Image of Data visualization used for St. Edward's University to prioritize donors.

Staff turnover meant rebuilding relationships with alumni

Cheri Sullivan, Director of Advancement Services at St. Edward’s University, a mid-sized private institution based in Austin, TX, reached out to Archetype for assistance in using data analytics to develop donor strategies.


Cheri wanted to ensure St. Edward’s fundraising success and provide guidance to the Development team on where to prioritize their time. However, she faced a number of obstacles due to a lack of information about their donor base.

  • Lack of understanding of what their donors looked like. Due to a greater than 50% turnover in staff, the St. Edward’s Advancement team lacked details into the history of relationships others built with donors and prospects. Cheri’s request for Archetype was simple—she needed a way to analyze the alumni base to understand who her donors are and how they behave.
  • Difficulty in determining retention gaps. For St. Edward’s, identifying those donors who might be at risk of not being retained was extremely important. Having just finished a capital campaign, it was paramount to determine which donors could be counted on for continued contributions.
  • Lack of understanding of inclination. In any capital campaign, fundraising teams need to determine who is more likely to give. They didn’t have data on which donor prospects showed more of an inclination to give (i.e. donors who were connected to St. Edward’s, gave to other philanthropic causes, had children nearing college age, etc.). If the St. Edward’s fundraisers could identify those prospects who are most inclined to give, they could drive more donations and participation for the University.
  • Difficulty in determining which non-donors were prospects for major giving portfolios. The University lacked an understanding of who to initially target from its pool of non-donors after its capital campaign ended. They did not have a clear understanding of the capacity and inclination of their major gift prospects. Additionally, without knowing a donor’s capacity, St. Edward’s limited team’s effort could be wasted by pursuing the wrong donors.


Archetype helped Cheri and her team measure two major factors of giving: liquidity (capacity to give) and inclination (passion for the organization).

Archetype built a fundraising roadmap for St. Edward’s. This tactical, useable blueprint provided an understanding of the donor base at the individual level. The visualization of the data allowed the Advancement team to clearly match the philanthropic capacity of prospects – defined by liquidity – with their willingness to give to the university.

Archetype helped St. Edward’s identify more than 30 ultra-high net worth prospects to target for principal and major gifts. Using a data visualization tool, donors were segmented based on their giving patterns. The analysis produced individual donor lists for the Major Gifts and Annual Leadership teams. Cheri is planning on using this solution to not only drive donation rates but also participation rates, which play a factor in rankings for higher education institutions nationally and globally.


Archetype’s analysis allowed St. Edward’s to create a data-informed strategy post -campaign, resulting in:

  • Greater efficiency around management planning, allowing the fundraisers to strategize and focus on key prospects.
  • Increased insight into wealth measured by liquid assets and inclination measured by University engagement and charitable giving.
  • Better understanding of retention risks in their donor base.

Using predictive analytics Archetype developed profiles for St. Edward’s for those who had never given and provided the University with annual giving ask amounts. The St. Edward’s team plans on creating targeted outreach appeals using this information.

Cheri wrote this about her work with Archetype:

“In our goal to build a roadmap to donor retention, we enlisted Archetype to help us develop a donor profile and learn more about the behavior of our donors. The analysis done by Archetype provided great insight into our alumni donors so that we could start building a data-informed strategy to increase donor retention. The data model provided by Archetype will also continue to help us identify those donors at risk for not renewing in the years to come. In addition, the supplemental data provided has helped us identify some major gift prospects we did not have on our radar before. We have only just begun to fully capitalize on the results we received and anticipate a great ROI from this partnership.”