CASE STUDY

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Founded in 1824, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is an extraordinary history library. It holds national and regional collections from the 16th to the 21st centuries and is also the largest collector of genealogical material on the East Coast. The collections are used by everyday people looking to research family history, by students and scholars at academic institutions, and by writers, filmmakers, and artists.

Highlights

Renewed Vision

A new President & CEO joined HSP in 2020 bringing a vision for financial stability, stronger academic partnerships, and a robust membership program. Long-term planning included a campaign to address capital needs.

Donor Roadmap

HSP came to S&W with a clear request: Identify current donors who present the greatest opportunity for increased giving and provide specific action steps – a “road map” – to build deeper relationships and solicit larger gifts from those prospects.

Customizable Analysis

We utilized S&W’s PROFile™ to create a customizable donor file analysis, likelihood modeling, and philanthropic capacity screening to identify trends and opportunity among existing donors. We then created a corresponding and actionable prospect management plan.

The Challenge

With new leadership and a new vision for the future of the organization, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania recognized the need to elevate its fundraising and membership operation in order to secure the philanthropic revenue required to meet its ambitious goals. Knowing that Development needed to be thoughtfully and strategically resourced, the organization looked to S&W to assess the deployment of staff, identify gaps and make recommendations for investment based on the capacity of the existing donor and membership base to increase giving.

The Solution

S&W conducted an overall assessment of the historical library’s fundraising operation while focusing on a donor data analysis. The resulting prospect management plan included the creation of prospect cohorts for mid-level and major gift upgrades as well as a specific action plan addressing each cohort. This was particularly relevant for HSP because they needed to know who among their donors and members to qualify and engage first. This exercise produced a plan for managing their best prospects and focused the efforts and the attention of the CEO and the Chief Development Officer. Additionally, the plan showed where additional resources, like new staff positions, would be the most needed and the most effective.

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