Building Relationships Through Continuous Learning — Homes For Our Troops Case Study

Client: Homes For Our Troops

Industry: Veterans and Military

Challenges

  • Limited time and training resources for philanthropy advisors
  • Lack of insight into major donors’ giving capacity and philanthropic background
  • Existence of data silos between fundraising teams

Results

  • Prioritization of outreach, leading to stronger donor relationships
  • Personalized customer service and research support
  • Seamless data sharing through Raiser’s Edge NXT integration
  • Continuing education and fundraising training through Masterminds CFRE courses

Homes For Our Troops (HFOT) is a publicly-funded U.S. nonprofit with a mission “to build and donate custom and specially adapted homes for severely injured post-9/11 veterans nationwide to enable them to rebuild their lives.” Since the organization’s founding in 2004, its team has constructed more than 370 of these custom homes and has many more projects in the works. 

HFOT began working with DonorSearch in 2022, hoping to gain deeper insights into their existing major donors and identify new prospects. Since then, the nonprofit has built stronger relationships with donors and prospects while using team time more efficiently.

Homes For Our Troops has a small major gifts team with no dedicated prospect researcher. Because of this, time management and donor data-gathering support were critical to the organization’s major donor fundraising success. While HFOT had a passionate existing donor base, the team realized they needed to dig deeper into these donors’ giving capacities and motivations to tap into their full fundraising potential. They also understood that knowing these factors would be essential for acquiring new major donors.

When Homes For Our Troops first turned to DonorSearch, they started by conducting wealth and philanthropic screenings for their existing major donors, which uncovered a myriad of insights.

“[We’ve used] DonorSearch’s results to prioritize where we were spending our time and identify new prospects but also learn a little bit about our current major donors,” said Annemarie Amoedo, who has been a philanthropy advisor at HFOT for the past 12 years. “[Discovering] some of their background that they haven’t shared with us or some different capacities that they have that we weren’t aware of has really helped us to…put our donors’ needs and wants first.”

Over time, their prospecting insights allowed them to prioritize their outreach efforts and determine the best path forward for engaging each donor. “[DonorSearch is] more than just a fundraising software—it’s really a relationship-building software because it allows you to get to know your donors better and be better prepared and focus your time,” Amoedo explained. “Having DonorSearch there to…cut down on the list and really help me hone who I need to be reaching out to and how to reach out to them has just been…invaluable for our organization.”

  • Advanced fundraising support. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of HFOT’s donors through the major giving team’s work with DonorSearch, Amoedo has appreciated being able to reach out to the DonorSearch team for help managing more complex fundraising situations like planned gifts. “Having DonorSearch is like having a researcher on staff because you can reach out at any time,” she said.
  • Industry-specific client success management. Amoedo not only praised the speed and personalization of DonorSearch’s customer support but was also impressed that HFOT’s representative (like many of the DonorSearch client success managers) had frontline fundraising experience. “It’s not just customer service or tech support—[our rep] understands what it’s like to be out doing development work in good times and in bad,” which enhanced the quality of service the HFOT team received.
  • Eliminating data silos. While the ability to transfer prospect research data from DonorSearch to Raiser’s Edge NXT through a seamless integration has been helpful for HFOT’s philanthropy advisors, it has proved even more beneficial in increasing data visibility across the organization. Amodeo explained, “Our director of development [and] some of our grant folks…are not logging into DonorSearch every day, but they are in Raiser’s Edge.…Being able to quickly look at [prospecting] information before they reach out to a donor or in preparation for a meeting has been really, really great.”
  • Fundraising training and continuing education. The HFOT team took full advantage of DonorSearch’s client education resources, particularly the Philanthropy Masterminds Series of CFRE credit courses, to improve their internal fundraising training. “We don’t have a tremendous training budget and, so, being able to…get my [CFRE] continuing ed requirements met through DonorSearch, and then also to encourage some of our other team members who are pursuing their CFRE to learn a little bit more about the field and also start accumulating those credit hours has really been great for us,” said Amodeo.

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