YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Two or three years into his time as an employee at Youngstown State University, Paul McFadden received the first alumni directory published that year. It was a book.
“To the oldtimers, that was like gold,” he says.
Fast-forward some 30 years. All of that contact information is on a database, says the president of the YSU Foundation. Data and analytics have changed the way the foundation approaches raising funds.
“The data can be sorted into any shape or form,” McFadden says. “It’s increased our ability to reach out to donors outside the Mahoning Valley.”
The foundation is in the final year of its We See Tomorrow campaign, which is closing in on its goal of $125 million. In the first two weeks of October, the foundation received another $1.4 million in donations, bringing its interim campaign total to just shy of $111 million, McFadden says.
According to the foundation’s latest report, 43 gifts of $100,000 or more to the campaign are from out of town.
Prospect researcher David Baker, sorts the data by specific keys, such as real estate holdings and company assets, all of which is public information, McFadden says.
Baker uses the information to identify alumni who have the greatest capacity to give, then feeds that information to development officers.
“Alumni are alumni. Some want to be engaged in their alma mater; some would rather not,” McFadden says. “But I’ve been very impressed with our staff and development crew and prospect researcher to be able to turn over stones and find folks who are willing to invest in our students.”
The We See Tomorrow campaign ends June 30, and “I do not see us losing a whole lot of momentum,” he says.