How to Implement a Data-Driven Approach to Fundraising, a Case Study with the National Aquarium

How to Implement a Data-Driven Approach to Fundraising: A Case Study with the National Aquarium – Q+A

We recently hosted a webinar in partnership with Salesforce, “How to Implement a Data-Driven Approach to Fundraising, A Case Study with the National Aquarium”. 

It was a very lively discussion with Garrett Farwell from Salesforce, Eve Longlade and Kristin Vitale from the National Aquarium, and iWave VP of Marketing, Jill McCarville. We had lots of great questions come up throughout and at the end of the webinar and were not able to get to them all during the live webinar. The different teams have generously taken the time to answer your questions, please find them below! 

You can also learn more about the iWave and Salesforce integration here: iWave for Salesforce.

Q: Is iWave planned giving screening an extra package/cost like the foundation screening?

A. Planned Giving Scores & Analytics are included with a Professional or Premium subscription of iWave!

Q: Does Salesforce integrate directly & easily with iWave? Or does data need to be imported/exported through csv or other data files?

A. Yes! iWave Seamlessly integrates with Salesforce. With a powerful bi-directional sync, profiles, scores, and analytics generated in one system and are easily updated into the other with a single click! With our latest update, users can now: 

Q: How is the Aquarium responding to COVID-19

A. The Aquarium wants people to be safe and feel safe, so we are following CDC guidelines for staff and volunteers and adhering to Baltimore City mask policies. A recent exit survey found 87% of our guests feel safe when visiting the Aquarium – a good indication our policies are working. When guests are dining in the Aquarium, they are permitted to remove their masks during that time but must wear them again when enjoying the rest of the public spaces. We do have masks available for those guests who may need one and we also have stylus pens available for guests who may not want to touch our interactive exhibits.

Q: Does your $500 donor society gift get you a membership to the Aquarium? And also, how much do you fundraise annually on average?

A. Members who donate $500 or more become part of the National Aquarium Donor Society, a special group of patrons who receive exclusive Aquarium access and benefits. At the $500 Steward level, donors receive 8 single-use tickets, special donor events and 2 membership evening guest passes.

Q: Since your gift officers have access to iWave information in Salesforce, do prospect research staff do any further qualification of the iWave information for the gift officers?

A. Since I [Kristin] am the only researcher and it is only a part of my duties, the gift officers and I assist each other in qualification and validation when it comes to one-off leads, i.e. if they find someone who is worth further research. They’ll do much of the basic research themselves and only escalate them to an official profile request done by either me or our research consultants if they have potential, whether that’s fully or partially qualified. For screening purposes, though, I meet with the gift officers monthly to decide of those screened in the previous month, who I should validate. That’s when I take the qualification decision on myself of whether someone is major gift qualified ($10k+), Patron Society qualified ($500-$9,999), or disqualified.

Q: Does the National Aquarium board have access to a Salesforce dashboard?

A. No, they only have access to our Board Hub, which is our platform within Salesforce that allows our Board to access relevant documents (ex: bylaws), view/comment on posted content (ex: Aquarium in the News), and view our high-level organizational calendar. Every board member is assigned a Relationship Manager, and it is their responsibility to provide any information for a board member’s meeting with a donor or prospect.

Q: Is the board engaged in fundraising or stewardship efforts?

A. No, they only have access to our Board Hub, which is our platform within Salesforce that allows our Board to access relevant documents (ex: bylaws), view/comment on posted content (ex: Aquarium in the News), and view our high-level organizational calendar. Every board member is assigned a Relationship Manager, and it is their responsibility to provide any information for a board member’s meeting with a donor or prospect.

Q: Do you do a hybrid event offering both virtual and in-person?

A. As a bit of background, I [Kristin] did all virtual events in 2020 from April through June while the Aquarium was closed. These acted as stewardship and cultivation tools for our team. They were free to attend but by invitation only. We paused them for 2021 due to lack of interest and haven’t brought back our typical in-person philanthropy events based on budgetary constraints and other factors. For organizational-wide events with more high profile guests, such as one coming up on December 1st, we plan to have it as a hybrid event with tickets being sold to attend in person and an online component, the latter handled by our Audio Visual and IT teams. I believe this will be the first event that will truly be hybrid and not simply also broadcast online.

Q: How long did it take you/ your teams to get proficient with using iWave and Salesforce?

A. Actually, learning the systems and using the plugin is very straightforward. We have ongoing Research Roundtables that Kristin leads in which she shares new tools, new ways of filtering data, and best practices.

Q: What tools do you use to keep track and identify donors in your lead pool on Salesforce?

A. The Lead Pool is a new attribute for us that helps us to track donors that may not be a prospect at the moment, or when our portfolios reach an optimal level which for us is currently 130 prospects | donors per gift officer. As folks move out of our portfolios, we are quickly able to add folks in from the Lead Pool. We can run reports of who is in the Lead Pool and sort in different ways. We are also able to create additional attributes such as Lead Pool/ Planned Giving.

Q: How do I get started with iWave for Salesforce?

A. To get started with iWave for Salesforce you can get a free demo or learn more on the Salesforce Appexchange.

Q: Can you do batch screening in iWave for Salesforce?

A. Yes, you can screen thousands of contacts or leads directly in Salesforce. Then, you can optimize your fundraising campaigns with customized segmentation lists and reports.

Watch the webinar here!