Prospect Visual: Strategy Guide: Re-engaging Lost and Lapsed Alumni

Step 1: Populate your key internal connectors and prospects to Contacts

From the Search tab, search for the names of your key connectors, such as board members, and your prospect names in Prospect Visual’s global database. Choose the person and add the record to Contacts by clicking on the orange “Save Contact” button. Be sure to tag each prospect with a descriptor that will help you identify the person as part of a group, such as “trustee”.

User Tip: You can do this one name at a time, but be sure to ask about importing larger groups of individuals. Prospect Visual can take your export file and populate the Contacts tab for you.

Step 2: Choose the best connections

Scroll down the individual’s record to view Mutual Connections to Saved Contacts and Mutual Connections to Global Contacts. Mutual Connections to Saved Contacts allows you to view the connections in Path Flow, Tabular View or Map View. Global Contacts are shown in tabular view. You can click on the strength rating to view how the prospect is connected. These are the connections that will open the door to your lost and lapsed alumni.

User Tip: When making your choices, in the tabular view consider the Connection Depth column as well as the strength of the connection.

Step 3: Consider mapping your key connectors against your prospects

Especially if you have identified and tagged each of your lost or lapsed alumni, use the Connections tab to map one tag against another, such as “trustee” against “lost alumni”.

User Tip: Especially if you are in higher education, ask for a tutorial on creating and mapping Targets. This is another powerful tool for identifying lost and lapsed alumni from the global database.

Step 4: Once identified, verify or instruct

Although Prospect Visual connections are most often correct, they aren’t without error. If possible, before you deliver the list of names to the requestor, take the time to verify in Prospect Visual. You can hover over or click on any path for more details. You can also click on any individual to open up that person’s details record and click on the globe of any “role” to view the source document.

If you don’t have time to verify or it is otherwise not necessary, just be sure to instruct the recipient that although most often accurate, the information was not verified.

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