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Customer success story

Freed up 30% of the workweek to focus on prospect outreach

Untitled design (4)

“Xapien saves a huge amount of time, which allows me to focus on prospecting.”

Edward Sharman, Head of Development, RAF Museum


There are six individuals in the development team. One team is responsible for engaging with high-net-worth individuals and major donors, another for trusts, foundations, and statutory income, and then there is the corporate partnerships team. While trust and foundations, as well as companies, bring in substantial revenue with minimal time investment, the RAF Museum see high-net-worth individuals as a large growth area.  

The challenge

Before adopting Xapien, the development team’s process involved using a template with specific information requirements. Each team member would manually search for this information online, which meant carefully researching and reviewing news articles, Wikipedia, and company websites one by one, before analysing and summarising the findings.  

This was time-consuming, taking half or day—or sometimes an entire day—to compile a report to the expected standard. There was also the risk of human error. Individuals might overlook critical details, leading to variations in quality depending on who was doing the research. This lack of uniformity made sharing the information with senior leadership a challenging task. 

Where Xapien steps in

The process has undergone a significant transformation with Xapien. The team can quickly input a person and organisation into the Xapien platform, let it run in the background, and return to a complete report in just 10 minutes.  

Xapien reports often uncover information their team might not have discovered otherwise, pointing out areas requiring further examination. These findings contribute to their organisation's risk assessment and are presented to the board for decision-making.  

The reports are also shared with the fundraising ethics group, which is particularly involved when it comes to potentially contentious partnerships. This is a significant issue for the RAF Museum given their work in the defence sector.

The development team often present their own reports to the committee, but there is always a section to embed a Xapien report link which helps to back up the analysis.  

The RAF Museum’s ethics group is by nature risk-averse, but Xapien’s in-depth report gives confidence that the development team’s processes are thorough and that there’s a due diligence framework in place. This enables the group to be more confident, and efficient in their decisions around complex donations and partnerships.  

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“Xapien reports often uncover information that neither my team nor I might have discovered.”

Edward Sharman, Head of Development, RAF Museum

Making informed decisions  

Xapien has significantly reduced cognitive bias. By eliminating the need for individuals to manually search for information, where they may be selective in what they search for and report on, Xapien takes a broad, agnostic perspective for more informed risk decisions. Xapien has also previously uncovered information about a subject that analysts and fundraisers had not found or known. This led to constructive discussions which enabled a better assessment of the development team’s risk exposure in pursuing these opportunities.

Performing periodic reviews 

Due diligence now extends beyond the initial gift management phase. In fact, the development team uses Xapien to review their existing donors. This includes anyone who has made a significant donation or provides regular support, especially if they are in the public eye. Before using Xapien, the team would dedicate a few hours to searching through the past 12 months' worth of news articles on a subject, looking for new risks or other relevant changes in the subject’s status. Now, a Xapien report can be run in 10 minutes. It reads and analyses hundreds of articles in one go, summarising any potential risks or negative connotations mentioned about the subject. This means that periodic reviews are no longer a drain on resources, but simply good practice.  

More proactive research 

With Xapien, the development team have become more agile and responsive, freeing up more time to engage with prospects rather than spending excessive time on research and discussions. This freedom has enabled them to raise more funds. By freeing up 30% of their workweek, it provides more time for prospect outreach.  

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