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Customer success story

Saving 4 weeks of research to speed up approval and grant processes

“Xapien is the authoritative source and that's what we need. There isn't anything else out there in the marketplace that does this so effectively. It allows us to quickly and fully assess all the risksSo, it’s leading the way.” 

Sarah Muddle, Prospect Research Manager at Sightsavers

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Background

Sightsavers, an international charity working to prevent sight loss and avoidable blindness in more than 30 of the world's poorest countries, has a robust prospect research and due diligence process in place.

When assessing individual donors and prospects they consider factors such as capacity, affinity and propensity, while for corporates, they examine business & charitable activities, explore thematic & geographic synergies, evaluate brand & product alignment and identify key people.

They also perform due diligence checks on individuals, global corporates, trusts and foundations and other organisations seeking to make philanthropic contributions to Sightsavers

The challenge

The Prospect Research Manager, being the sole researcher at Sightsavers, is responsible for all research and due diligence checks from the fundraising, media and celebrity teams. This research, whether it’s a quick review or in-depth investigation, would often take a couple of hours to an entire day or even longer. In turn this this would cause delays to fundraisers being able to commence stewardship, and delays in the delivery of bespoke research projects. 

Where Xapien steps in

Integrating Xapien into the workflow has proven to be a game changer for the Prospect Research Manager, enabling them to handle multiple research and due diligence requests with remarkable efficiency and speed.

Xapien has become an indispensable research tool eliminating the need to dedicate entire days to due diligence research. This has resulted in quicker approval and grant processes and fostering better relationships with potential donors.

Notably, this year alone Xapien has saved them 3 to 4 weeks of desk-based research. And the best part? They can generate reports in the background while they focus on other research projects. 

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"Xapien serves as a single source of truth, becoming that one-stop shop you can rely on for authority, confidence, and assurance."

Sarah Muddle, Prospect Research Manager at Sightsavers

Research before Xapien

 

Over the years, Sightsavers has developed a disciplined and robust due diligence process that is fully integrated into the prospect research function. Due diligence, in alignment with their Global Donation Acceptance Policy, is run on global companies, individuals, trusts and foundations, and celebrities. 

As well as background research to assess an individual’s gift capacity, affinity, propensity and interests, the process involves confirming identities, and assessing any reputational or regulatory risks with association.

For corporates, they examine business & charitable activities, explore thematic & geographic synergies, evaluate brand & product alignment and identify key people. In addition, they also undertake due diligence on celebrities, potential ambassadors and social influencers is a crucial step in their media campaigns. This process aims to identify any relevant information, controversial news coverage, or other factors that could potentially impact their association with the organisation. 

But the time required for these research and due diligence on companies or individuals varies significantly depending on the scale and complexity of the subject. For some cases a quick scan of publicly available information may be enough, but very often a comprehensive investigation is needed which can take a few hours or even an entire day. This could cause delays in getting reports back to fundraisers so that they can start stewarding potential donors or partners. 

In addition, on top of their regular research work such as pipeline prospecting and management, the Prospect Research Manager also undertakes broader market, thematic and sector-specific research. These special in-depth research projects typically span 3 to 4 weeks of dedicated effort. 

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Due diligence after Xapien

 

When the Prospect Research Manager receives a new due diligence request, they can provide the fundraiser with an Xapien report and a decision very quickly. They can review the report, assess the ‘risk inspector’ segment and swiftly identify any red flag ethical risks, along with legal, financial or any other reputational risks which may require further exploration.

These decisions are then recorded on an in-house due diligence template, categorised as either ‘low risk’ and approved, or escalated for resolution at an appropriate level. The importance of thorough due diligence remains paramount in ensuring Sightsavers’ reputation, risk management and informed decision-making. 

Aside from the ‘risk inspector’ segment, they’ve found several features of Xapien to be incredibly helpful. For instance, the "related organisations" feature allows them to examine company structure more effectively, while the "significant people" section goes beyond board members, including other key contacts within the organisation. This helps inform their fundraising team about key individuals for relationship-building. 

Integrating Xapien into the workflow has proven to be a game changer for the Prospect Research Manager, enabling them to handle multiple research and due diligence requests with remarkable efficiency and speed. Xapien eliminates the need to allocate extensive time to due diligence research and in the first half of this year, Xapien has saved them 3 to 4 weeks of desk-based research time.

And the best part? Xapien reports can easily be shared across the organisation. Corporate fundraisers see it as an authoritative, accurate and reliable source of information which informs and compliments their professional approach to stewardship and relationship building. In their own words, "Xapien serves as a single source of truth, becoming that one-stop shop you can rely on for authority, confidence, and assurance". 

Xapien has helped Sightsavers provide a highly efficient, authoritative, and streamlined due diligence process and has enabled the charity to swiftly assess potential risks and make well-informed decisions. The timesaving and efficiency-enhancing benefits of Xapien have even been recognised by other teams, from the approval committees to the compliance team.

Key benefits

  • Handle multiple research and due diligence requests with efficiency and speed.

  • In the first half of this year alone, saved 3 to 4 weeks of desk-based research time.

  • Helps to inform the fundraising team about key individuals for relationship-building.

Book a demo now to see how Xapien can provide you with the assurance you need in your research.

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