As tuition at colleges and universities continues to rise, many development offices face increased pressure to raise additional funds from alumni and friends. This pressure has intensified, in part due to costs associated with the investment in the latest computer technology. But these costly computer tools also can be used by schools to increase philanthropic giving.
This paper explores ways in which development offices can use one computer-based research tool, Geographic Information Systems, to better identify potential donors. GIS allows a researcher to overlay data on a map and then search for patterns that might not be otherwise apparent. The paper offers a brief history of GIS and explores its diverse uses. The paper focuses on several current uses of GIS at colleges and universities and explores initial efforts by schools to use the technology in philanthropic giving. Finally, the paper demonstrates how GIS can work in a university capital campaign. Using data from one school, the paper shows how geocoding can help a development office focus on such questions as 1) whether alumni and friends who currently contribute are geographically “clustered” in identifiable neighborhoods; 2) what the wealth of these neighborhoods is and whether the wealth correlates with the level of giving; and 3) for alumni and potential donors who are not contributors, what their giving potential is.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kurt_schlichting/10/