Blending the art and science of philanthropy

As I travel around the country performing recognition audits with our not-for-profit partners, I’m always impressed by the diverse and innovative ways in which people and organizations blend the very warm, human side of philanthropy with the ever-increasing need for data-driven strategy and decision-making.

As director of Honorcraft’s  LegacyCurator™ service, I get to see both sides.

Every LegacyCurator audit is powerful tour of philanthropic heritage. We find plaques, busts, and other recognition artifacts deep in the fiber of every organization – in phlebotomy labs, in classrooms, in auditoriums, cafeterias and other storage areas. Sometimes they need to be relocated. Sometimes our partners simply want to know where these priceless symbols of generosity are displayed.

Once photographed, cataloged, and assembled into the searchable LegacyCurator database, our partners put this information to use in many creative ways.  One has placed the entire database on the dashboard of her fundraising software – so that it’s immediately available for search and for cross-referencing with donor records.

Another leveraged the discovery of a long-forgotten plaque to re-ignite a relationship with a descendent of a loyal donor.

Many others are using the data to strengthen cultivation and stewardship efforts and to enhance strategic planning.

Recently, as we celebrated Memorial Day, I found myself thinking about all the lives captured in our recognition data. Many of our honored philanthropists made their gifts more than a century ago – long before the research, treatment, and teaching methodologies used in their institutions were even imagined. The one constant is the incredible heritage of philanthropy and innovation these generous individuals helped to build.

It’s such an honor to help our partner organizations honor their contributions, while continuing to inspire new donors who keep the work moving forward.

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