Discovering Much More Than Just Wealth – National FFA Foundation Case Study 

Client: The National FFA Foundation 

Industry: Agriculture

  • Challenges
    • Need to boost individual giving
    • Lacking a full picture of donors and prospects
    • Need to be efficient and effective when traveling and meeting donors and prospects
  • Results
    • Insight into donors’ philanthropy, not just wealth
    • Discovery of new donors
    • Ability to be more strategic in fundraising 

With nearly 955,000 members across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization is the largest student-led organization in the nation. It works to prepare youth members for success in agricultural careers. Its nonprofit arm, the National FFA Foundation (FFA Foundation) focuses on securing resources for the future of the FFA and, more broadly, agricultural education.  

The FFA Foundation initially began working with DonorSearch in 2019 with the goal of strengthening its individual fundraising program. In addition to seeing progress in this area, the FFA Foundation discovered several other benefits of working with DonorSearch.  

The FFA Foundation was getting most of its funding from corporate sources, but the foundation wanted to conduct a wealth screening to enhance its fundraising efforts among individual donors. 

“We know that we have a lot of potential there, so we wanted to do a wealth screening of our whole database. We started…looking around at different companies that could help us at that time,” said Abby Christensen, Prospect Research Manager for the FFA Foundation. DonorSearch stood out as the vendor to partner with. 

After the initial screening, the FFA Foundation discovered that DonorSearch had much more to offer than just wealth information alone. “DonorSearch had a lot of really good features that I thought would be really helpful for us—showing us not just who had the capacity to make a big gift, but really how philanthropic donors were,” Christensen explained. 

With this more comprehensive approach to donor research, DonorSearch has been instrumental in helping the foundation build its community of potential supporters. For example, Christensen highlighted how DonorSearch has identified individuals who, while not FFA members themselves, have a strong interest in contributing to the cause or who have connections to family foundations and have given large gifts to other organizations. As Christensen noted, “We’ve actually started targeting some new donors…who may not have been on our radar.”

In addition to broadening its donor base, the FFA Foundation has seen an improvement in its major giving program. “We have three gift officers and the DonorSearch wealth screenings have really helped…They’ve been able to really cultivate some new major donors,” Christensen said. 

Most recently, the FFA Foundation has taken on a large project—importing all of its alumni into its fundraising database. Thanks to DonorSearch’s scores, the organization has been able to quickly identify who among the FFA’s massive alumni community to target for annual giving, making the process more efficient and effective. 

  • Richer donor insights than just wealth. The FFA Foundation began looking for a screening and prospect tool that could provide capacity information. But with DonorSearch, they found much more. “Finding out who in our database is making those big gifts and what…they’re passionate about, what they give to, along with all of the information about their wealth capacity, we were really drawn to that,” Christensen said. 
  • Strengthened individual fundraising program. The foundation wanted to expand its fundraising efforts beyond corporate giving. DonorSearch’s features made it easier to quickly screen many potential donors and know which actions to take. “[The research tools] make something…that can be very complex into something that’s pretty straightforward,” Christensen noted.  
  • The discovery of more major donors. When Christensen started at the foundation, the major gift officers she worked with had large prospect lists and needed strategic direction regarding whom to contact first. With DonorSearch, Christensen and her team have not only discovered more major donors but also have been able to carefully choose who to contact and how to cultivate them. 
  • Reliable support from the DonorSearch team. “They are always available to help,” Christensen said of the DonorSearch support team. “I think anytime I’ve sent an email needing help, they have gotten back with me within the day, sometimes within an hour…That is always very reassuring.” 

Ready to take your own fundraising efforts to the next level? Our tools can help you get there. Demo DonorSearch!

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