2018 Grant Award: Ryan Jaeger

With the gracious financial support of the Presidential Leadership Academy, I was able to spend this summer interning at Grenzebach Glier & Associates, a global philanthropic management consulting firm. GG+A specializes in fundraising counsel for universities and other nonprofits that are looking to raise major campaigns.

Specifically, I worked in the analytics division of GG+A, where the team serves clients by providing data-driven insights into donor prospects for an organization. Based on information provided by the client and publicly available information, DonorScape, the analytics product of GG+A, offers insights into gift capacity by estimating individual wealth and donor affinity, which measures how likely a donor might be to give to an organization based on their relationship and engagement. With these insights, a nonprofit can better target their solicitations, by both targeting the right people to solicit for gifts and by asking for a realistic gift amount.

One of the key values of the firm is rigor. GG+A looks to bring a data-driven mindset to all recommendations they bring to a client. My projects this summer centered around bringing this same level of rigor to the internal operations of the analytics team. I conducted an extensive statistical analysis on over 2 million donor records to validate that the DonorScape model was working as expected. I also spent time automating some of the reporting processes for the donor insight survey team to save them time and hence cut the cost for the client. These experiences taught me how a small team of 5 can still thrive in an environment with demanding priorities and deadlines.

Outside of my day to day work on the analytics team, there was a series of intern programming to learn about development and the field of fundraising as a whole. The interns engaged in an extended case study project to provide recommendations for a former client – a small development team at a liberal arts college. We reviewed the documents provided to GG+A by the client and held mock interviews with consultants involved; from these, we generated our own recommendations and presented them to a team of senior consultants. Also, we had programming events with former major gift officers and major gift donors to learn about fundraising on the front lines.

I want to express my thanks to the Presidential Leadership Academy for the financial assistance towards my summer in Chicago. I learned about philanthropy as a potential career path and got to have an amazing summer in one of my favorite cities in the country.