On this episode of the RAISE podcast, Brent chats with Erin Moran, co-founder of The Solas Group, and one of the newest additions to the EverCrew! (Read about how The Solas Group recently joined the EverTrue family).
In this discussion, we learn how The Solas Group came to be well-known for their industry knowledge, strategic thinking, collaborative style, and technical acumen. We also learn about Erin’s improv performances at Grinnell College, her opinions on where advancement is over-investing, and the transformative powers of data visualization.
Erin’s insights about the future of advancement shine on this episode – and are an indicator of how her talents will continue to elevate the industry in this next chapter. Catch some highlights and listen to the full episode here.
A few highlights from the episode…
“The skills you need to stage a production and the skills you need to stage a campaign are not dissimilar.” She may be an advancement analytics pro now, but Erin originally studied theatre at Grinnell College and planned to be a professional actor. One of her favorite performances was an improv- style production coined “The Big Nasty,” a three act play.
“A misunderstanding in our industry is that those in advancement services don’t think they need to hire a third party to help work on projects.” But when advancement shops do partner with a stellar team like The Solas Group, the sky is the limit. Together, UC Berkeley and Solas developed industry-leading dashboards embraced by all fundraisers – made possible by a thoughtful University-wide technology adoption plan.
“I think one of my proudest moments at Solas was when a VP at a private university told me that she didn’t know what she would have done if she hadn’t called us. She felt we made a huge impact.” Erin loves to be a part of the steps advancement is taking to use technology to increase personalized engagement. What’s the next step for advancement? Integrated tech tools that identify top donors, engage untouched prospects, populate portfolios by giving indicators, and measure overall staff efficacy.
“One of my favorite Solas stories is when a development officer at DePaul used a mapping visualization tool we created to find a disengaged prospect – and turned them into what was then the University’s largest donor.” Erin sees a bright future of advancement when teams embrace the help of smart, user-friendly technology and data intelligence to align the institution’s core needs with the various potential prospects.
More about Erin…
Erin has more than 20 years of experience serving fundraising professionals. She began her career in prospect research and has gone on to oversee areas as diverse as advancement services, operations, donor relations, communications, alumni relations, and annual giving. For eight years, Erin was the campaign director for DePaul University’s largest and most successful fundraising effort, the Many Dreams, One Mission campaign. Having also served as an interim VP for Advancement, Erin has a unique understanding of the pressures faced by campus leaders.
Erin holds a BA in theatre with honors from Grinnell College and an MA in English with distinction from DePaul University. She is a graduate of Harvard University’s Management Development Program within the Graduate School of Education. Erin has spoken on advancement services and campaign-related topics at many APRA and CASE conferences, and she has repeatedly been a guest lecturer for graduate courses in fundraising, teaching on topics such as prospect identification, campaign planning, and donor motivation.