Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services

Katie Dean from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services shares her experience with DonorSearch, highlighting its effectiveness in evaluating donor prospects and identifying their philanthropic interests. She credits DonorSearch with significantly boosting the organization’s fundraising efforts, almost tripling them. Dean also appreciates the user-friendly aspect of DonorSearch and its notable return on investment, especially in developing a major gifts program.

This transcript reflects an interview between Cecelia Poplin (DonorSearch) and Katie Dean (Didi Hirsch)

C: “Hi Katie. Thanks so much for your time today. We’d love if you could start by telling us a little bit about yourself – who you are, who you’re with, and your title.

K: “Sure. My name is Katie Dean and I am the Senior Director of Development Operations at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. We are a mental healthcare agency located in Southern California. We serve LA and Orange Counties and also do a lot of crisis care for 988 statewide and nationwide. We basically believe mental health care is as important as physical. And we think they should be treated as inseparable. And we want to provide mental healthcare to everyone, especially where stigma and injustice might limit that access.”

C: “Thank you. Thank you for that. So, now can you share with us a bit about your successes with DonorSearch both at your current and past organizations?”

K: “Sure. So, I began at Didi Hirsch this calendar year, so in January of 2023, and one of the first things I did when I arrived was evaluate our prospect research tools. And one of the things I realized was that we didn’t yet have DonorSearch, so one of my first, kind of, tasks, I think was in the first couple weeks of starting, was getting us on the DonorSearch platform. I think it’s a tremendous tool in evaluating high net worth individuals, but also your entry and mid-level donors as well. It was kind of a ‘must have’ for my organization as soon as I could get in there and establish a development operations vertical. Also, for about a decade I’ve used DonorSearch at my previous employer, Enterprise Community Partners, and it was very helpful in evaluating their full breadth of individuals and knowing what to prioritize and how. I think with DonorSearch, one of the key things is that you can find an individual’s wealth online pretty easily these days, but you can’t necessarily determine their philanthropic likelihood and behavior. And what I love about DonorSearch is that it has an algorithm, it’s intelligent itself and kind of brings it to you without you having to spend hours and hours diving into online research.”

C: “Thank you. So this next question, if you have anything you want to relate this to, Katie, can you share a bit about your fundraising initiatives that are going on right now at Didi Hirsch and how you envision DonorSearch impacting the success of those?”

K: “Sure. So, Didi Hirsch has grown its philanthropic fundraising. We’ve almost tripled our fundraising in the past year. And it’s really important as we build out a major gifts program, there hasn’t really been a formal fundraising program for individuals in the past, and that is the goal. Right? So that is what we’re working on this year and next. And I think DonorSearch is going to be a key tool in helping us evaluate our current database, reactivate those donors who maybe haven’t been reached out to in potentially years, and it will be a major component of that program as we implement.”

C: “Wonderful. So, next, one of the things we here at DonorSearch really pride ourselves on is our commitment to our Client Success. It’s not just about selling a product, we want our clients to be successful. Can you talk about your overall experience with the DonorSearch success and support team?”

K: “Sure. And I say this – whenever I’m the APRA listserv or if I’m talking to a fellow friend in the industry that is looking for research tools and ways to enhance their fundraising, I always tell them that with DonorSearch, when you need help and you have a question, you’re talking to a person. You have a person’s email address, you know, you’re not having to submit a ticket. You’re not having to go to a generalized mailbox every time there’s an issue or even just a question on how to use the tool. I’ve been using the tool for a decade and I can honestly say I’ve talked with a person or communicated with a person. And that goes so much farther than I think people realize – you know? It saves time for the client, it demonstrates DonorSearch’s commitment, and that’s never changed. So, as the tool has grown and evolved, I’m still able to reach out to my person. Whether it’s I’m bugging Sarah or Adam or whomever, but that is a huge value add to me.”

C: “Wonderful. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing that. So, if you had one or two points that you might share with other organizations that are considering DonorSearch, what would those be?”

K: “I would say first it’s the value of the tool, right? So, DonorSearch pays for itself in spades. It is a fair-priced super intelligent tool. It’s always evolving, adding new features, getting smarter and it remains easy to use throughout that. So I would call out – the top two things I’d call out are: 

  1. That it evaluates likelihood of philanthropic behavior, not just potential wealth.
  2.  And the other is that ease of use. That you could have your team jump into DonorSearch and it might take a half hour of, ‘Hey, here’s where you find this… here’s where you find that…’ but it doesn’t require intensive training and time on the backend for the team. And it remains a very user-friendly tool.”

C: “Thank you! We love to hear that. As we wrap up, is there anything else that maybe I haven’t asked that you’d like to share about your experiences with DonorSearch the solution or DonorSearch the company?”

K: “I think it’s just been really cool to see how far the tool has evolved over the years and it’s something that, you know, like I said, even changing workplaces I made sure DonorSearch came with me! And I just really believe in it, I think it’s super valuable and I think that the company really does believe in fundraising and nonprofits and wants these missions to be achieved. It’s not just your average research tool.”

C: “Fantastic. So that brings us to the end of our questions.”

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