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Roundtable – Cultivation: Mining for New Donors

Cultivation:  Mining for New Donors
Notes provided by: Brandi Van Ormer

  • Filling the pipeline:  Advisory boards help identify givers.  Other ways to fill the pipeline include referrals from other donors.   Sometimes it’s a matter of zip codes: vets in wealthy areas can help you identify givers with money.  Remind faculty often to think in terms of potential givers.
  • To turn “coal into diamonds” – identify current donors who can give more, and apply some pressure.  Consistent givers can be converted into planned giving.  Know who your “movers and shakers” are amongst your donors, and have them suggest other people who have money.
  • When Techs come back for CE sessions, give them tours of the animal hospital and talk to them about services offered; that way you have an IN at referring clinics, and they are more likely to suggest your hospital.
  • Be friendly with the gatekeeper when seeking to get your foot in the door.  It never hurts to bring food or gifts.  Use a connected person who might be able to give you a warm introduction.  Success has been had taking that connected person to lunch, describing the connection you would like to make, and then asking “do you know who might be able to help us?”  That way the connected person naturally suggests themselves and it seems to be their idea.
  • To connect with those names that keep coming up, you can use hospital visit schedules to see when they are coming in next.
  • Other research techniques besides wealth screens include sorting the hospital client list by amount spent, and then having the clinicians review the list.  This will identify some good potential donors who might slip under the radar otherwise.


Cultivation – Mining for new donors
Moderator: Megan McMurray

Teaching Hospital Clientele

UPenn uses predictive modeling: They use a series of ratings to profile the propensity to give and capacity of their clientele .  The scoring system is made up of scores from three components:

  1. A rating program was developed by analyzing the records of 3,000 donor clients.  Criteria include: Species (dog/cat), breed of dog, number of pets, number of visits, amount of money spent on veterinary expenses, the clinical service they used (e.g., oncology clientele are more likely to give).
  2. A customer satisfaction survey is scored.
  3. All clientele are screened using Wealth Engine.

The final total score is used to rate clientele and this cuts the broadcast solicitations from 30,000 to 8,000.  From the lower number of selected clientele, UPenn gets a 7% return from mailed solicitations.

The response to solicitations to repeat clientele is much higher than that of first time clientele.  This has resulted in one school only approaching repeat clientele.

Clinician Buy-in:

A mini-brochure has been developed by UF and UT for use in the exam rooms of the clinic.  If a donor expresses interest, clinicians can give them the brochure, which contains promotional material and contact information for the development team.  This makes it easy for faculty to make the transition.  UF holds monthly “fundraising 101” sessions for faculty and staff.  The UF development officer maintains excellent relationships with faculty, attends monthly service meetings to give a report and often drops in on faculty in their offices to see if they have any probable donors.

When a faculty member provides the name of a potential donor to a development officer, it is important to report back to the faculty member what steps have been taken and the outcome of the interactions.

Successes can be announced to all by e-mail.

Screening clientele to see if they are donors to the university at large is helpful.


A predictive modeling system for alumni is also used at UPenn.

It was thought to be important to develop relationships with students as future alumni donors.

The memorial gift program can be a good source of alumni engagement and also to identify additional donors.   Cornell has a “Share the Gift” card they send to the owners of pets that alumni have memorialized.  The card invites the owner to memorialize their pet, a friend’s pet or their veterinarian by making a gift to the CVM.  They check with participating clinics to be sure this is acceptable – only one has refused so far.  Va-Md encloses a brochure with a tear off donor information section to the same group.  Cornell uses an “Honor your Vet” program consisting of brochures that practices can place in the waiting room.

UF has developed an on-line system whereby practices participating in the memorial gift program can enter the owner and pet information on-line.  The system automatically generates the donor recognition cards for the pet owner.

Some institutions present framed certificates to practices that have been long-time participants in the memorial gift program.  They are often hung in the exam room.

Development officers can spend a day with an alumnus to create a “Day in the Life” feature article for publication.  Alumni have never refused to participate.


Gifts to donors were discussed.  UT has a very much admired bottle opener and UPenn NBC uses baseball caps.


Cultivation: Mining for New Donors
July 22, 2013
Notes provided by: LSU Team

  • How to fill the pipleline
    • The table agreed the best way to fill the pipeline is with visits from the hospital.
    • Many calling officers received referrals from other donors.
    • A wealth screen helped narrow the search for prospects.
  • Research techniques
    • One school targets clients with the most expensive hospital bills. His theory was that if they were willing to spend a large amount of money on their pet they had the means to donate as well.
    • Many calling officers have experienced success with oncology and cardiology patients. Patients in these services return more frequently.
    • Many schools have a formal process for faculty to formally recommend a client to development.


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