A Trusted Partnership, Customized Solutions

The departure of the University of Central Florida’s AVP of Advancement Services led to the need for interim staffing and managed services. In addition, UCF wanted to improve its prospect discovery lists by better understanding which prospects were likeliest to accept a visit from gift officers. BWF provided embedded leadership that helped prioritize and shepherd projects and built a customized visit likelihood model to inform decision making.

The University of Central Florida (UCF) was founded in 1963 to “fuel the region’s talent pipeline and support the growing US space program.”

Today, this leading metropolitan research university is ranked among the nation’s top 20 most innovative colleges (according to US News) and is considered a best value by Forbes, Kilplinger, and The Princeton Review.

Based in Orlando, with a dozen more locations throughout Central Florida, UCF has 13 colleges and more than 230 degree programs. With an annual enrollment of more than 70,000 students (57% are first-generation college students, 49% are minorities), the alumni community today numbers 334,000 Knights strong and growing.

Securing contact information for that voluminous alumni community—half of which had graduated since the early 2000s—was daunting, as was determining how best to engage the alumni and discern who might be a viable candidate for outreach. Compounding the challenge was the fact that the average age of alumni was 41 years old (median age was 38) and over 27,000 alumni had a giving capacity of $100K or more. Updating data records was difficult given the reality that alumni in this age group were more likely to be mobile and changing addresses and jobs while getting established in their professional and personal lives. UCF Advancement leaders wanted not only to address data quality concerns but also use their data more effectively to inform decision making.

In 2019, BWF completed several consulting projects for UCF, including creating predictive models for major giving, planned giving, and the annual fund and conducting a post-campaign assessment following the record-setting $500M IGNITE Campaign. That assessment included capacity analysis, staffing yield analysis, and projections—all conducted using UCF’s sizable database. The partnership ultimately led to additional collaborations and a cutting-edge modeling project that dramatically changed how the Advancement team made decisions about engaging with prospects.

“Our collaboration with BWF meant that I could stay focused on division-wide priorities rather than getting pulled into the weeds on complex technical projects. In the absence of a permanent leader of our advancement services area, BWF stepped in to provide us with the support we needed to not only manage the day-to-day, but also to improve our data governance structure, staffing plans, and other high-level strategic priorities.”–Rachel Schaefer, Associate Vice President for Advancement Strategy and Chief Operating Officer