TrueStories: Six-figure Donors Hiding in Plain Sight

Last week, I chatted with Lydia Kokolskyj-West, Deputy Executive Director for Development at Santa Clara University. She’s fantastic and her team is seeing some amazing results using EverTrue.

We talked about how Lydia has quickly built out her portfolio, securing two six-figure gifts in rapid succession from donors who only popped up through EverTrue searches. Lydia also shared how the Santa Clara team uses EverTrue to book more meetings and guide their moves management process.

Watch our conversation!


Lydia has been with Santa Clara for one year, but has spent more than 25 honing her fundraising expertise. When she arrived, she had a few assigned prospects to manage and needed to build out the rest of her portfolio.

That’s when she turned to EverTrue for prospect discovery.

Lydia started using EverTrue to find new, untapped prospects with high capacity. She’s looking to make connections among alumni in the C-suite and regularly run searches for these top-ranking positions. As she fills her portfolio, it’s been particularly helpful to have LinkedIn information at her fingertips. Once she has a list of alumni with great job titles, Lydia starts digging into Facebook engagement to measure how connected each alumnus is to Santa Clara.

I found a prospective donor who actually will be closing a half-million dollar charitable remainder trust tomorrow,” Lydia said. “That was through looking at titles through LinkedIn.”

On a regional level, Lydia and the gift officers on her team use EverTrue’s map-based search features to plan trips. They start with a location and then look at giving history, Facebook interactions, LinkedIn information, and home values to find filler visits. Lydia says this is particularly helpful when traveling outside their typical California territory. One story stood out.

“I found people one of our [university leaders] could visit in Chicago,” Lydia said. “When I did the initial outreach, the person was very interested… Then they started responding to our email appeals and came to campus quickly after the visit. This person is now signing a $100,000 scholarship endowment with us. That was really exciting because it’s somebody who was not on our radar.”

Lydia says she and her team start trip-planning with anchor visits in place and then use EverTrue’s search features to fill their calendar with engaged alumni who have strong capacity indicators. The team quickly qualifies new prospects, adding new potential donors to portfolios and replacing “cold” or stale” contacts. On a per-trip basis, Lydia estimates gift officers book at least two additional meetings thanks to EverTrue.

“I have been a fundraiser and fundraising manager for some 30 years and this product really changes the way we can engage our constituents, ensuring intentional and strategic outreach,” Lydia said. “I’m a big fan!”

EverTrue customers, try out Lydia’s searches:

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