San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Global Uses Target Analytics to Identify Prospects and Better Utilize Resources

San Diego Zoo Global operates the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. The organization is the largest zoological membership association in the world. It has more than 250,000 member households and 130,000 child memberships.

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San Diego Zoo Global relies heavily on its membership base to support its operations and conservation research. With more than 650,000 records for individuals who can be solicited in its database, the organization needed to better understand its constituent base and identify new prospects from its current prospects to appropriately allocate its internal resources. The organization was also preparing for an upcoming capital campaign. An analysis of this extent was not a feasible task for the team at San Diego Zoo Global; therefore, the organization needed help to effectively identify its prospect pool.


The Zoo determined that a robust screening of its database was essential and selected Target Analytics to appropriately segment its prospects and provide detailed wealth identification information. Additionally, the organization selected ResearchPoint to effectively manage the vast amounts of prospect data provided by the screenings.

The organization first defined the criteria of the people that it wanted to have scored by ProspectPoint, a prospect analysis service that scored and ranked donors and prospects using statistical profiles built specifically for San Diego Zoo Global. The organization only wanted to know about those constituents who had given in the past three years and had given a certain amount. The organization scored 15,000 names for major giving likelihood, planned giving, target gift range, and bequest likelihood.

Target Analytics used three custom and two prescriptive data models for San Diego Zoo Global. Target Analytics built data models to identify the Zoo’s bequest donors, major gift donors, and determine suggested ask amount. Additionally, it used available data models to determine annuity and charitable remainder trust prospects.

The organization then utilized WealthPoint, to screen 5,000 names. WealthPoint uses financial, biographical, and demographical data to identify and profile the wealth of individuals in the database.

With the vast amount of data accumulated on its constituents, San Diego Zoo Global needed a way to manage and organize it all. It selected Blackbaud’s ResearchPoint to serve as a central tool to combine public data and information in its donor database, The Raiser’s Edge.

Using these solutions, the organization was able to determine and identify which constituents are most likely to remain loyal, reveal prospects capable of providing a major gift, and group prospects by gift likelihood and their financial capability.


Based on the more than 15,000 returns provided to San Diego Zoo Global, the organization found more than 11,000 prospects that had a very good likelihood of contributing $1,000 or more annually to the organization. The organization also had approximately 12,000 prospects that had good planned giving scores. Using this information, San Diego Zoo Global will be able to spend its time and resources cultivating those prospects that have the potential to give the greatest return.

San Diego Zoo Global will use its ProspectPoint and WealthPoint data to guide more granular marketing and cultivation campaigns. The organization may use the data to build marketing campaigns geared specifically to those individuals that scored low in a particular category but have potential. With competition for donors fierce, it is essential for the Zoo to begin cultivating potential donors as soon as possible.

For Ruta Saliklis, prospect research manager for San Diego Zoo Global, the information provided by Target Analytics can equate to anywhere from 10 to 20 million dollars for the organization.

“Target Analytics helped us understand our donor database better. We always knew that we had good prospects and loyal donors, but now we know better how we should be spending our time and who is the best to target for projects, what appeals are most likely to work for whom, who is best to approach for a annual gift versus charitable gift annuity or major gift, for example. We just know our donors better,” Saliklis concluded.

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