Customer Stories:

The Oregon State University Foundation supercharges prospect discovery with EverTrue


The Oregon State University (OSU) Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the mission of Oregon State University, with over $100 million raised per year since 2011. The Foundation manages 400,000 constituent records and uses Ellucian Advance as their database.

The Challenge:

Led by Mark Koenig, assistant vice president for advancement services, the OSU Foundation research team wanted to build a stronger donor pipeline in select geographic areas to better support the organization’s fundraising goals. However, Mark knew they couldn’t just rely on legacy tools; they needed a new lens through which to approach these markets.

Why evertrue:

Mark believed that EverTrue’s prospect research solution—with its advanced search and filtering, social insights, and predictive donor scores—would enable the OSU team to find new donors quickly and effectively.

The results:

Only seven months since adopting EverTrue, the OSU Foundation research team has found incredible success with discovering new prospects, crafting portfolios, and providing rich intelligence to development officers.

The full story:

With EverTrue, the OSU Foundation gets real-time insight into which constituents are engaging with OSU on Facebook and what content they’re interacting with—allowing researchers to better assess prospect interests and affinities. The team has connected a total of 50 OSU-affiliated pages to the EverTrue platform, including the general university page, the alumni association page, and various college and athletics pages.

To make the best use of these social insights, Research Analyst Andy Lasselle saves lists and useful constituent segments in EverTrue. That way, he knows when his tracked prospects interact with OSU on Facebook or change their job information on LinkedIn. These lists and segments have been invaluable in developing engagement strategies for top prospects and donors.

Andy’s Saved Segments: Monitoring high capacity donors led them to a donor living on the east coast who had previously only given on the academic side. He had almost 200 comments and over 1,500 likes on athletics Facebook properties, including a strong affinity for the women’s basketball team.

While the donor was on the radar of athletics as a former student-athlete, we had trouble finding something meaningful to nudge him toward making a gift. By shifting the conversation to women’s basketball we closed a $17,000 gift to the women’s basketball team. One year later, that gift opened the door for a $360,000 pledge agreement to renovate the football center. This year, one of the OSU Foundation’s strategic priorities is to expand interest and development in the city of Portland. In addition to the proprietary scores they already use to identify and assign prospects, the OSU research team decided to take advantage of EverTrue’s predictive donor scores to enhance their Portland discovery efforts. These included the EverTrue Score (calculated based on professional, demographic, social, and giving data) and the EverTrue social score (calculated based on social data only).

Using EverTrue’s search function, Research Analyst Drew Phillips filtered the OSU constituent base to identify prospects in Portland with high scores. He organized the prospects into three buckets:

Group 1

High EverTrue Score; low OSU affinity score

Group 2

High EverTrue social score; low OSU affinity score

Group 3

High OSU affinity score; low EverTrue social score

Drew then assigned the prospects to the development officers, who were unaware that the EverTrue scores had been used as criteria for the assignment. For the next three and a half months, Drew evaluated the performance of the three prospect groups in terms of qualifications, visits, and moves to a major giving or annual giving portfolio.

Based on these initial successes, Drew and the rest of the OSU research team are excited to continue leveraging social engagement in their prospect scoring system. According to Drew, the team plans to layer EverTrue’s scores on top of their in-house scores as they move forward with EverTrue. This, he believes, will help them identify the OSU Foundation’s most ready, willing prospects and increase the development team’s ability to move constituents through the pipeline.