World Vision Canada Uses BIG Online to Enhance Donor Relations

Charities don't often come with the brand name and charitable track record of a World Vision Canada. Even though foundations donate over $1 million a year to the international charity, there are still opportunities to build more and stronger donor relationships.

World Vision's funding base and reputation have grown through the support and generosity of individual donors. The charity, however, is doing more emergency relief these days - due primarily to the prevalence of famine, armed conflict and disease - and has come to understand the need to foster greater loyalty and generosity from its corporate and foundation backers.

"There are so many charitable organizations out there, so World Vision needs to connect to donors who have an interest in the communities we serve," comments Jenny Jarvis, Foundation Program Officer, World Vision. "Today donors want to do more than write a cheque. So we have to be accountable and provide them with opportunities to extend the relationship and provide them what they need, whether it's follow up reports, or a thank you."

An enthusiastic user of BIG Online, Jarvis says the database is already playing a role in helping World Vision rise in its donors' eyes. Recently, Jarvis became aware of a local store and was curious about the company, so she logged into BIG to find out more about them. It turns out that the company was already a supporter of World Vision, "but we did not have a strong relationship with them."

Jarvis also discovered from the company's BIG profile that it favoured Christian causes and was much larger than previously appreciated. With this intelligence at her fingertips, Jarvis developed a strategy to improve World Vision's relationship with the donor, as well as establishing new and innovative ways to approach them for funding.

New Programs, New Priorities
BIG Online is already a valuable component in World Vision's donor relations program, directly accounting for about 10% of the money Jarvis brings in annually.

"It's been really helpful. There have been new foundations that have come on board but it was only because of BIG that I knew they existed."

BIG is likely to play a central role in helping World Vision research and identify foundation partners for its Africa-based HIV/AIDS program. Normally, World Vision's international work involves a lot of clean water projects, micro-enterprise funding and the building of schools. But HIV/AIDS, "touches everything."

Jarvis adds - with some pride - that World Vision recently received a foundation matching gift of $500,000 to fund this project. The money will be applied to the program's main priorities of prevention, care, awareness and advocacy.

In particular, Jarvis will continue to rely on BIG features like the web-links, which take her straight to a foundation's website - where many now allow you to apply online. She will also focus heavily on the 'funding interests' segment of individual profiles, to help her identify strong connections with potential donors.

"Before you've wasted any time, it shows you what their interests are and gives you guidelines on what to apply for."

BIG Picture: Even an organization as large and as effective as World Vision Canada recognizes that there is room for improvement. BIG Online can be a valuable tool for learning more about existing donors, as well as identifying and targeting new ones.

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