Case Studies

The University of Toronto Uses iWave to Reduce Turnaround Time


Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto is Canada’s leading institution of learning and one of the world’s top research-intensive universities. With more than 560,000 graduates, the University is committed to enhancing and strengthening its standing as a globally ranked research powerhouse and leader in research-intensive education. Little wonder, then, that the University’s Advancement Office includes some of the best prospect researchers working today. John Hermans, Director of Advancement Research, sat down with iWave to discuss U of T’s fundraising efforts.


Even with a prospect research team of 10, many of the research requests are reactive in nature, where the team must quickly research and create profiles for major gift prospects one-by-one. “A significant volume of our work is focused on reactive requests to support advancement officers,” says John, “so the challenge is reducing our turnaround time while delivering quality information to increase the chances of success for our fundraising team.” The next challenge is exploring proactive, data-informed approaches to growing and learning more about the University’s alumni and donors. Part of that puzzle, says John, lies in working with departments and divisions across the University to support advancement efforts.


There are opportunities to align the Advancement Research team’s work with related University faculties, colleges, and departments (such as Alumni Relations and the Vice President of Research), which have relationships with influential individuals, corporations, and foundations. Aligning the Advancement Office with these other departments “is part of a larger effort to develop a culture that supports the University’s advancement goals.” But to support that alignment, the Advancement Office must demonstrate that people and organizations are willing to support the University through donations. That is where John’s team turns to iWave.

“We are on track to meet a $2.4 billion campaign goal by the end of 2018,” says John. “For me and for the rest of the team, the one-stop-shop experience of iWave is where we go first when researching a new individual. One of the best indicators for a great major gift prospect is external giving to other organizations. We also use iWave’s Relationship Science data to explore connections between our many alumni.”

Has iWave helped reduce turnaround time for reactive requests? “We sometimes get phone calls from fundraisers who have an in-person meeting with a potential donor in just a few days, and they need us to build a profile as soon as possible. That is a daunting request at the best of times, but iWave makes it easier to develop an understanding of an individual’s philanthropic capacity and connection to the University.”


University of Toronto


Toronto, Canada


Higher Education

Key Challenge:

Provide quality information to help advancement officers while saving time to work on proactive prospect research.

Key Benefit:

iWave’s features and one-stop-shop package helps a large research team work quickly and efficiently to allow more time for proactive advancement efforts.

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"The one-stop-shop experience of iWave is one of the resources we turn to first when researching a new individual prospect."

John Hermans

Director of Advancement Research
University of Toronto

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